Last updated on February 15th, 2020 at 06:42 pm

Regardless of whether an artist is making a simple, quick sketch or creating the initial foundation of an oil painting, charcoal is likely to be the medium that they will opt to use. Since time immemorial, charcoal has been at the foundation stone for drawings and artwork. Being the most workable medium a lot of artists utilize charcoal as it provides them with great control and can achieve various tones on their artwork.

There are different types of charcoal including powder, vine, compressed charcoal, and the more popular pencil. Each of these charcoal forms has its unique characteristics. We have outlined some of the best charcoal pencils that can be used by both professionals and beginners.

 

1. Derwent Charcoal Pencils

Derwent Charcoal Pencils 1
Derwent Charcoal Pencils 2

Intro

Having been founded in 1916, Derwent has been in the market for quite a while and have mastered the craft that is artistry tools and equipment. The Derwent Charcoal pencils are no exception which is evident in the deep black strokes that these pencils deliver when applied on paper. Comprising of four pencils in the pack, the pencils offer a full range of values as they come in light, medium dark and white. By including the white pencil, Derwent provides artists with the ability to add highlights on their art pieces. The pencil barrels are rounded and made of wood which makes it comfortable to the hand and ideal for field studies.

Pros

  • The pack includes a white pencil which is not typical of most charcoal pencil packs.
  • You can effortlessly lay down thin coats of charcoal on your artwork.

Cons

  • The pencils are incredibly brittle which makes them problematic to sharpen.

 

2. General Pencil Peel & Sketch Charcoal Pencils

General Pencil Peel & Sketch Charcoal Pencils 1
General Pencil Peel & Sketch Charcoal Pencils 2
General Pencil Peel & Sketch Charcoal Pencils 3
General Pencil Peel & Sketch Charcoal Pencils 4
General Pencil Peel & Sketch Charcoal Pencils 5

Intro

Featuring a pull string barrel, the General pencil charcoal pencils are a unique option for artists because they are one of the pencils that do not require sharpening to maintain the fine points. All an artist has to do is peel back the string to reveal more charcoal. With these pencils, accomplishing your preferred strokes is effortless, and the unique wood barrel design offers you unprecedented creative freedom. Available in a pack of three pencils, the charcoal weight of the pencils are soft, medium and hard.

Pros

  • Does not require sharpening as you merely unwrap and peel off the paper to reveal more charcoal.
  • The pack includes a kneaded eraser which makes these pencils relatively forgiving for an artist. The eraser can also be used for adding highlights and niceties to an art piece.

Cons

  • Some users have complained that the peel and sketch pencils do not glide as smoothly as other brands of charcoal pencils.
  • While the peel to reveal charcoal option eliminates the need for sharpening, the wrapper occasionally reveals either too much of the charcoal which becomes vulnerable to breaking or too little which is insufficient for drawing.

 

3. Mont Marte Woodless Charcoal Pencils

Mont Marte Woodless Charcoal Pencils 1
Mont Marte Woodless Charcoal Pencils 2
Mont Marte Woodless Charcoal Pencils 3
Mont Marte Woodless Charcoal Pencils 4
Mont Marte Woodless Charcoal Pencils 5

Intro

The Mont Marte charcoal pencils are pencils that resemble compressed charcoal sticks but have been shaped to resemble wood pencils. However, what makes these pencils different is the fact that they have a lacquered coating that prevents the transfer of charcoal to surfaces while simultaneously making the pencils heftier than your typical wood barrel pencils. The Mont Marte pencils are available in soft medium and hard weights and are ideal for artists who prefer using weighty mediums for their creations. Artists can achieve both broad and finer strokes on the pencil as you these woodless charcoal pencils can be sharpened

Pros

  • They have a lacquer coating which prevents transference of charcoal smudges to other exteriors and allows for clean handling.
  • They can be sharpened using a regular sharpener.
  • When placed at different angles artists can create broad lines on their work.

Cons

  • They are heftier than your typical wood barrel pencils which make them less ideal for most artists.
  • Some users have complained that the pencils have hard points that make the pencil glide less smoothly and results in scratching streaks when applied.

 

4. Original Charcoal Pencil by General Pencil

Original Charcoal Pencil by General Pencil 1
Original Charcoal Pencil by General Pencil 2

Intro

Available in 5 different degrees, four blacks (HB, 2B, 4B, 6B) and one white the original charcoal pencil by General Pencils features cedar casings. The pencils are of high quality and deliver a rich black laydown, and the white is excellent for highlighting and dramatic results. The pencils are ideal for still-life drawing, shading and sketching because they use willow charcoal which has a high carbon content.

Pros

  • The white charcoal pencil can be used to create a unique wash effect when used together with a wet brush.
  • They are pre-sharpened and ready to use immediately after purchase.
  • The charcoal pencils glide smoothly over surfaces and do not have any hard spots.

Cons

  • Users complained that the pencils were challenging to sharpen regardless of the tool they used and that the charcoal sheared a lot during sharpening.

 

5. Looneng Sketch Charcoal Pencil (Soft)

Looneng Sketch Charcoal Pencil (Soft) 1
Looneng Sketch Charcoal Pencil (Soft) 2
Looneng Sketch Charcoal Pencil (Soft) 3
Looneng Sketch Charcoal Pencil (Soft) 4
Looneng Sketch Charcoal Pencil (Soft) 5

Intro

If you are looking for a charcoal pencil that you can use to work the fine details of your artwork, the Looneng Sketch charcoal pencils are some of the best. These pencils make a bold statement from their capability to create magnificent fine details on art pieces.

Pros

They do not break easily unlike other charcoal pencils.
They are affordable

Cons

  • Despite the package containing 12 pencils, there is only one weight/grade is available in the box which means if you need to achieve other effects that require other charcoal weights, you will have to purchase a different package.
  • Sharpening these pencils is an uphill task.

Conclusion:

Charcoal pencils have been used to create some of the best pieces of art that the world has witnessed. This is because of how much detail and richness they add to the laydown of art pieces. Charcoal pencils are easy to master as they feel natural and familiar in your hands because they function akin to your typical pens and pencils. However, unlike the regular graphite pencils, charcoal pencils are devoid of the shimmery sheen. The ease of use that comes with charcoal pencils makes it less intimidating than the other charcoal mediums. The most critical thing to remember when buying a charcoal pencil is the artistry requirements that you need to meet. Lastly, remember to buy a kneaded eraser in case the brand you opt to purchase does not include it.

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