View Full Version : Difference Between Colored Charcoal and Soft Pastel?

Pencil Me In
04-10-2008, 05:28 PM
Hi, All!

I have an ignorant question that I hope you can help me with. I have a set of Derwent Tinted Charcoal pencils, and was wondering what the difference might be between colored charcoal and pastels? Is it the formula of the "lead?"

Here is a link to Derwent's web page for the pencils:
This link shows the color chart for the tinted charcoal:

I did search the forums to see if this had been discussed previously, but didn't find anything. If this question has already been answered, and someone could point me to the thread, it would be appreciated.

Best to all,


04-10-2008, 06:21 PM
Tinted charcoal is just that, charcoal that has color added to give it that tint. From Derwent's description "Mixing natural charcoal particles with a small amount of colour pigment and the finest clays..."

Pastels, on the other hand, are pure pigments with a binder added to form the stick.

Pencil Me In
04-10-2008, 06:45 PM
Thanks, Bruce!

Some of those colors must have only the *smallest* trace of charcoal in them - there are some very pale yellow tones, pinks and even a white. With the darker colors it's easy to imagine the presence of charcoal in the blend, but the lighter ones don't look like the charcoal I'm used to seeing, I guess.

All the best,


07-02-2008, 11:14 AM
Whats the difference between Derwent Tinted Charcoal pencils and Derwent astel pencils?
As im planing to invest in both ...

Adele O
07-02-2008, 02:05 PM
This is a good question Susan.

CHAR (Blackened by burning) COAL (black mineral consisting mainly of carbon).

White charcoal must be mainly clay and pigment, right? I'm asking because I find that General's white charcoal pencil is whiter than any white pastel pencil than I've personally ever used.

The only difference that I've found between the two usage-wise, is that pastel pencils seem to blend a little nicer and have a bigger color selection...but then again there are a lot more experienced people here than me. :)


Adele O
07-02-2008, 06:50 PM
I just brought up your link for the tinted charcoal and what I found kind of interesting is that the lightfast ratings for the purples and lavenders are fairly high in that particular line.

In most soft pastel lines the lightfast ratings tend to be low for lavenders and purples.

Might have to get me some purply charcoal!