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Posted: Sat Nov 20, 2004 12:28 pm
by J F Schneider
Let's talk about pencils. It's time for trip to the art supply store. What should I try? What's your favorite lead hardness/softness? Mechanical or good old wood? :roll:

Posted: Sat Nov 20, 2004 4:59 pm
by Redcrow
Tough I sometimes use lead holders with a hard lead for tight, detailed work, I find I like to sketch with a good, old fashioned #2 pencil. They're cheap (especially in bulk at Office Max or Depot, though I don't like the quality of the house brands -- the lead breaks too often when sharpening in my electric sharpener; "Ticonderoga" brand ain't bad), and they're soft enough to get some nice side-of-the-pencil shading, yet hard enough when sharpened to give a good clean line.

I've used more expensive "artist" pencils when doing illustration work in pencil, where a kind of clean shading and consistency counts, but I don't have a favored brand. Usually whatever is on sale at the art store at the time. Ebony pencils are nice.

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:35 am
by nil
I'll be test-driving Faber-Castell 0.5mm blue leads in a mechanical pencil. Prediction from initial doodles: breaks every five seconds. If I were doing it again I'd buy 0.7mm, but I'm not yet sure I like the blue enough.

Just thought I'd share because I thought it was neat you could get coloured leads...

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 6:12 am
by bluemax500
I prefer number 1 pencils, I'm not sure about the HB number, but the leads a bit softer than a #2. My favorite pencil ever was a Sparco number 1, but I've since lost it, I don't think it was a fancy art pencil or anything, I just liked how it handled.

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 6:39 pm
by zironu
Iono.. I almost never draw in pencil anymore (pen), but for the times that I do, I usually prefer to use the wood-encased pencils rather than the mechanical ones. I just like the variation of line you can get out of a traditional one, and it's a lot easier for me to find pencils with varying hardnesses, than it is for me to find mechanical pencil leads with varying hardnesses. Also, if you have a good razor or box-cutter, you can sharpen the tip any way you please, whether you want a chisel-tip, a sharp point, or broad sides.

Traditional wood-encased graphite for meeee.. :)

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 8:27 pm
by nil
I like traditional pencils too, but a mechanical is sometimes just the ticket to keep things from getting out of hand.

To confirm my prediction: 0.5mm blue leads were too flimsy for me in the field...

Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:41 am
by alanti
I decided to give my new Faber-Castell Grip-Matic 1377 pencil a workout to see how good the automatic lead advance is. I am very impressed, there is quite a lot of scribbling in here but I rarely had to adjust the length of the lead, usually only when I broke the lead by pressing too hard.

This pencil only cost me AU$1.95 with 12 2b 0.7mm leads :D




Posted: Fri May 20, 2005 11:49 am
by subwaysurfer
I use a variety of materials for sketching. When I need to sketch fast I use a 0.5 mechanical pencil that breaks easily! Because the point is so delicate it forces me to use a very light hand, and also forces me to move as quickly as possible which is what i really need to do in order to record information quickly. Lately, I've been studying a lot of cartoonist/caricature artist Steve Silver's work(Kim Possible, Clerks) and like most animators he uses a blue pencil for the initial sketch and inks it over later. I love the clean look of that, and have been using that method lately.
When I can stand the smell I use chartpak markers, but also am in love with Le plum and tombo brush pens, which give me nice Hirshfeld-esk lines. ( I work as a caricature artist)
I use Prsimacolor art stixx to add color quickly, easily and with no mess. I sometimes bring the whole box or just stick one or two stixx in my pocket and use them for tonal effects.
Finally, I use a 11x14 drawing pad with some tooth. I really dont care to use smaller pads, and "sneak sketches" I want people to KNOW what im doing!! :P Also, using a drawing pad that is smaller enourages me to be tight , hesitant and almost apologetic when I draw. the bigger pad forces me to be bold and decisive, and enables me to capture a ton of information on one page.


Posted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:20 pm
by lee
Wow, lots of good ideas for drawing instruments. I love to dabble with different leads -- although I've been using wood-encased pencils almost exclusively for sketching I sometimes use those pencils made entirely of lead such as Cretacolor Monolith. I've got to try those mechanical pencils but will any kind do? Some mechanical pencils are pretty pricey while you can buy a bunch at a lower (discount?) price and they are disposable.

Oh, and thanks, Subwaysurfer, for your list of sketching materials. I think I'll carry a few Prismacolor art stix tomorrow with me when I join a Sketchcrawl group for the first time. I didn't want to pack a complete art store on my back -- so thank you, thank you, thank you!


Posted: Tue May 24, 2005 10:13 pm
by emma
Lee, I buy the big bag of Staples-brand mechanical pencils every time I run out, and they work just fine for me. One time I bought a bag, though, and they turned out to be HB pencils, which kind of sucked. I haven't used any of the more expensive ones.

Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 12:13 pm
by weno
i'm used sketching with any material at hand, but the most i use is a mechanical pencil (rotring, tikky model) with 0.5 HB mines.

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:42 am
by bubi
I like to use blue col-erase pencil, it's soft and smooth to draw on any paper, it's my favourite so far :D

Re: Pencils

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:48 am
by Anne T
J F Schneider wrote:Let's talk about pencils. It's time for trip to the art supply store. What should I try? What's your favorite lead hardness/softness? Mechanical or good old wood? :roll:
I like Faber Cost 2 mm F lead and a lead holder. I've been using them for about 10 years. But I think I'd like to go back to the wood pencil for sketch crawls and roughs. Derwent Graphic makes a pretty nice F lead
I like F because it erases well and does not smudge.

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:40 pm
by ethangeorgi
Because I usually work in a small sketchbook, I like an HB. It allows for a lot of tone and line variation without being messy. I will say that for sketching, especially in tight places, I do not recommend woodless pencils. I have some Koh-I-Noor pencils that are great for figure drawing on large paper, but awful in a sketchbook.

Cheap Pencils

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:01 am
by padilla
Cheap "yellow pencils" are not worth it for serious work. Here's what I have found out the hard way:
  • .Substandard graphite leads to unpredictable tonal range.
    .Low grade gritty graphite sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard.
    .They ‘spit’ graphite particles onto your drawing and those can scratch the paper surface.
    .An uncentered core will consistently woble and sharpen crooked.

more pencil info: [url ... Pencil.htm[/url]

Cynthia Padilla, art workshops blog: