Charcoal is made from vine, willow or other twigs that have been charred for use as drawing material and it is superb for blending and creating gradations of black. Sold mainly in pencil and stick form, charcoal is available in soft, medium, hard and compressed versions. Soft charcoal is light and easily erasable but does not make a true black. Compressed charcoal makes thick heavy rich blacks. Although charcoal’s main advantage is that it is blendable, this also means it can be smudged easily. The use of a fixative is necessary when work is complete.

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