|Look at these fancy antique mechanical pencils!|
Well, as most of you know, artists rely on your good old-fashioned pencil for a lot of different art processes, even if its just for sketches or practice. What many people probably don’t realize is that the pencil as we know it was only invented around 1600, so for many thousands of years artists had to go without that handy tool. Before that artists used natural materials such as chalk, charcoal, sepia, or etching with sharp pointed tools to draw fine lines and sketches. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the pencil with an eraser on the end of the wooden shaft was designed and produced.
|These are some of the more popular numbers used for drawing.|
Today, 14 billion pencils are made each year worldwide!! At least half of those are used in my art room (haha!). So, how does an artist choose the right pencil?
An artist should test many brands and types. There is not one type of pencil that works for everything. For example, I would not want a smudgy dark line for very architectural types of drawings. I would probably choose something in the H range or even a mechanical pencil with very skinny sized “lead”. If I were sketching a landscape or something that needed deep shading or textural effects, I’d probably use a very soft pencil (my favorite is the Ebony pencil that is somewhere softer than 6B depending on the brand). But I do I like a softer/thicker mechanical pencil if I am sketching outdoors or somewhere I can’t easily sharpen my pencil.
|Ooooo look at all of my pencils!|
Now, eraser or no eraser? That is the question. But that is for a later blog because erasers are a whole other beast! Until then, try out some pencils and find the ones that work for you and your art.