Artists of all kinds and areas depend on their tools. Artists consider their tools as an extension of themselves. It is through the use of these items that art is created. For a musician, it is the instrument, for the sculptor, the clay, for the painter, the brush, and for the sketch artist, the pencil.
A pencil is a tool used in drawing to make lines of different thicknesses or darkness. It consists of a narrow, typically wooden shaft with an encased graphite core. The size of the core indicates the hardness and darkness of the lead and has historically been referred to by letters: HB corresponds roughly to a traditional “number two” pencil, while 2H would be softer, lighter, and darker than HB.
What type of pencil a particular artist uses truly depends on their preference. For beginners, it can seem like a foreign language. There are a lot of things to consider when selecting a pencil for drawing. Here are 4 of the main points.
4 Things To Consider
Choosing the right type of pencil for drawing is a more involved process than many would even consider. When choosing you have to look at things like the make, material, and purpose. You should be thorough in your search for quality drawing pencils. In the beginning, you may be satisfied with the drawing pencil kits. However, as your skills develop, you’ll soon come to develop preferences for certain pencils.
It should be noted that you do not have to use a brand’s entire line of pencils unless you want to. You can mix and match your brands to find the ones you like best.
Read all information given by manufacturers including color codes since these can also be misleading. In addition, look closely at reviews, as there are many “rebranding” products that don’t tell the whole story. If you have questions about anything, ask someone who knows about drawing materials. I know this sounds like a lot of advice but it is worth doing to ensure you select the best pencil for your needs and budget.
1. Grading Systems
In order for all types of pencils to work on all types of paper, manufacturers have developed grading systems for differentiating between hardnesses. The most common grading scale uses a numbering system from one (the softest) through nine (the hardest). It should also be noted that neither hardness nor are sizes concrete concepts. There is a great deal of overlap in sizes and what one individual considers “soft” or “hard” may be considerably different from someone else. That being said, it is always best to choose a pencil that corresponds to the hardness of the paper you are working on.
2. Type Of Lines
The type of lines you want to create is a point of consideration for the pencils you will need to accomplish them. For instance, if you have soft paper and want darker lines, go with a harder pencil (one with more lead). If you want lighter lines but still need good erasure ability because of your line quality or pressure control issues, a softer pencil would also be ideal. This is something that you will learn with practice and getting to know and develop your drawing style.
To add even further complexity, there are other classes of graphite which include waxes, pastels, and charcoal which behave differently from each other yet all share some commonalities with regular pencils. When working on a very hard surface, for example, it is best to use a harder lead than you otherwise would prefer due to the fact that waxes and pastels tend to break more easily as they wear down. All of this will contribute to the Ed result of your lines.
3. The Type of Drawing
As you can see, there are many factors important in choosing a pencil, so before laying out your cash it is wise to consider what type of drawing you will be doing with it. If you’re doing something that is light and quick you’ll need a different pencil than if you are doing something with deeper darker lines. The emotion you want to get out of the piece will also depend on the type of pencil you use and how you use it. Also, consider if you want an eraser or not (if yes then choose a mechanical pencil) as well as the hardness of the pencil which affects performance on different media.
Availability will also play a big role in your decision. You may not have certain types or quality drawing pencils available to you. This should be something you consider in your final decision. If you are a beginner or even an experienced drawer, it’s recommended to try out a variety of pencils and see which ones you like best. You will not have to limit yourself to only one type of pencil since there are many types with different levels of hardness, darkness, and odor (and the different properties that come from those). When you have settled on your favorites, it might be worth investing in some higher-quality pencils as they tend to last longer.
In this way, drawing is very much like cooking or baking—there are so many ways you can use materials for similar ends but each combination produces something slightly different. If you want to make sweetbreads, then choose white flour; if dark pastries better suit your taste, then whole wheat would be more appropriate. Why not add some honey to the mix for a different flavor? Similarly, withdrawing, an artist can use many drawing materials in many ways, but each property (hardness, darkness, and graphite class) has an impact on how you will use it.
If possible get out and try pens at a local art supply store since samples are often free. Also, don’t forget pencils can be used in both multi-media and multi-purpose projects (such as blending in with watercolor) so an expensive one isn’t necessary unless you do nothing but draw consistently (then I would recommend something softer than HB). Happy Drawing!