What are Charcoal Pencils Used For? All You Need to Know

Seeing so many artists around, you must’ve at least once craved to make a drawing on your own. At least for uploading it on social, a sketch can be a very engaging one.

And whenever you think of making a sketch, you have to consider a charcoal pencil. But why a charcoal pencil? What are charcoal pencils used for?

A charcoal pencil is a fine tool that is used for making sketches and drawings. With its fine texture and perfect capability of shading, the pencil is perfect for any sketches and drawings.

From professionals to beginners, everyone has used charcoal pencils. And so far, it has nurtured everyone to improve and nail their works.

Use of Charcoal Pencils

Why Charcoal Pencils are Good?

The charcoal pencils are the best medium to work on any kind of drawing and artwork. Be it for usual or professional purposes, you won’t find any better alternative to use than charcoal pens.

With variations in its darkness, it provides you with wonderful shades and textures. You get to have different types of pencils for different purposes. Using them for your drawing will elevate its beauty to a whole new level.

When it comes to modifying and editing, the charcoal pencil provides you with the best convenience. With a kneaded eraser, you can easily rub it off and edit your art. Besides, the blending and shading traits of charcoal pencils make them very popular to use.

People from all walks of life can get the best handling with the pencil. Never think of it as a professional tool. Rather, it is a tool that is made to make you a professional one.

1. Make the Dark Value

Owing to different users for different purposes, the charcoal pencils come in 3 different grades. They are B, HB, and H grades.

Different Grades of Charcoal Pencil

B (soft) Grade Charcoal Pencil

The charcoal pencils make the best performance for any purpose. With a blend of B grade, the charcoal pencil becomes ideal for providing rich black color.

You get the softest texture on this pencil. As soon as you touch it with the paper, then it gets settled softly in your desired manner.

So far, it has been recommended as the best medium for portraits and landscape drawings. For its high and rich darkness, the artists recommend it for quick sketches too. You get to work finely on the hair and skin texture of your drawings.

There are different levels of the pencil starting from 2B to 9B. The darkness of the pencils gets increased as you increase the number.

You can remove the charcoal pencil with a kneaded eraser.  Thus, you get all the freedom and choice you want to get from a pencil for your usual works.

HB (medium) Grade Charcoal Pencil

With medium textures and softness, HB grade charcoal pencils are highly used by artists. Sketching and drawing are the prime reasons for using HB-grade pencils.

You get to manage the detailing effect of your art with the pencil. For the mid-tones and managing the light and darker tone, the pencil works the best so far.

From the user’s review, we found the pencil to be a great choice for scrubbing. That means any kind of strokes for detailing hair, trees, shadows, etc. can be done amazingly with the pencil.

These types of charcoal pencils are widely used in schools, colleges, and universities by students. Its scope not only lies in sketches but also in drawing and other works too.

H (hard) Grade Charcoal Pencil

You get the lightest tone with the H-grade charcoal pencils. This means the pencils are ideal to be used for academic purposes. You can get to rid of the charcoal with very little effort and time.

Moreover, beginners can use this pencil for their arts. They have every possibility of correcting their work without any hesitation.

For professional artists, the H grade charcoal pencils are recommended to give proper detail to the eyes, ears, mouths, and teeth. Different kinds of objects like fruits, vehicles, houses, etc. can be drawn with them.

One of the best advantages of the pencil is that the pencil eliminates all kinds of tripping over string when used for drawing. The pencil with its high rick darkness assures you to be used in the most desired and comfortable manner.

Talking about the strength, you get to know it from its grade. It is the hardest of the grades and lasts longer even with an outer impact.

2. Good for Blending

Blending with your charcoal pencil will assure you to produce the best out of it. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about its variation in blending. Because the charcoal pencil can sustain multiple types of blending owing to its preferences.

Blending of Pencil

Tissue paper

There are different methods of getting an awesome blending of your scribble. A common medium used is tissue paper. The blending can be done easily without any struggle.

Cotton swabs

Cotton swabs are another awesome stuff for the blending. They might be a little expensive for some. But their works on smaller areas are pretty awesome.

