Charcoal vs Pencil Drawing: Is There a Difference?

Charcoal vs Pencil Drawing: Is There a Difference?

Pencil and charcoal are two of the most accessible drawing mediums. They enable expressive linework and aid in the rendering of values through blending. This method may have a considerably lower learning curve for many individuals than learning how to use layers. Charcoal and Pencil, two other drawing media, have lengthy creative traditions. You've probably utilized both in your everyday life and creative activities, but you might have trouble articulating the difference between the two. 

Artists should select the appropriate drawing tool based on the outcomes they want to achieve, as each media requires them to employ a unique set of drawing approaches. Utilize this guide to assist you in deciding which drawing tool(s) you would like to incorporate into your creative practice.

drawing session
Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels

Features of a Pencil Drawing

Compared to charcoal, a pencil is more manageable for smaller drawings or thinner lines, making it ideal for quick sketches and on-the-go drawings. Beginners attempting artwork larger than 11 by 14 inches can benefit greatly from this. A smaller, more satisfying pencil sketch is worth your time and work. 

Pencils should not be pushed beyond their capabilities or made to do actions they were not designed for. Repeatedly pushing down harder and harder on an HB pencil to achieve darker and darker values is a good illustration of this. If you do this, you'll have a waxy buildup and never get to the deepest possible value. The best method is to use as many pencils as possible, stacking them on each other. The dark values can be attained by building up layers of pencils from progressively softer to progressively harsher. Here are some types of Pencil you can use:

Graphite Pencils

Incredibly versatile, graphite pencils are made from a graduated blend of graphite and clay that may be used to draw realistic images, generate emotive lines, make lighter values boundaries, and much more. A softer lead may cause such pencils to break down sooner than harder ones.

Liquid Graphite Pencils

With the help of a liquid, you may get the look and feel of a traditional graphite pencil when drawing or sketching in a wide range, thanks to Liquid Graphite Pencil. Using a brush, a nib, or other art implements to apply the Liquid Pencil is possible.

Properties of Charcoal Drawing

Charcoal Memorial Portrait

Check Out This Charcoal Memorial Portrait

Instead of a conventional pencil scale consisting of Hs and Bs, charcoal uses a variety of material names to define their characteristics. Whether starting or a seasoned pro, you should always start your charcoal drawing using soft grape or soft reed charcoal. Since charcoal is so finely powdered, the paper it is drawn on must be rougher than what is often used for Pencil. 

Organic Charcoal

Willow or Vine are commonly used in the production of natural charcoal. As with any natural product, there will be wide variances in size and shape. It is usual for natural charcoal sticks to have imperfections like knots and kinks, so don't be alarmed if some of the sticks you buy still appear somewhat twig-like. Due to their unique characteristics, different sticks have varying degrees of effectiveness. Try them out on scrap paper first if you need a certain outcome. There is no binder in this charcoal, so it is not very dark and rather dusty. Furthermore, its texture is somewhat fragile.

Powdered Charcoal

Charcoal powder is, as the name implies, finely ground-up charred plant matter, typically Vine or willow. Artists with charcoal typically use this product with a brush or blend stumps to create subtle tonal variations in their works. Charcoal Powder can be bought pre-ground, or artists can make their own by sifting small bits of discarded charcoal over the textured paper.

Pros and Cons of Using Charcoal Drawing

Charcoal Memorial Portrait

Check Out This Memorial Charcoal Drawing

Stick charcoal is more expressive than charcoal pencils, yet the former might be less messy. A few of them will have a waxy texture, while others can be more like high-quality charcoal. A charcoal pencil is far more challenging to erase than a stick or baton. Another drawback is that if you press down too hard with a charcoal pencil, you might leave an indentation that will destroy your drawing.

Most charcoal pencils can be sharpened to a darker black, but they also tend to smear more easily. When smudged, charcoal pencils produce a deeper black than was originally intended. It's possible to get a very sharp tip out of a charcoal pencil, making it a wonderful choice for drawing fine details. Even though a Nitram baton can be sharpened to a fine point, some artists may find it more comfortable to hold the pencil's eraser end when working on delicate details. 

What Charcoal and Pencil Have in Common

Because of their inability to cling to smooth surfaces, dry drawing media like charcoal and pencil require a certain amount of teeth (texture) in the drawing surface. To get darker values, darker marks, and dark lines artists typically start with white paper when using pencil or charcoal. Both mediums are available in various varieties, giving creators complete leeway over the intensity of their markings. Charcoal and graphite pencils offer a low-cost entry point into the world of art.

Final Thoughts

Many artists find that when they work with charcoal and graphite, they prefer one medium based on their drawing technique and their intended subject matter. If you're looking for a first-rate charcoal drawing, go no further than Memorialize Art. You may find just the right source of inspiration for your charcoal drawings among the many sketching supplies available, many of which provide customized possibilities.