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Art Supplies, Charcoal Drawing: Compressed Charcoal

-Achieves very rich, deep blacks.

-Much more permanent than vine charcoal.

-Once compressed charcoal touches the white paper, you can lighten it, but you cannot go back to the white of the paper, no matter how hard you erase.

-Not remotely as fragile as vine charcoal.

-Can be lightened with eraser sticks, white plastic erasers, and kneaded erasers.

Art Supplies: Compressed Charcoal

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2 responses on "Compressed Charcoal"

  1. Profile photo of Ro

    My first charcoal drawings were 90% vine charcoal because most of my charcoal classes ended before we got to the compressed charcoal. When I heard someone say 60% of the drawing should be in compressed charcoal, it changed my drawings entirely. Before I used the compressed, I felt like my charcoal drawings were “wax on, wax off” and I could never achieve any deep tones. When I started using the compressed charcoal in my kit, my drawings became much more dimensional. I put colored artist’s tape on the different hardnesses so I don’t accidentally grab the wrong one. Orange for 2B, Green for 4B and no tape for 6B (I kept taking it off to use the long end).

  2. Profile photo of Mia Rozear

    Compressed charcoal was scary to work with at first since it can’t be erased, but when I became comfortable with it, I realized how much it adds to a drawing. With compressed charcoal, I am able to get extremely dark marks and intense contrast– something I can’t get with vine charcoal.

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