Sunday, November 15, 2015

What Are All Those Pencil Grades ?

Through the years I have purchased various pencil sets and for the most part they just sit.  Normally I grab for one of my mechanical pencils.......either an .05 or .07.  Once in awhile I'll use the .09.  Often I ask myself why and I think it comes back to laziness not wanting to worry about sharpening pencils.

One of the benefits of a pencil versus a mechanical pencil is the fact you can use the side of the point shading larger areas at a time with it.

Looking at my Staedtler Mars Lumograph set, I sat wondering what all the various grades were about.  What do the numbers mean and when do you use them.  So out of curiosity, I decided to play a little just to see what each looked like on paper.

Paper surface used is Stillman & Birn Zeta.  It's a smooth paper with no "tooth."

I seriously doubt I'll use the numbered H pencils unless maybe a 3H for lightly sketching for an all watercolor rendering.  I can see the advantage of using something like that if I don't want to worry about pencil lines showing.  Otherwise I'll probably stick with the B range.  I'm already used to 2B and 4B pencils but I might explore using those higher on the scale if or when I get past my unease of using real darks.

These next sketches are from choosing three grades - H, 2B and 6B.  They were worked in the Handbook which has a little bit of tooth to the paper.  I found the paper seemed to grab at the graphite making it easier or better to see the marks.  I had fun working these of my little miniature bear as my model.

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