Charcoal is made from vine, willow, or other twigs that have been charred for use as drawing material. It is superb for blending and creating graduations of black. Sold mainly in pencil and stick form, charcoal is available in soft, medium, hard, and compressed versions. Soft charcoal is light and easily erasable but does not make a true black. Compressed charcoal makes thick, heavy, rich blacks. Although charcoal’s main advantage is that it’s blendable, this also means it can be smudged easily. The use of a fixative is necessary when work is complete.