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Thread: Pencils

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I've been thinking of doing sketch drawings with pencils recentley. I've got a set of different lead type pencils that have been sitting around unused for ages.

    Does anyone have any tips for the selection of different lead types (I'm sure its not called 'types' but I hope peeps know what I'm talking about; HB, H, B etc), or any links to good articles on the subject.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Hi sweenymini.

    Hope this helps.

    This is what I recall about drawing with pencils.

    The higher the number before the letter, the more extreme.

    H = Hard, lighter value, hold a point longer, good for intricate deetail. To build up a tone you usually have to draw it in as opposed to smearing,

    B = Soft. darker, lose their point, good for smearing, tends to reproduce on camera better because it's dark.

    -- and the other letters, like F and so on, are somewhere in between.

    Graphite does not go all the way to black like charcoal.

    Also, graphite is little ball berrings, believe it or not that get caught in the paper fiber or sit on top of it, so it can be easily smeared.

    You may want to put a piece of clean paper under your hand if you're resting it on the drawing, usually an issue if you're doing close or repetative work.

    And you may want to fix your drawing. There's workable fixitive for sale in art supply stores, but we used Aquanet unscented hairspray. Way cheaper.

    Don't breathe it - do your fixing out doors ot in adequate ventalation.

    And some sprays may discolor the paper, but I can't recall which.

    Your style (linear or tonal) dictates your needs and what to buy - paper and erasers. Heck, I've even seen powder graphite you can put on with a cotton ball or rag.

    Have fun!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Northern Michigan
    High guys,

    D Akey pretty much covered it all but here's a couple of other tips for you.

    If you're working large, or down & dirty, you can get graphyte sticks. They're the same size as Conte crayons and work well for filling in.

    "Graphite does not go all the way to black like charcoal."

    But damn near. A 6B or 8B gets almost black. These are my faves. Really greasy and smeary. I've always liked the sort of metalic sheen that comes with graphyte.

    "You may want to put a piece of clean paper under your hand if you're resting it on the drawing, usually an issue if you're doing close or repetative work."

    Sometimes even the paper trick can smear. I've used a sturdy yard stick or piece of lath to rest my hand on. It would be long enuf that it wouldn't rest on the paper, but on your drawing board. You'd hold the opp. end with your non-drawing hand to move it. It seems cumbersome at 1st. but you hardly notice it after awhile.

    Also, if you really get into it, I have a couple of Qt. cans of powdered graphyte that were given to me. If you want to get crazy let me know and I'll send you a can, absolutely free!!!:-)

    Again, I agree with D A. Do have fun, it's great fun stuff.

    Oh yeah, you'll want to put a sheet or 2 of paper under your drawing or you'll get like a rubbing of your drawing board when you do fills or shading.

    "Up to now I've managed, but since they know I can't do any other kind of work in life except invent absurdities, they pay me badly." Rene Daumal (Trans. Roger Shattuck) from "Mount Analogue"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Thanks D and Sam

    I think I should be able to find something thats close to a yard stick

    At the moment I'm going to start off slowly so I wont need powdered graphite yet but thanks soo much for the offer Sam, its much appreciated 8) 8)

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