Graphite pencils- How do I use them??

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    Graphite pencils- How do I use them??

    I've been using mechanical pencil for the longest to do all my drawings, but I just cant seem to shade well with them.

    I also have a set of graphite pencils that I NEVER use, because I don't even know the difference between them, I just know they are used for shading.

    Whats the difference between HB, 6B, 4B and what do I use each one for?

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    H leads are hard, B leads are soft, the higher the number the greater the degree of hardness or softness. An HB pencil is in between, a balanced, general purpose pencil (the same as a standard number 2).
    Soft leads make darker marks, but don't hold their points because they wear down quickly. Hard leads make clean, even marks, but are lighter and can indent the paper if used with a heavy hand.

    Last edited by Elwell; September 17th, 2008 at 08:22 AM.

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    i suggest sticking to one pencil per drawing though, especially when it comes down to shading and lineweights

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    You know, when I was a beginner I didn't have any fancy internet. I had to put the pencils to paper, pointy end down, to find my answers

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    You know, when I was a beginner I didn't have any fancy internet. I had to put the pencils to paper, pointy end down, to find my answers
    congrats?

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    You know, when I was a beginner I didn't have any fancy internet. I had to put the pencils to paper, pointy end down, to find my answers
    O_o?...

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  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiera View Post
    I laughed and I agree .
    Why even ask wen you just can try?
    sorry, i thought this was a place where you can ask for advice

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reckless! View Post
    sorry, i thought this was a place where you can ask for advice
    Of course it is, but no amount of advice will replace good ol hands-on experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reckless! View Post
    sorry, i thought this was a place where you can ask for advice
    It is. But if you ask advice about something you could've found out yourself in a shorter amount of time, expect to be told so. Also if it's something you could've found just as fast by using the search function, expect snarky remarks.

    Like said the B pencils are the softer leads with a higher number meaning increased softness, H is for hard and higher numbers are yet harder, HB is right in the middle and about equivalent to a No.2 pencil in the US. Can't really tell you what to use them for except to say that soft gives really heavy dark lines while the harder pencils give lighter yet more precise lines, so use them according to the kind of line you need.

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    my bad

    ill go somewhere else then

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    Do whatever you want. I think everyone in here answered your question. If you have trouble with "shading," it doesn't neccecarily mean you are using the wrong types of pencils.

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  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreasM View Post
    If you have trouble with "shading," it doesn't neccecarily mean you are using the wrong types of pencils.
    This^


    Tristan Elwell
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    Mechanical pencils are actually my first choice... you can shade just fine with them, it requires a bit of patience and practice. I'm going to refrain from saying "it's not the medium, it's the practice" because in this case you have not worked with the graphite pencils... and you really should, so that you can compare FOR YOURSELF how they're different.

    You may find that you like graphite pencils better, or you may not. The important thing is that you TRY it. Just don't make the mistake of thinking that a problem area (like shading) will be fixed by using a different tool.

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    Wow...

    Okay... you guys are snide arrogant bastards. The guy just wanted a little advice, or do you charge for that?

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    I have to agree

    Yes WOW! What. Elitist bastards you all are. I guess free advice won't sell your instructional DVDs. Is this how you get back at all the jocks who knocked the sketch book out of your hands?

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    add another alias to the list, elwell

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    No one is being snide or arrogant bastards.

    I was saying, in what was meant to be a humorous way, that it seems silly to ask a simple question like that when you can play with the pencils. They're pencils, not guns. It's not like you'll kill anyone if you experiment a little.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WillySanz View Post
    Yes WOW! What. Elitist bastards you all are. I guess free advice won't sell your instructional DVDs. Is this how you get back at all the jocks who knocked the sketch book out of your hands?
    You're not fooling anyone. Your IP address(es) need to be blocked. You fail, GTFO of CA and draw for once, you pompous little asshole.

    Reckless, I hope you didn't leave completely, so in case you see this, here it goes.

    There was nothing wrong with the question you asked. Sometimes, even the Internet has the answer, its always best to still get advice from people that use the mediums. That being said, try a shading scale with each of your pencils to get a feel for how they work.

    Edit: Here are examples of shading exercises you can do, just in case:

    About.com Pencil Exercise Sketching Blog
    How to Shade a Sphere

    As I said, use each of the pencils for this exercise so you get a physical understanding of how they work.

    Also, try a shading scale with your mechanical pencil. Try crosshatching. It'll help you a bit more

    Last edited by MM Howard; September 17th, 2008 at 04:50 PM.
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  21. #19
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    Thanks for those that tried to help me. I was only asking because shading is not one of my strong points and I wanted to know if graphite pencils might make it a bit easier than trying to use a mechanical pencil for every shade.

    I find that mechanical pencils are a little too hard, or they come to too much of a point to do every level of shading, and they often leave actual lines rather than areas of color. I thought that actual pencils might be easier because they wear down and their points are softer which might make it easier to blend an area of dark color to an area of light color and vice versa.

    No one is being snide or arrogant bastards.

    I was saying, in what was meant to be a humorous way, that it seems silly to ask a simple question like that when you can play with the pencils. They're pencils, not guns. It's not like you'll kill anyone if you experiment a little.
    As for you, I HAVE tried using graphite pencils, but not as much as I maybe should have. In addition to trying them out for myself, whats the harm in coming to an art-oriented website to ask for further advice?

    And yes, your comment was snide and it was arrogant. I asked for advice and you came and said "Hey, I'm better than you, go figure it out for yourself". Don't try to sugarcoat it by saying that it was meant to be "humorous". You're only defending yourself now because other people pointed out that you were being a dickhead.

    As for everyone else who hopped on his elitist bandwagon, stay out of the advice section if you're not going to do any good.

