Natural charcoal sticks are the oldest drawing and painting materials in the world. The grayish-blue shadows glide gently across the paper, rub and smudge easily, and can be easily erased and repeatedly overlaid. Their bluish tint has always fascinated, even the old masters. The charcoal leaves a much darker line. Compressed charcoal with soot and clay gives charcoal a dark color that can produce varying degrees of hardness.