Cotton balls

For blending the large areas, there are no great alternatives other than the cotton balls.  You can use the cotton balls simultaneously over the charcoal on a large sheet.

Chamois & Foam Pads

The chamois available in the automotive stores can be a good medium for blending as well. Alongside them., you can use the foam pads accordingly to provide a superb blending of your charcoal pencils.

Kneaded Erasers

At times, the kneaded erases can also be used as a blending medium for the charcoal pencils. Keeping the areas clean and tidy, the kneaded eraser has always been a good friend of the artists.

There can be a lot more stuff that can be well used for blending your charcoal pencil. But the most common and prolific mediums have been discussed here.

3. Easy to Make Shade

Whenever you are up for making a shade to your sketch, the charcoal pencils become an ideal choice to use. Because the pencil’s sketching and shading traits surpass all other stuff.

With the preferred and specific graded pencil, you can complete the shading of your sketches perfectly.

Dark Shades

The darkest and the softest pencil comes first in case of making a perfect shadow with it. With the darkest charcoal , you can easily complete the sections like the eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouths, etc. Mostly, the highlighted parts of a body can be completed with it.

Light Shades

Completing the darkest sections, you need to use the lighter charcoal (H or HB) for the mid-tone shading. Keep the shading aloof from the lightest areas to make the whole work in a significant manner.

Blending Shades

Shading becomes more perfect and attractive with blending. The mediums and stuff that are discussed for blending can make a good shade of your artwork. Using in a circular motion elevates the best texture out of it.

4. Best for Portrait Art

The best portrait artists around the world have recommended charcoal pencils to be used for portrait arts. And people implementing that have been successful all the time.

The techniques and methods of using charcoal pencil for portrait arts are tremendous. They are quite easy and mostly an amazing task to do.

Before starting the portrait with pencils, make sure to cross-hatch your paper. You can use a tortillon, tissue, or your finger to smudge the line to blend them.

First, start with the dark tone. Slowly graduating to the white portion, make sure to have a neutral area of grey portion in between them. Use a medium to blend the portions accordingly.

Once the blending is done, you are to start creating the flat tone on it. You can remove the unwanted thinner lines off the surface with a kneaded eraser or a knife. If needed, use white chalk to hatch light lines over the area.

The final touch needs to be done with the charcoal. Hatch the dark lines and keep on blending the lines from the dark to light areas. Repeat it until you feel satisfied with the textures and surface.

Frequently Asked Some Questions


Q: Are Charcoal Pencil Erasable?

Charcoal pencils can be erased easily. It contains very fewer binders than other materials, thus making it easier to be erased. Kneaded erasers are the best thing to use for this purpose.

Q: Can you use charcoal and graphite together?

You can use charcoal and graphite together. Charcoal is a dark drawing material that is mostly used for sketching. Whereas, graphite is the pencils that you use for writing or using for academics and other works.

 Charcoal over the graphite pencil works superbly. But, combining the white charcoal with the graphite won’t be a good idea.

Q: How to Sharpen a Charcoal Pencil?

There are traditional sharpeners that are used to sharpen the wooden charcoal pencils. But when your charcoal pencil is of paper, the sharpeners won’t work well with it.

You have to wrap down the paper a bit by managing the string that holds the paper around the pencil. A sandpaper sharpening pad is the most common thing to use under the circumstances. Rub the pencil over the sandpaper until the bluntness goes away.

Breaking the pencil lead is very common. Here we covered an article to sharpen a pencil without breaking; You must check.

Final Words

Be it for a short purpose or a long one, there are no better alternatives to a charcoal pencil for drawings. Even if you are a beginner, you should start uplifting your drawing skills with a charcoal pencil.

Its fine traits, textures, shading, and blending makes it a free material to use. All the freedoms in your art lie in your hand while using it.

You get to make your imagination in a portrait with the help of charcoal pencils. You won’t understand what are charcoal pencils used for unless you use one. So, grab one and start making your work with our guidance and instructed manner.

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Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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