Drawing is not just making marks on a surface with dry mediums, it also includes wet media, and all the wonderful surfaces that can receive and hold a mark. Many art stores carry specific brands, and are certainly available online if you can’t find them in your local art store. Selecting the right materials for your needs is the first step in creating a successful project.
While pencil drawing may seem simple, there are several factors to consider when choosing which materials to use. Some pencils are made of charcoal, while others are made of lead, and even among lead pencils, there is great variation in firmness and color. Selecting the right pencil for your needs is the first step in creating a successful project.Standard Graphite Pencils
Pencil is the simplest, most essential drawing medium. Drawing pencils have cores made from powdered graphite (not lead) fired with clay, varying in hardness. Select a small range to begin with: an HB, a 3B, and 6B. will allow you to experiment with all the different weights of pencil, which is useful for realist drawing. Choose a reputable brand, as these will have better quality cores with minimal irregularities in tone, and will break less. Graphite is also available in bar, stick and powdered form.
The most common pencils are standard graphite pencils, which come in a variety of hardnesses. These are usually labeled from 2H to 6B. The higher the number beside H, the harder the lead of the pencil, and the higher the number beside B, the softer the lead. Pencils with firm lead are ideal for stippling, a technique that involves making very small lines, almost like dashes. Stippling is often used in portraiture to sketch the irises of eyes and to create the impression of stubble and fine facial hair. Cross hatching and value changes can be made using different numbered pencils to reflect the darkness or lightness of the object being drawn.
Graphite Stick Pencils
Graphite stick pencils are made up of solid sticks of graphite, usually with a plastic coating to keep your fingers clean. These pencils can produce thicker and bolder lines than standard graphite pencils and are ideal for blocking in shadows and dark tones on a large space of drawing paper. Graphite stick pencils are a must-have for most types of drawing. Because they produce clear, bold lines, they are perfect for hatching, a shading technique that can be either light or heavy. Hatching is done by making small lines bunched together to create a fill color. Cross-hatching is done by applying a second layer of bunched lines perpendicular to the first. It is a great way to add darker shades to your portraits.
Charcoal is a favorite medium for sketching and figure drawing. Charcoal comes in three main types. Willow is light, hard and brittle. It is powdery and easily rubbed off, so mainly used for light construction drawing Vine charcoal, a fine quality natural charcoal, offers a full range of tone yet is easily erased. Compressed charcoal is available in varying hardness. Its dense tone can be difficult to erase and blend. It is available in stick form, particularly useful for large areas, and in pencils, ideal for fine detail. In addition, you can buy powdered charcoal that can be brushed or rubbed onto the paper.