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Artist Resources


Charcoal Pencils and Sticks

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Derwent XL Charcoal Block: Mars Violet (03)
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Derwent XL Charcoal Block: Mars Violet (03)
SKU: ALV-2302013

* Bold, gestural drawing in rich, natural color. Naturally water soluble. Rich, opaque charcoal can be layered up over different colors. Each XL stick measures 20mm x 20mm x 60mm (0.787" x 0.787" x 2.36"); great for broad ...

List Price: US$ 7.29
Our Price: US$ 4.97, save 32%

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General's Peel & Sketch Paper Wrapped Charcoal Pencils: 3-Pack
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General's Peel & Sketch Paper Wrapped Charcoal Pencils: 3-Pack

* Just pull the string and unwrap paper to reveal more black charcoal. No need to sharpen. 3-pack/hard, medium, soft, 1 kneaded eraser.

List Price: US$ 4.99
Our Price: US$ 3.66, save 27%

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Heritage Compressed Charcoal Sticks: 3-Piece Clamshells, Soft, 5/16" Square x 3" Long
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Heritage Compressed Charcoal Sticks: 3-Piece Clamshells, Soft, 5/16" Square x 3" Long

* These high-quality, natural willow, compressed charcoal blocks are great for detail or broad coverage while drawing or sketching.* Blendable; they adhere well to drawing surfaces and can be used whole or broken into smal...

List Price: US$ 4.95
Our Price: US$ 3.04, save 39%

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Royal & Langnickel Charcoal Drawing Satchel Art Set
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Royal & Langnickel Charcoal Drawing Satchel Art Set

* Satchel set includes four each natural charcoal sticks and compressed charcoal sticks, three charcoal pencils, one each woodless graphite pencil and sketchbook.

List Price: US$ 24.99
Our Price: US$ 15.17, save 39%

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Winsor & Newton Artists' Vine Charcoal Set: Soft, Box of 24
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Winsor & Newton Artists' Vine Charcoal Set: Soft, Box of 24
SKU: ALV-8206002

* The highest quality charcoal specially prepared for artist use. Produces a rich, dark gray.

List Price: US$ 16.79
Our Price: US$ 11.33, save 33%

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Art charcoal sticks and pencils: your guide to the using the dark arts

Charcoal is an artistic medium that can be used for a variety of different looks and with many different techniques. With charcoals, you'll get a unique look that just isn't possible with other art mediums. Because of the physical nature of art charcoals, sketches, drawings, and coloring can be done in ways that fully utilize this dry medium. As one of the most widely used and popular ways to draw, charcoal is great for adding strong accents to your artwork, which can be applied to portraits, sketches and other mixed media.

During the Renaissance period, charcoal pencil drawing was very common and highly praised, however many art works have been lost to time due to the impermanent nature of the medium, as charcoal art is highly sensitive to wear, tear and dust. Around the 15th century, a processed was developed for preserving these sensitive pieces, which involved dipping the finished art in a gum bath which binded the charcoal to the medium and prevented flaking and smudging. One of the oldest pieces of art discovered was a painting of a Zebra on a cave, which has speculated to be drawn from burnt sticks.

Art charcoal differs from other types used as fuel in utility or industrial settings in the way it is prepared. Typically, art charcoal is made using grounded dead organic materials, bounded together by either a special wax or gum composite. Charcoals can be made using different compositions for unique effects.

Today, there are different types of charcoals that you can utilize to produce your work of art. Currently, there are three main charcoal types to select from: compressed charcoal or charcoal sticks, vine charcoal and charcoal pencils. Each kind offers its own unique advantages and properties. To select the kind of charcoal that is best for your work, we'll give you more insight into each so that you can find the right type through our online products catalog.

Compressed charcoals, also known as charcoal sticks, are charcoals that are shaped into wide sticks or thick, rectangular blocks. The hardiness of the individual stick is what effects the darkness of the shade it produces. The ratio of gum binder in the composite is what effects its toughness and its shade hue accordingly, where more gum equals a harder blend and less gum means a softer blend. Softer charcoals leave a darker mark and can be smudged and blended once on paper. While harder charcoals are lighter in shade with regards to the marks they make, they are also more permanent and can't be manipulated as much as softer sticks.

Next you have vine charcoals, which are very thin and long pieces of charcoal sticks that are created by burning sticks without air in a vacuum. Removing oxygen from the process of the burning is what binds the charcoal together without the use of a gum composite. If you want to make sketches or basic compositions that you can dust and erase, this medium is a good choice.

Finally you have charcoal pencils, which are essentially charcoal sticks encased in wood. Very similar to graphite pencils, charcoal pencils can have either hard or soft stick grades. The wood keeps all of the charcoal material intact, and lets you use different coloring techniques such as shading, dusting and smearing without most of the mess that comes with charcoal sticks. Harder pencils can be used for detail work and precise lines.

Now that you have a better understanding of the kinds of art charcoals available, you'll be able to know how to pick the right one for your project. Our online store catalog offers many different kinds of products on sale, at cheap and affordable prices. We carry all kinds of charcoal types and name brands, so you're guaranteed to find something that works for you.

General is one of the name brands that we carry. This is a manufacturer that highly values quality products while keeping their prices very affordable and competitive. Committed to creating art sticks that are high quality and consistent, this brand offers many different collections that won't hurt your wallet.

For a standard charcoal pencil, check out the General's Charcoal Pencils, which come in different sized packs and pencil ratings. These pencils produce dark, black lines which are great for sketching or drawing. These pencils also come in white for use on black or dark backgrounds, and can even be used over the standard charcoal pencils to lighten the shade.

Also available is the charcoal pencil set by General, which comes with an eraser and four different charcoal pencils in white and black with different ratings. We even have the General Compressed Charcoal sticks for sale, which are great for artists of all levels.

Faber-Castell is another name brand of charcoal that we carry. The Monochrome Pressed Charcoal Sticks are charcoals made of the highest quality soot and charcoal, and are available in different grades and sizes. Great for deep black strokes, these sticks are also great for smearing wide areas.

In addition to these two name brands, we also offer products from many other different manufacturers. There are plenty of options for you to explore on our online store if you are looking for quality, affordable charcoals. Browse our selection and buy your tools today!

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