Natural charcoal is the oldest sketching and drawing material in the world. The greyish-blue shade glides softly across the paper, rubs and smudges easily, and can be erased without difficulty and repeatedly overlaid. Many art students are taught first to make sketches in natural charcoal, even when working on canvas, before further elaborating the details of the picture. Faber-Castell has developed two further products based on this classic drawing material, namely pressed charcoal sticks and pressed charcoal pencils. Ground natural charcoal is enriched with black pigment, and then compressed with clay to form a crayon. This results in a significantly blacker shade, which is available in 5 different grades of hardness.