HB Drawing Charcoal - A Versatile Medium
By: Preyank Jain
Drawing charcoal is available in three different types - soft, medium and hard. But the medium version is good to use in many different situations
Many artists delight in the freedom they get creating pictures from charcoal. Artist charcoal may look pretty basic to the outsider, but in fact you can buy it in several different types. If you want to create large pictures with a lack of detail, then the B charcoal baton will be your best friend. You can smudge it, shade with it and do lots of different things to create large and memorable pictures. It should come as no surprise that charcoal has been part of the human history of drawing and creating for thousands of years. It could possibly be one of the first materials we found for drawing with!
At the other end of the scale you have the H drawing charcoal. Think H for hard and you'll get the idea. If you delight in adding layers of detail to your artwork this will be the charcoal baton you will want in your armory.
But we also have another possibility to bear in mind - a possibility that gives us the best of both worlds. This is the HB, which sits in the middle of the other two forms of artist charcoal and is an all round versatile medium to have in your kit.
There are many different types of artist in the world, but it is true to say that most of them will probably have the medium hard charcoal in their selection of charcoal. It is useful in many different situations. If you are one of those artists that tend to have a sketchbook on them at all times, ready to whip out and start sketching things at a moment's notice, you will appreciate the versatility of the medium hard drawing charcoal. It enables you to carry the minimum of tools and yet still produce works of art that are amazing to look at.
You can achieve a lot with this medium charcoal because it is ideal for putting in smaller details, while still enabling you to do some shading of varying types. Of course many artists will make use of softer and/or harder charcoal batons as well. But the HB sits reliably in the middle and can help you achieve more detail than you might think.
If you are just getting started with charcoal drawings for the first time, the HB can be the best tool to begin with as well. You may find the B type charcoal too soft to start with, when you are only just finding your feet in the medium. Similarly the H charcoal which allows you to put in the finest of details (something that may seem impossible at first glance when using charcoal) may be too fine. The HB however lets you have the biggest range of freedom when you are getting to grips with the medium for the first time.
In the end you may experiment with other forms of charcoal and decide that the HB is not going to be the main one that you use. But it provides a wonderful starting point, particularly if you choose a top quality fine art artist charcoal. You may eventually gravitate away from it to use a softer or harder charcoal for the most part. But starting in the middle means you know what that central point is in the softness or hardness of your charcoal. It's a way of getting a lesson in the use of drawing charcoal and understanding how the different types will be of use to you as you settle down to draw your next picture.
And who knows, as you get ready to draw your next masterpiece, it could just be the HB charcoal that enables you to produce it.
About the Author:
Nitram Fusains - The finest Drawing Charcoal in the World. We ship our charcoal for drawing to all over the world. Nitram Fusains Academy line comes in H, HB and B hardness. This allows the artist to create a broad range of tones. Nitram is now becoming available around the world in stores that sell high quality artists materials.
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