Charcoal is made when natural charcoal is compressed. It is a soft crumbly substance and has been used since prehistoric times. I use charcoal primarily to satisfy my need for high contrast. I'm drawn to images with high highlights and deep shadows. Charcoals effortlessly capture this on paper as well as the easiness of blending. The result ends up extremely life like.
Pastels are a mixture the same type of powder pigment used in oil paints but bound differently. I primarily use soft pastels (looks like chalk) and pastel pencils. This medium comes the most naturally to me. I love the instant results I receive when I use them - no dry time! Blending and "painting" with them is very satisfying.
Oil paint is a mixture of a powdered pigment and oil. I love it because it allows me to think while I work due to the slow dry time. It is very forgiving and mistakes may be wiped away. It also produces such a large range of variations just like musical notes - there are an infinite amount of combinations and techniques. I don't know if I will ever feel as though I have "mastered" oil painting. Exploration is always my process and oil paint is always my wilderness
Pencils are wood wrapped graphite - a substance found in nature. It's artistic qualities include, ease of erasing, ease of lightness and darkness, ease of a fine point for fine detail. It leaves a shinny surface when applied thickly to paper. It was my first love when I discovered art and continue to use it often. Not only is it my preferred method of sketching, it is sometimes the best method for capturing a desired image and sharp detail.