In art, soft, brittle material in stick or pencil form used for sketching and more free and expressive drawing, Charcoal is rich and crumbly, and smudges easily. Lines can be blended easily using fingers or a putty rubber to give great depth and body to a form. Effects vary according to the surface type of the paper, and water can be applied to create a charcoal wash.
A spray fixative should be applied to preserve the finished work. Natural charcoal is black, although coloured charcoals are now manufactured.
Charcoal has been used for drawing since prehistoric times when pieces of charred wood would have been used. Today, charcoal sticks are made from kiln-fired willow twigs, and come in a variety of widths and hardnesses. Charcoal pencils are made of compressed charcoal, and lose some of the qualities of natural charcoal in the process.