Why Use A Rock? The Trouble with Chunk Charcoal.

There’s nothing like a large piece of charcoal to do a large-scale drawing or when you’re looking to lay down a lot of charcoal fast. Nitram’s Demi bâton de saule, Maxi bâton de saule and Bloc de saule extra soft charcoal are perfect for large scale projects that require rich color and expressive lines.


chunk Charcoal
One of the great advantages of Nitram’s large format charcoal is that it offers more control than other chunk charcoals, and many other chunk charcoals are just that- chunks. Many of the large charcoals on the market are irregularly shaped and that can create unwanted lines and streaks on the paper. Nitram offers smooth charcoal that eliminates the need to worry about unsightly, and often un-removable, streaks.
Chunk Charcoal

Plein Air Drawing

Large format charcoals are also perfect for plein air drawing. The residual dust is minimal so if there’s a breeze, there’s no need to worry about breathing in the dust. The charcoal can be easily transported in a sketch or easel box and it’s a great companion for outdoor work. Learn more about plein air drawing.

When working with Nitram’s large format charcoal, it best to use a heavier paper with enough tooth to achieve dark values yet still create smooth textures. A heavier paper can withstand multiple charcoal layers and blends for contrasting textures when drawing wood, bark, coarse fabrics, facial hair, animal fur and cast shadows. Other charcoals, particularly those with an irregular shape, require a heavy, robust paper that isn’t prone to tearing. The irregular shapes, if not sanded and smoothed, can dig into the paper or loosen some of the fibers.

Circulism / Gestural Drawing

The shape of Nitram’s large format charcoal has an advantage for artist’s who use circulism. Rather than painstakingly drawing each circle, the Demi bâton de saule and Maxi bâton de saule can be placed on its edge and simply turned in a clockwise motion, pressing enough so that the charcoal catches to the paper. Lift and repeat until the sides are worn down, and with the charcoal laid flat, scribble on scrap paper until the baton is even again. The charcoal laid down on the scrap paper can be lifted with the chamois or felt for shading when a darker value is needed, so that no charcoal goes to waste.

Circulism with chunk charcoal can be difficult because of the shape. The chunk must be continually sharpened or sanded, meaning frequent interruptions. Nitram’s large format charcoal works great for gestural drawing, something that can be difficult, and frustrating, with a charcoal chunk. The chunk isn’t a cohesive tool for the quick motions required for gestural drawing.

Of course, there’s the convenience factor that makes Nitram large format charcoal stand out among the rest. The baton is easy to hold, comfortable on the fingers and the hands don’t get as messy as they do with chunks.


For those who find stenciling with charcoal fun, Nitram large format batons don’t need to be sanded to a powdered residual. Using a paper towel or soft cloth, rub the side of the baton until the cloth has taken up enough charcoal and stencil away! The baton won’t crumble when you rub and there’s no big power mess to clean up.

Nitram large format charcoal offers the convenience of smaller batons and the depth and value aren’t compromised because of the size. Use it upright or on its side for covering large areas.

Nitram large format batons are the perfect choice for the charcoal-aholic looking for convenience, consistency and creativity.

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