Pencil Drawing_ Tips And Equipment

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Pencil Drawing_ Tips And Equipment Powered By Docstoc
					The use of any art medium requires a little knowledge. This article focuses on the
tools you should use, and some of the techniques of pencil drawing.

Firstly, consider the pencils themselves. In my experience, paying more for a pencil
merely buys a better quality casing; the performance of the leads is pretty similar
across the price range.

The import thing when buying graphite pencils is to have a range of different grades.
H pencils have hard leads. B pencils have soft leads. The higher the H or B number,
the harder or softer they are; so an H9 is very hard, and a B9 is very soft.

In terms of drawing, pencil harness and softness equate to lightness and darkness. A
hard pencil will make a very faint, sharp grey line, while a soft pencil will make
darker and less sharp mark. Pencil drawing is a matter of recording light and shade, so
you need to use a range of lighter and darker pencils to capture tonal variations.

The range you choose is up to you, and dependant on the style of drawings you wish
to make, but the Bs are suitable for most drawings. I would recommend the minimum
of an HB (neither hard nor soft), B, 2B, 4B, 6B, and 9B.

The choice of paper again depends on type of drawings you wish to make, but
generally, the best type of paper will be very smooth (e.g. cartridge paper). Paper
quality is important. Imperfections in the surface of a smooth paper have a nasty habit
of filling-in with graphite, and forming blotches.

Pencil work can require a fair amount of blending and reworking, so it is advisable to
use a paper that is reasonably robust. My personal recommendation is that you use the
heaviest weight paper you can something that will stand-up to a bit of a battering.

Always apply pencil very lightly, and never press hard. The aim should be to float the
graphite on the surface of the paper, and not to produce an engraving. Pressing hard
will make the pencil mark darker, but it will also deform the paper. Far better results
can be obtained by using a darker (softer) pencil lightly, when you need to draw
darker areas. Altering the angle of the pencil to the paper can help if you tend to be
heavy handed. Briefly, when the pencil is vertical to the paper, its easy to press down
hard. Leaning the pencil reduces the amount of pressure than can be applied to its tip,
and the least possible amount pressure is achieved when the pencil is leaned so far
that is almost horizontal.

When shading an area, dont randomly scrub the pencil back and forward in all
directions. Try to apply pencil strokes in a uniform and specific direction. The best
direction is often one that describes the shape of an object, so if shading something
that is round, used curved strokes.
The hardest thing to do with pencil is lay down and area of flat and even shading. The
problem is often that the pencil strokes overlap, with the result that the overlapping
areas are darker. One way to avoid this is to always shade an area two or three times
to achieve even coverage. So long as you use the correct grade of pencil lightly and
consistently, you will not end-up with darker shading as a result. For example, three
layers of B should not be as dark as one layer of B2 (but it should be smoother).

The usual approach with pencil is to work from dark to light. The reason for this is as
described above, but this additionally acknowledges of the properties of pencil.
Graphite is a lubricant. If you lay-down a very light shading first, you will find that
this effectively lubricates the paper, and subsequent shading goes on more smoothly
and fluidly. So, if you want to shade an area to a B3 depth, dont go straight in with the
B3; build-up through two of three steps, say a B, a B2, and then a B3. If you wish to
shade an area to B8 or B9 depth, similarly go through a few steps, but start with say a

If you want to record really dark shades, it is possible to buy specialists pencils,
darker than B9, or you can use a little charcoal. Graphite is shades of grey, and never

Time for a quick word about sharpening pencils. Most pencil drawing is a matter of
recording areas light and shade; its not about lines, unless technical drawing is your
thing. My advice is therefore dont sharpen your pencils too often. Shading is easier to
do with a blunt pencil, so only sharpen when you need crisp detail (usually the
finishing touches).

Blending is a vital pencil drawing technique. Blending is fundamentally smudging.
Smudging can be used to smooth-out shading, and blend different pencil grades to
produce a smooth tonal graduation.

Pencil smudges very easily due to the lubricating properties of graphite. You can do it
with your fingers (although a little messy), Torchillons (paper stumps), and Q-tips
(cotton buds on sticks found in most bathrooms) are very good for blending.
Whatever you use, make your blending strokes directional rather than random.

An eraser can be very useful. It isnt there to correct mistakes; it is necessary for
cleaning-up (because pencil smudges so easily). The best type is a putty eraser. These
are very soft and can be pinched into points or thin edges to take out tiny dots or thin
lines of pencil from your picture, without doing any damage to the paper.

The final bit of equipment you like to use is a fixative spray. This stops the drawing
from smudging once it is complete, but can also be used mid-drawing to prevent
unwanted smudging. Dont use hair spray (except on your hair): use a purpose made
fixative, and dont over do it (a light spray is enough).

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