Where can I get charcoal for drawing

Charcoal - the universal one

Not all charcoal is created equal!

Very few leisure and hobby artists, and so-called professionals as well, know the differences between charcoal and how to get better results with the right product.

There are a few things to consider when choosing the product:
There are different varieties that have very different properties.
There is the distinction between Willow trees and grapevines or other types of wood, such as Linden, papule or different Fruit trees. Depending on the variety, you get a different shade of black and shades, ranging from dark gray to shimmering bluish black.

Willow charcoal (Willlow) is made from the branches of willow trees that are burned with a certain hardness. Willow charcoal is brittle and tends to break, and the sticks are of different thicknesses and can become scratchy due to inclusions (knots). As you draw, these "knots" can leave dark lines or scratches that are difficult to remove. Willow charcoal has a soft, dark shade of black that tends to turn brown.

Vine charcoalAlso called vine, is made like willow charcoal. "Vine" does not contain any binding agents, so it can be easily erased. The sticks break quite easily and must be handled with care. Vine charcoal is offered in different qualities, with most varieties being particularly soft, soft, medium and hard. Charcoal sticks made from grapevine leave a strong black tone, which, depending on the variety, has a weak or strong bluish shimmer.

Willow and vine charcoal are soft and less suitable for fine detail work. The chopsticks can be sharpened to a fine point with sandpaper, but they require frequent sharpening due to their softer consistency.

Willow charcoal in different strengths

A few years ago a resourceful artist from Canada thought about how to improve charcoal. Above all, how to make the best charcoal. Has come out Nitram charcoalwhich is made from special types of wood using a unique process. The coal is burned in such a way that the cell structure of the wood is preserved. In this way you get even sticks that don't break easily and give off more intense black tones. Nitram charcoal It also generates less dust, so it is a better choice for those who are sensitive to the dust from willow and vine charcoal.

NITRAM drawing charcoal - different strengths

The Nitram - The range is divided into different degrees of hardness, from B for soft, to HB for medium-soft and H for hard, for fine details. The special thing about Nitram charcoal is that all sticks are almost the same size, do not break and can produce different tonal values. The charcoal adheres very well to almost any paper, but also to other painting grounds, such as B. primed fabric or wood and produces less dust in contrast to willow or grapevine. The tints range from a neutral gray to bluish tints. Nitram is certainly a good alternative to traditional charcoal sticks from other suppliers.

Pressed charcoal

In addition to "natural charcoal", there is also pressed charcoal. It is made from charred wood, ground to dust and then pressed into sticks with gum arabic or other binding agents. The special manufacturing process creates deep, rich black tones.
Pressed charcoal varies widely by brand. High-quality charcoal sticks (Derwent, General's, Lyra or Faber Castell) create deep dark tones and can be easily mixed and erased on paper.
The same applies to charcoal pens (wood-cased pens). However, they are generally mixed with more binder and a little wax. You can sharpen charcoal pencils very finely, so you can create thin lines and hatching. But they are not easy to erase and smudge.

Black pastel color and pressed charcoal are not the same thing, although the results can be similar. Black pastels use black pigments that are not from charred wood.

Pressed charcoal in chopsticks and pen