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.


Watch the Video

In this clip professional artist Fiona Peart uses Derwent Charcoal Pencils. During the clip Fiona shows various techniques including shading, blending and using the flat of the pencils for large areas. 

You can also download a project sheet where Fiona will guide you through creating a drawing of migrating birds.




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 watersoluble allowing you to create interesting line and wash effects.

Available individually in Light, Medium and Dark tones.

Shop for Compressed Charcoal

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.


Watch the Video


In this clip professional artist Fiona Peart uses the Derwent Compressed Charcoal to create some studies. During the clip Fiona shows you various techniques including blending, blocking and adding detail with the block.

You can also download a project sheet where Fiona will guideyou through creating a beautiful evening coastal landscape.



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 watersoluble
• Extra large blocks, 20mm x 20mm square and 60mm long. (3/4" x 3/4" x 2.3")

Available in a tin of 6.

> Shop for Derwent XL Blocks

Watch the Video


In this clip artist and Derwent Product Manager, Sarah Taylor demonstrates various uses of the Derwent XL Charcoal Blocks and accessories that can be used with them.

You can also download a project sheet where Sarah will walk you through the creation of a lovely charcoal drawing of an owl.



Tinted Charcoal

Tinted Charcoal offers the dramatic beauty of charcoal pencils with a gentle hint of colour!

Easy to control for accurate drawing with less mess they can still be smudged and blended easily.

Tinted Charcoal combines the rich, expressive qualities of charcoal with a gentle hint of colour. These easy to use pencils offer drama and subtlety in one drawing tool. They enable you to produce a wide variety of creative effects, from rich, deep tones to a translucent-like mist, adding an imaginative twist to any charcoal drawing.

Available in tins of 12 and 24.

> Shop for Derwent Tinted Charcoal

Ten Top Tips - by Carole Gordon

  1. Make a colour chart of the entire colour range on pastel paper.
  2. Make a colour chart and add the white pencil to your colours to get a wider variety of tones.
  3. Try Tinted Charcoal on different surfaces, such as velour paper and watercolour paper, for variations in texture.
  4. Use coloured paper as an extra ‘colour’ in your work.
  5. To create a third colour, merge two colours together with a paper stump or your finger tip.
  6. When sharpening your Tinted Charcoal, take care to keep the pencil straight in the sharpener so as not to put pressure on the tip. This will stop the charcoal crumbling when it is sharpened
  7. Soft pencil strokes are ideal for animal fur
  8. To create highlights, use a craft knife to scrape back to the paper colour
  9. The white pencil is great for adding highlights to your drawing and lightening tones
  10. A kneadable eraser is a very useful tool. It can be used to lift charcoal off to create highlights and is invaluable for cleaning up smudges and unwanted marks.


Watch the Video


This video shows you a clip of professional artist Fiona Peart drawing a tree using Derwent Tinted Charcoal Pencils. During the clip Fiona shows various techniques including blending, flicking and rolling the pencil across the paper to create branches.

You can also download a project sheet where Fiona will guide you through creating a scene with the tinted charcoal pencils.

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