25 Oct 2022Mont Marte
If you’re nervous about getting hands-on with charcoal, we’re here to break that fear down. In actual fact, charcoal is great for beginners, it’s easy to erase and best of all, you don’t need to worry about adding in those fine, intricate details, because this medium is all about that expressive, abstract look.

Now that’s out of the way, our charcoal guide will step you through each of our Mont Marte charcoals so you can find a match made in (charcoal) heaven.

Charcoal sticks

This medium is fab for creating quick sketches and abstract drawings that are full of movement and energy, thanks to their broad application. Charcoal sticks can vary in widths and levels of firmness. A softer charcoal will have some powder pay off and firmer charcoal is much stronger and less likely to smudge. But regardless of your soft or hard choice, each stick can still create a range of techniques like footage, pressure strokes, expressive lines, blending and smudging.

Our signature range of charcoal sticks are available in 10pc, 12pc and 18pc sets, meaning there’s something for every skill level.

  • Ranges: Signature
  • Sizes: 10pc, 12pc, 18pc
  • Techniques:
    - Smudging
    - Blending
    - Expressive lines
    - Frottage
    - Pressure stroke

Charcoal Pencils

Looking for something with a little more control? Then you might want to turn to charcoal pencils to sharpen your skills. Made from compressed charcoal encased in wood, you’ll still achieve the same velvety texture and expressive strokes from charcoal sticks, but with the upside of having more precision, sans using them like a pencil. Plus, they’re a lot less messy than charcoal sticks because of their lacquer coating, so you can protect your precious mits from getting grubby.

The Mont Marte charcoal pencils include 12pc and 18pc sets, each set with different grades of charcoal firmness, from soft, medium and hard.

  • Ranges: Signature
  • Sizes: 12pc, 18pc
  • Techniques:
    Cross hatching
    Contour hatching
    Pressure stroke

Coloured charcoal

Next up in our charcoal guide are coloured charcoals, these ones have the same level of control as charcoal pencils but you’ll be able to dial up the hue in your artworks thanks to these. Use them like coloured pencils, adding warm or cool tones to works or sketch with some of your favourite colours. Coloured charcoal is incredibly versatile so it’s really up to you and how you’d like to use them. Coloured charcoals are available in various sizes and colours.

Our Mont Marte coloured charcoal pencils extend to 4pc, 12pc sets as well as white charcoal in 2pc or 3pc sets. White charcoal is great for using on black paper to create a reverse style charcoal drawing that will really pop.

Woodless charcoal Pencils

If you’re looking for a balance between the thickness of a charcoal stick and the control that a charcoal pencil has, then give woodless charcoal pencils a whirl. Without the wood, these pencils are able to create big, broad strokes, by holding the pencil at an angle. Or if you have a taste for the finer things, create finer lines by using the pencil on its side or using the pencil point to add detail to your charcoals.

The Mont Marte woodless charcoal pencils are available in a 3pc set each with a different grade of firmness: soft, medium and hard.

  • Ranges: Signature
  • Sizes: 3pc
  • Techniques:
    - Smudging
    - Blending
    - Hatching
    - Cross hatching
    - Contour hatching
    - Stippling
    - Scumbling
    - Pressure stroke

Erasers with charcoal

So we’ve covered charcoals but what about erasers? Not to steal the show, but when it comes to charcoals, erasers are pretty important. This is not only because they erase any mishaps, but they also help establish the highlights in charcoals.

In this charcoal guide, we’ll loosely cover off erasers, although the type of eraser you choose will depend on both your personal preference and the creative project you have in mind.

Kneadable erasers are super versatile and can be moulded into any shape to remove small, hard to reach areas. If you’re working with graphite and charcoals, you might find a soft eraser works better, but they can also be handy if you’re working with large scale works. If excess powder pigment is a concern, an eraser brush can help remove excess powder and help stop smudging. Or, if you find you have a small stubborn spot, reach for the electrical eraser and let this do the erasing for you.

Our Mont Marte eraser range has something for all styles and skill levels.

Eraser pencils

2pc pencil
2pc kneadable

- Lifting

We hope this charcoal guide leaves you feeling inspired to pick up a charcoal stick or some charcoal pencils. Try this medium for yourself and #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook, we’d love to see what you create.

Looking to put your skills to the test? Be sure to check out these 11 charcoal techniques.