Nitram Academie Charcoal H Hard 5 Sticks
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- Hard charcoal is good for adding fine detal - when sharpened
- Package of 5 - 5mm thick sticks
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Nitram H Fine Art Charcoal can be sharpened to an extra fine point for creating fine detail in your drawing. Also, the unique hardness of Nitram H makes lighter and mid tones easier to attain. Package contains 5 sticks.
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Top customer reviews
Physically the sticks appear exactly as you'd expect. Based on their consistency I suspect they are made of a wood which selected then stripped, machined into a cuboid, compressed to an extent, then baked for an extended period under very controlled conditions. The result is a charcoal which is very hard meaning you can sand it to an long, narrow point. It doesn't have the porous texture of vine charcoal, but no visible knots/natural form (like willow). The result can be used more like a wood less charcoal pencil, but made of natural material with the tone and erasability of willow charcoal (vs compressed for typical pencils).
In use my frustration with the material become evident. I typically sketch on Strathmore Newsprint which is a fairly typical newsprint which has been acceptable for use with all vine (even the hardest variants), willow and compressed charcoal I've used on it. It is, however, not acceptable for use with this charcoal. The charcoal has a typical coarse charcoal texture combined with a very hard consistency which does not lay down consistently. In particular at times it leaves no line at all, instead lifting fibres from the paper. This is evident as paper fibres collecting on the charcoal. I try and use a broad range of drawing mediums (soft pastel, hard pastel, oil pastel, chalk, oil pencil, carbon pencil, grease pencil, graphite etc) and have not found myself struggling so much to make a mark before. When trying to use this for a 30 minute life drawing session I found myself frequently having to redraw marks several times altering the angle of the charcoal and rubbing it on some scrap paper.
So why, you may ask, did I still give it four stars? The answer is that it works much better on a more robust paper. On Ingres,Mi-Teintes or even Strathmore 300 Sketch it worked fine. It even worked reasonable on various cheaper mixed media paper I have around. When used on such paper it marks very much like a hard vine charcoal with less dust and a slightly darker mark (like willow charcoal). The pencil like shape can be easier to handle than a typical natural charcoal and the sharpness of point you can achieve is surprisingly good for trying to add fine details. Overall, on the right paper it works as advertised.
Overall I'll happy with this charcoal with a caveat. Unlike most charcoal it is not very amenable to use on newsprint. Assuming you know that, it works well.