Charcoal Drawing

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Charcoal drawing is one of humanity's oldest art forms, but the tools used to create modern charcoal art are significantly different from the burnt sticks early humans used to draw animals on cave walls. Pencils, powders and solid sticks provide consistent color and uniform feel, giving artists the control needed to capture subtle details and produce smooth shading. Staples carries a variety of drawing supplies, including brands such as Winsor and Newton, Prang and Faber-Castell.

A Choice of Charcoal Drawing Supplies
There are three main categories of artist's charcoal. Stick or vine charcoal is what remains when wood such as willow or linden burns in an airless kiln. It typically produces gray tones and smears or erases easily. Charcoal sticks and drawing pens use composites made from compressed charcoal powder combined with clay, soot, and other materials. These materials adhere well to paper surfaces and are ideal for filling or shading. Depending on the other compounds used to make the stick or pencil, these products may produce a range of black and gray tones as well as bluish hues. There are even white charcoal sticks that let artists create highlights in dark areas. The third type of charcoal used by artists is a loose powder. As you might expect, this material is quite messy, but it's an excellent choice for shading large areas.

Varied Formats
Drawing supplies come in a range of formats. Stick-style charcoals such as thin natural charcoal twigs are ideal for drawing fine lines, while blocks and cylinders can cover large areas quickly. Use the flat faces of these tools for rubbings or use the points and edges to make thin dark lines.

Watercolor pencils made with charcoal offer a neater drawing option. They have a wooden body around a compressed charcoal core. Like traditional pencils, you can sharpen them easily, making them ideal for sketching. The wooden body also protects the fragile charcoal core from damage. Paper-wrapped pencils are similar to wood products, but instead of using a sharpener to expose more charcoal, you just unwind the paper at the tip.

Choose Charcoal with the Right Feel
These products come in many different hardnesses, so artists can vary the charcoal they use to achieve different effects. They can also select the hardness that best suits the type and thickness of paper they're using. Charcoal ratings range from 9B, extremely soft, to HB, about the same as a number 2 pencil, to 9H, very hard. Soft sticks and pencils typically produce much darker marks, while hard charcoal may be a better choice for drawing thin lines or hatch marks.

Flexible Purchase Options
Charcoal sticks and pastels come in a variety of package sizes that make it simple to buy the materials needed for a single project or an entire classroom of art students. Purchasing several smaller packs is also an excellent way to learn which products match your drawing techniques.

Pencils and sticks made from charcoal are a classic artist's tool. They come in many different hardnesses, sizes and shapes that can create different monochromatic effects. Find the drawing and school supplies you need to complete your next charcoal art project at Staples.

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Add to cart Prang® Peel Off Charcoal Pencil, Soft Grade, 12/Pack (DIX60200)
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