Wednesday, July 23

Drawing with Graphite Pencils, Charcoal Pencils

Need some fun in your life? Can we agree on that? Since you're viewing this, you are on the right track. Fun, as in I can't wait to get to it. How many of us retirees felt that way about our old day jobs? Show of hands, please--hmm, not that many. Too bad. The remedy is to re-start your art, and you can really have some fun.

Please share the fun by sending a link (forward our URL- ) to your friends/family who may be interested.

Let the Fun Begin

Last blog I gave you some of what I think are pretty good reasons to start drawing or painting. This was to help you get the old juices flowing again if nothing else. There are plenty of other reasons to start, so feel free to add your own. I started with reasons to begin drawing and painting because we have to start somewhere, right? Maybe someday we can explore other worthy artforms, but since I personally don't know that much about sculpting , for example, we'll just stick to drawing and painting for now.

Here, along with my running commentary, are some of the materials/media commonly used for drawing. This is intended to help you figure out your starting point--what you want to try first and in which medium.

I'm looking in my drawer of drawing materials, which I started stocking last summer. Some were gifts from family and friends. No brand names. Let's see:
  • Set of soft lead pencils for drawing - packaged in their own tin, no less. As it turns out, they're not actually lead-as in the element lead-but are a mixture of graphite and carbon. My set includes an HB, 2B 4B, 6B, 7B, and 8B. What does this mean? I thought I knew, but just to be sure I did some Google research. H stands for hard lead (naturally) and B for soft lead (not a clue, may something to do with Pb being the symbol for lead?) Believe it or not, there are whole websites devoted to this and so, so much more on pencils. Still couldn't find what B stands. Here's the way it works: hardness of lead is measured on a scale from 0 to 9, the higher the number the harder (or softer) the lead. HB is in the middle range. It was confusing to me, but maybe this visual will help: 9B 8B 7B 6B 5B 4B 3B 2B 1B HB 1H 2H 3H 4H 5H 6H 7H 8H 9H Here, 9B is the softest and 9H is the hardest. So in my set, the HB is the hardest and 8B is the softest. Got it? F for Firm was also mentioned (don't ask). Several people said you should use this number for sketching, that number for general drawing (whatever that is), and this number for technical drafting. I say, you experiment and decide which is best for your own subject and purpose.
  • Four charcoal pencils - not in tin, although I suppose they could be. I'm guessing they follow the same numbering scheme as the lead ones because mine are labeled 2B medium, 4B soft, and 6B extra soft. I can't tell much if any difference between the medium and the extra soft--probably so you'll buy as many as they sell, caveat emptor! Oh yes, and the one with the oxymoron name of Charcoal White, to be used for drawing highlights, I suppose.

It's time to get back to my "studio," such as it is, so will continue discussion on materials in the next blog.

In the Studio

My acrylic painting is coming along nicely. I sketched the major forms on the canvas first and painted in the sky on the first pass. I'm beginning work on the canyon walls, etc., and will keep you informed.

If you like reading this blog, PLEASE leave a comment. Cheers!

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