Artist's Willow Charcoal Drawing Sticks


Possibly the oldest of all art materials, as found in cave paintings 30,000 years ago. More recently, from the Renaissance onwards charcoal is used, for its impermanence, as a medium for preliminary sketches. Some artists such as Albrecht Durer begin to consider charcoal for finished work with very stark and poignant effect as in this portrait of his mother. 

Today it is often neglected and relegated to art school supply cabinets for repetitious life drawing speed-sketch and quick composition work. But consider its' expressive, moody, highly graphic monochromatic repertoire and perhaps it can be an another arrow to your bow or an opportunity to challenge?  A crumbly texture, smudging, blending the pigment into the paper make it an intrinsically sensual medium which can be hard, brash, messy and bold - or soft, finely sculpted for a highly finished texture. Finally no pencil, however soft, can compete with the depth of blackness achieved from charcoal - another compelling USP. 

For your consideration, Choosing Keeping offers a small selection of high-quality artisan Willow charcoal. We offer three different packs each sold seperately, in crescendo thicknesses. 

Once finished works using charcoal should be fixed using a spray fixatif in the same manner than pastel work would be so as to not rub off. 

Consider buying a kneaded putty eraser too for creating highlights when lifting. 

Examples of fine charcoal work can be found across a broad range of artists, styles and epochs a testament to the universal nature of this art material, a few examples here illustrated as follows:
Georges Braque, Still Life (1924) (Tate Collection, UK) 
Vija Celmins, Night Sky #19 (1998) (Tate Collection, UK) 
Albrecht Durer, Portrait of the Artist's Mother at the Age of 63 (1514)(Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin Germany)
Henri Matisse, Reclining Nude (1924) (Tate Collection, UK)