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Charcoal & Charcoal Pencils

Charcoal Pencils

For the traditional effect of charcoal with a little more control (and a little less mess), this is the pencil to choose. Often used for life studies charcoal is a traditional art material but this is encased in wood to make a Charcoal pencil, giving you greater control over your drawings while keeping all those charcoal effects that you love! Natural charcoal particles are mixed with the finest clays to produce a rich, smoothly textured pencil with all the beauty and character of traditional charcoal in a convenient, easy to use form. Charcoal Pencils are available in light, medium and dark grades that can be blended together to create powerful and imaginative charcoal drawings.

Available individually in Light, Medium and Dark tones, and also in a tin of 6.

> Shop for Charcoal Pencils and Sticks

Ten Top Tips - by David Bellamy

  1. Explore the potential of these pencils by simply scribbling on smooth cartridge paper and then blending with a paper stump or finger to soften the result.

  2. To create a sense of space and depth add closer detail with a darker charcoal pencil.

  3. Use a Derwent paper stump to blend in adjacent areas

  4. Create highlights by removing charcoal with a Derwent kneadable eraser.

  5. To make a thin light line, drag a Derwent rubber shaper across the charcoal, or alternatively use the edge of a Derwent plastic eraser.

  6. Apply a Derwent embossing tool across the paper to create an indent. Apply charcoal over the indent and it will remain white. This is an excellent technique for veins on leaves or whiskers.

  7. With the embossing tool, keep the indented lines simple, rather than trying to create intricate effects.

  8. Lay a patch of charcoal on the paper and using it as a palette pick up some charcoal with a wet Derwent waterbrush.

  9. Produce easy wet-on-wet effects by lifting charcoal from the tip of the pencil using a waterbrush and apply to a wet surface.

  10. The Derwent eraser shield is remarkably effective for creating sharp-edged light images in a patch of charcoal: simply lay it over the required position and apply an eraser.

Compressed Charcoal



One of the oldest and most traditional drawing tools, charcoal is basically carbonised wood – so for a truly authentic result, why not use charcoal as nature intended. Compressed Charcoal is a solid stick of pure, reformed wood charcoal. It produces deep, dense tones with a completely different texture to graphite. Available in three versatile grades, light, medium and dark, Compressed Charcoal is naturally water-soluble allowing you to create interesting line and wash effects.

Available individually in Light, Medium and Dark tones.

Ten Top Tips - by Debbie Adams

  1. For finer detail, use the edge of the compressed charcoal to draw as if it were a pencil. Rotate it from one corner to the next to maintain a pointed edge.

  2. Use a sandpaper block to shape the edge of your compressed charcoal.

  3. To diffuse a sharp line or edge use a paper stump to soften.

  4. For a cloudy misty effect around an image, cross-hatch strokes then blend with a paper stump to soften.

  5. To keep your surface clean, use a clean piece of paper to lay your drawing hand on. Avoid touching your paper with fingers

  6. For areas that need highlighting use a kneadable eraser to lift off charcoal.

  7. Step away from work and look at it from time to time to get the full perspective of what you have done. Looking at your work from a close range makes it difficult to see the full perspective.

  8. For a smooth appearance, sand charcoal down with a sandpaper block. Then using the corner of a clean cotton cloth, wrap around your finger tip and dip it in the charcoal dust, apply to paper where desired. This is a great way to fill in a large area of paper that needs contrast.

  9. Clean up artwork where needed with a plastic or battery eraser.

  10. Practice often, and never judge your work harshly.



XL Charcoal Blocks

Charcoal just got bigger and more beautiful! These blocks have all the qualities of charcoal that you love in a chunky XL form, combine that with rich natural colours and you've got an artist’s dream!

The blocks come in 6 muted shades from Sanguine and Violet to Sepia and Ochre. Naturally water-soluble you can use them on a damp surface and release lots of colour really quickly and build up layers of different colours as you go.

From powerful lines, to subtle gradients, Derwent XL Charcoal combines the natural qualities of charcoal with the strength and body of a chunky block. Soft meets strong; agile meets bold; the perfect blend of rich tones and organic marks.

Tin of 6 contains one block of each colour: Ochre, Sanguine, Mars Violet, Sepia, Black, White.

• Tin containing 6 colours of natural charcoal
• Naturally water-soluble
• Extra large blocks, 20mm x 20mm square and 60mm long. (3/4" x 3/4" x 2.3")

Available in a tin of 6.

Full Range of Derwent XL Blocks in sets and individual sticks.