Brand Differences in Compressed Charcoal and White Pastel

I wanted to show everyone the value differences between some of the brands we have available. I found that the Prismacolor Soft Charcoal pencil to be the over all darkest of these brands and I found the General’s White Charcoal pencil to be the brightest of these brands. All of these pencils had a different feel while applying them so I would recommend doing some of your own experiments before using them to decide which might work better for your application. I hope you find this helpful.


Thanks for sharing this Dan. After experimenting with these different brands, do you have a favorite compressed charcoal and favorite white pastel? Would you choose the charcoal pencil that was the darkest and the pastel that was the brightest, or are there other factors that you would consider?

I personally like the generals 6b for a black and the reason is I find it to be the easiest for me to work with. I love the darker value of the prismacolor but I found it to be scratchy and was a bit glossy. And the others I just didn’t like the feel of them as I was applying them. I prefer the generals white because it’s the brightest white. Primo was nice to work with but I prefer the brighter white.


Wow, this is great Dan! I’ve personally only experimented with General’s, Prismacolor Soft Charcoal, and the Stabilo White. I primarily use the General’s 6B, HB, and white pastel for my drawings, but I also do use the Prismacolor Soft Black-- but very sparingly and only on the parts that I want to achieve a greater range of value

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I love the Prismacolor for dark accents and line work too. I haven’t tried the Primo Euro Blend but I do love the Stabilo for softening edges and consolidating an area of value. I recently tried the ‘new’ version of the Caran D’Ache (the old one isn’t available in Australia) and found it to be darker than the Generals but also waxier. Need to experiment some more with it!