Charcoal is an expressive tool for drawing, shading, and blending that allows for bold, dark marks and subtle hues in your artwork. Available in many forms — natural vine charcoal (made by burning grapevine), willow charcoal (made by burning willow twigs), compressed charcoal, charcoal pencils, liquid charcoal, charcoal powder, and more — charcoal drawing materials can even be used on canvas to make preliminary drawings prior to painting.
Preferred by artists and others for everything from general writing, note-taking, and schoolwork, to sketching and creating finished drawings, many people may be most familiar with graphite in pencil form. Blick carries graphite in all its forms, from graphite pencils, watersoluble graphite pencils (for creating watercolor washes), and woodless graphite pencils, to graphite sticks, blocks, crayons, and cubes. Newer forms of this popular media include powdered graphite and kneadable graphite putty.
A good way to begin working with charcoal and graphite is by purchasing a set that includes both media (or even other media such as colored pencils, pens, or markers) plus tools such as sharpeners, erasers, and blending stumps (also known as tortillons). Erasers that work well with charcoal and/or graphite include vinyl, plastic, stick, gum, soap, rubber, PVC, and even battery-operated erasers for fine work in tight places.
Because charcoal and graphite are softer media that tend to smudge more easily, fixatives are recommended for sealing and protecting final work. Choose from a variety of drawing fixatives in both workable and final forms.