Keeping pencil lines the same shade & width?

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  1. #1
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    Keeping pencil lines the same shade & width?

    Does anyone know of techniques to help keep pencil line widths and shades all the same? For example when I use soft leads I seem to have a tricky time keeping lines all the same width and shade. I think the trick is to sort of use the pencil to stroke the paper, but not to apply any direct weight the pencil's tip. I collect animation cels and have noticed that the key sketch belonging to every cel I own has flawless pencil lines that are all the same shade along with being perfectly smooth (meaning they don't look smudgey). Considering that animation is a very well established business, I'm sure there must be a way to figure out how these lines are achieved besides visiting an animation studio and seeing how it's done. Now just to clarify, I'm aware that the final lines are produced by tracing a rough sketch using a lightbox, but I'm interested in exactly how final lines like such are produced by hand.

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  3. #2
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    lots of practice! Also rotating your piece in order to have ALWAYS the same "power stroke". Slowly rotating your pencils while you make your lines in order to have the same, constant edge so it leaves the same amount of graphite evenly. Practicing for this is time consuming and can be frustrating but it's possible ! And after a few weeks of cramps, you'll be able to break nuts with your bare drawing hand

    Sorry for the engrish ! :o

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    To clarify, you mean slowly rotate your pencil after each stroke before making the next? Or do you mean it's possible to rotate your pencil as you draw a line?

    Last edited by nikita5; January 13th, 2004 at 04:00 PM.
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    That's correct; rotate as you draw. Remeber, as you make a graphite line, the graphite shaft of the pencil is being worn flat, creating a different surface. Rotate as you draw to keep a more consistant line. Any variation will be stretched out as you draw, keeping the visual result even.

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    It's been a while since I first asked this question so I figured I'de checkback one last time. Is the trick rotating the pencil as you draw the line mid-stroke or rotating the pencil slowly each time before you draw the next line?

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    For me, the fact that the pencil changes angle as the stroke moves across the page does it for me. Don't make it into an artificial movement.

    Infact, forget the rotating bit if it isn't happening. Try working with a harder pencil, such as a 2h. That way, small variations in pressure won't influence the line to any noticable degree.

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    One more possibility to consider:

    Harder pencils do mimimize line fluctuation. You might try the additional trick of sanding a flat edge on the tip or your pencil, at a 45 degree angle. To put it another way--if your pencil tip starts as a black cone shape with a sharp point on the end, convert in into a tin can shape with a tilted lid. In working this way, a greater surface area of the graphite is touching the page, making a more consistent release of the material. Have to confess tho,,,,I'm not an animation illustrator. Good luck buddy!!

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