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  22. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reckless! View Post
    You're only defending yourself now because other people pointed out that you were being a dickhead.

    As for everyone else who hopped on his elitist bandwagon, stay out of the advice section if you're not going to do any good.
    Well, "those guys" were actually just trolling the forums, i see no reason why he would need to defend himself against "them." If I came off as arrogant and all that, it's because you only responded to those who answered with more wit than those who actually answered your question in the first place.

    J. Wilson's comment is what you could expect from any decent art teacher. If you need help with shading, ask, and I'm sure you'll get some good advise to get you going. Right now, however, I'm more convinced that you want attention more than you want any help.

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  23. #21
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    No problem in coming here for advice, problem is that in application you'll learn far more than we can ever tell you - which is where the "snide" comments that truly aren't so snide come in. He was blunt, but it was a valid point.

    None the less your pencil range from H's to B's will help you to some extent, but if you can't shade well you need to look at technique first, really focus on your pressure level - for me it was doing value studies (boring! I know, but they help) that built up my fluidity a bit. Personally I prefer mechanical pencils now - it used to matter to me, but I eventually learned that the tools didn't matter a whole lot, just pressure.


    My personal range is 2H, HB, and 2B. HB for good lineart, a hard pencil for lighter tones that the HB can't quite hit and the softer 2B for shadows that the HB can't quite hit. Any further on the scale and I find that they don't entirely layer together too well.

    Hopefully something in that will help.

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  24. #22
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    I don't see what's the problem.

    "Try it out" is really the best possible advice. I do that with every new drawing tool I buy

    Last edited by Farvus; September 17th, 2008 at 07:10 PM.
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  25. #23
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    If you thought these guys were blunt, be glad you're not being critiqued by Alex Toth.

    Just kidding. Best of luck with your experimentation with Graphite pencils.

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  26. #24
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    There are various resources that have good tips on using pencils. You can probably find this book at the library: http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Realis...1708319&sr=1-1

    Classify the types of marks each pencil makes:
    light - dark
    thin - wide
    smooth - rough
    warm - cool

    Takes time to memorize the effects.

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    Keeping a sharp point on your pencil is always key number one.

    As far as absolute control with the pencil, just realize you will need to keep a kneaded eraser, that is pointed, handy to pick out irregularities in your marks and shadows (Which will happen, the grain and texture of the paper won't allow perfect smooth shadows and transitions on their own). Also, I tend to favor lead holders (The plastic mechanical pencil like casings that accept a long lead from a pack of 10 or 12) that I can extend the lead out to however long I want and will allow me to swap softnesses.

    I find a soft touch is critical in drawing shadow areas and smooth transitions. Too much pressure will kill the tooth on the paper and create dark marks everywhere that are unsightly and hard to get rid of.

    As far as the actual look and process of shadows and transitions, a lot of it is simply cross hatching your pencil marks until it becomes a smooth transition or shadow. Using a blunt tipped pencil on the paper may lead to issues of the tooth of the paper smoothing out, which will lead to problems when trying to erase or even add more lead to an area that's been smoothed.

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    seems to me
    that elwell plainly ad consisely answered the question in the first response. adn everything sinces then witht the exception of few pieces of legitamate elaboration, has been pretty much , banter.

    i would recommend that you try, the pencils, see what you can do with em. I f you like you could post the result. and we could maybe help wit your specific difficulties
    It might also help to post examples of the kind of shading that you are trying to achieve. so that we could perhaps assist you in finding the technique you are looking for.
    Personally I can't help much as I m too impatient to even attept to achieve the extra smooth result you seem to be craving

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  30. #27
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    Just to throw a monkey wrench into the works, mechanical pencil lead is available in a variety of harnesses. You can achieve a range of values just as easily with mechanical pencils as you can with the wooden ones. Sometimes combining both styles of pencil can be fun. Use the wooden ones for broad stokes and for shading large areas, then go back with the mechanical ones for details and fine lines.

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  31. #28
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    You were remarking about little lines in your shadows. Another approach, especially with the softer pencils, is to use a blending stump (tortillon) to smooth out the shaded areas. This is going to be hell on the surface if you are using a textured paper so it won't be consistent with trying to exploit paper texture for special effects. Still, there are a lot of different ways to swim across this pool. Dive in.

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  32. #29
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    Ok well I started with a drawing of a roman bust

    ill post it when its done

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reckless! View Post
    As for you, I HAVE tried using graphite pencils, but not as much as I maybe should have. In addition to trying them out for myself, whats the harm in coming to an art-oriented website to ask for further advice?

    And yes, your comment was snide and it was arrogant. I asked for advice and you came and said "Hey, I'm better than you, go figure it out for yourself". Don't try to sugarcoat it by saying that it was meant to be "humorous". You're only defending yourself now because other people pointed out that you were being a dickhead.

    As for everyone else who hopped on his elitist bandwagon, stay out of the advice section if you're not going to do any good.
    Don't read too much into my post. It's been MY experience that the best teachers I ever had were the blunt ones. Most professional artists I've ever known have been blunt when it came to advice, and we tend to also have thick skins built up from critiques and everyone and their mother having something to say about your work. I tend to forget that new comers haven't built up those art calluses. You can't get bent out of shape everytime someone says something a little snarky to ya, especially when it IS good advice.

    I'll make a peace offering though and offer you some real advice. Keep the pencils sharp, even when you want to make soft tones. What you really need to practice is control. A soft worn down point might help you at first, but you give up control and accuracey. Patience, practice and learning proper technique helps FAR more than the tool. A good artist can draw with a burnt piece of wood (and pretty much anything else that will leave a mark).

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