Charcoal Sticks for Artists
Buy Artist Charcoal Sticks Online
I needed charcoal sticks - quickly - for a life drawing class that I'm going to attend next week and I found it quite hard to find charcoal on line, so this article is born from desperation on my part!
First I had to find the right words to put into the search engines - charcoal is used for many things it seems - on the barbecue, in flower water, medicinally - in fact in many ways that I had never imagined. Charcoal is also a colour so putting the word charcoal into the box didn't do the trick.
First you might think that 'charcoal for artists', 'cheapest charcoal', 'best charcoal', 'charcoal bargains', 'best value charcoal' or 'charcoal for drawing' would work; each of these threw up a small selection. Or you might try to search in a department - but then you'll find you have to choose between 'home and garden' , 'kitchen' or 'toys' - they don't really fit the bill, do they?
I was tearing out my hair. By the time I'd found a selection of thin, medium, thick and very thick charcoal - I'd long forgotten my first searches - so I did the whole thing again but this time put them on this lens. I found that 'artist charcoal sticks' brought up the best results.
I live in France and often buy from Amazon.co.uk because I find them cheaper than Amazon.fr, so these are British links. I've also put links to Amazon.com for anyone living in the USA as well as eBay.com links for anyone who finds the thrill of bidding adds that little extra frisson to their shopping.
Happy shopping and happy drawing!
This Medium Charcoal Was My Best Buy - COATES WILLOW CHARCOAL Medium Sticks 4-6mm Box of 25
See below for a full selection of thick, medium and thin charcoal sticks available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I must say I went for quantity at the best price. I can't say that in my career as an artist I've noticed that charcoal is 'good' or 'bad'. I like thicker sticks but you seem to get more for your money with this.
What is Charcoal?
I'll be brief!
This is not really an 'about charcoal' article - just an article to help you to buy charcoal quickly and easily, but I thought I should just say a few words about the medium itself.
Charcoal is burnt wood! It is a dark grey material consisting of carbon and is made by heating wood (or other materials) without oxygen.
Artist's charcoal is usually made by burning willow twigs.
This is a fascinating subject and I'd love to explore it further but just now I have drawings to tackle. I hope to find out a bit more about it, but in the meantime I'll leave you with a link to the Wikipedia page: Charcoal
What is the best charcoal stick for you?
Artist Charcoal sticks ...
Thick Charcoal I like thick charcoal best because I find that I like to work on quite a large scale, I love large areas of black and I find that there is always an edge of charcoal for drawing sharp and fine lines.
Medium Charcoal Medium charcoal is a good all-rounder.
Thin Charcoal thin charcoal would be good for people who draw in line on a small scale. I find the drawback is that they are very fragile and break easily.
Chunky Charcoal Sticks or Tree Charcoal Or 'chunky' charcoal. These great chunks of charcoal are what I like best. I love to use the side to really cover paper. They last for ages too.
THICK CHARCOAL, 20 STICKS
Chunky Charcoal Sticks
I like this charcoal for drawing best
I love to draw on a large scale and these are great for really covering the paper. I love lots of dramatic light and dark - Rembrandt is one of my all time favourite artists - and you can use these on their sides to really get large areas with great depth of tone.
Medium Charcoal Sticks
Charcoal for art sketching
These would be suitable for most drawings of a 'normal' size - A2 or smaller. Good for covering small areas of paper and you can use the sharp edges for line drawing.
Chalk and Charcoal Life Drawing
Back of female nude
This drawing was completed in about twenty minutes and I used charcoal with rose and cream chalks on canvas. It has been fixed with fixitive, but should now be framed behind glass to keep it clean.
How To Draw With Charcoal - Charcoal drawing tips
This Howcast video give excellent advice for novices. Experiment, try things out yourself, use the eraser as a tool, be bold, be expressive, don't be scared of the medium.
Excellent tips here
Charcoal Life Drawings - All my own work
These original drawings are for sale and if you're interested you can contact me on email@example.com for details and prices.
I hope that I've inspired you to try a bit of drawing yourself. You don't need a model - just draw whatever is around you. On the other hand you can catch a friend or member of your family and get them to sit for you - they can watch the TV or read if they like. Failing all of this, you can always set up a mirror and draw yourself. Artists have always resorted to this. They often practice hands by drawing with one hand and using the other as a model!
When Your Drawing is Finished You Need to Fix It - Spraying the drawing with fixitive will make the charcoal or pastel less prone to falling and smudging
You can buy cheap hair spray to fix your drawings, but this might yellow or undergo undesirable chemical changes with time, so you should really buy proper fixative. I've selected just one here, but there are many brands that will do the trick.
Always spray your charcoal and pastel drawings with fixative. If you use soft pencils or use pencil for tone, you might also need to fix these with spray.
Where in the World Are We? - In Limousin, a hidden corner of South West France
I run a Bed and Breakfast in Limousin, South West France and have a lovely holiday cottage that sleeps 7 adults in three, ensuite rooms. I also run painting holidays. If you are interested in finding out more about any of these, do take a look at our website www.lestroischenes.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org