Willow charcoal: what is it and how is it used?

3 June 2024

At Musgrove Willows, we use the willow grown on our family farm to make willow art charcoal sticks of varying thicknesses. Drawing charcoal is the medium of choice for many artists, and willow charcoal has several unique qualities that make it stand out.

Read on to find out a bit more about what exactly willow charcoal is, and how best to use it.

What is willow charcoal?

Willow charcoal is a byproduct of burning willow rods. When willow rods are burnt to a precise degree, this produces sticks of willow charcoal. Artists often choose to use willow charcoal because it is very soft and forgiving, whilst retaining enough strength to produce stunning pieces of art.

Over the years, Musgrove Willows have perfected our willow burning methods and timing, honing our technique to produce top-quality drawing charcoal in a range of thicknesses. We guarantee the stellar quality of our willow charcoal by sorting and grading each charcoal stick by hand.

How to use willow charcoal sticks

Our willow charcoal is used by both professional artists and passionate hobbyists to create beautiful pieces of art. The versatile nature of willow charcoal makes it the perfect medium for producing truly unique artwork.

Although darker than a pencil, willow charcoal is less dark than many other types of drawing charcoal. Willow charcoal sticks are also incredibly forgiving and malleable, making them great for creating soft lines and textures.

As it is soft, willow charcoal sticks can also be snapped or the tips reshaped to create different kinds of marks. Another element of willow charcoal’s versatility is that it can be smudged and blended, creating endlessly varied tones and styles. Turning willow charcoal on its side creates different effects as well.

Willow charcoal comes in a range of different thicknesses for different purposes. Thin sticks and medium sticks are perfect for fine, detailed drawings and sketches. Thick sticks, extra thick sticks, and jumbo willow charcoal sticks are great for smudging, blending, and broad strokes.

Willow charcoal sticks from Musgrove Willows

Our willow art charcoal is made from burning willow grown right here on our family farm. We stock willow charcoal in a range of different sizes, from thin and medium, through to thick and jumbo – and mixed thicknesses for a range of thin, medium, and thick drawing charcoal.

We supply our top-quality willow charcoal to art shops, museums, colleges, and more – we welcome trade and bulk orders. To find out more about purchasing or stocking our willow art charcoal, just get in touch.

My Basket