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Does the type of pencil really matter for drawings?

When you are getting into sketching and drawing, the right pencil is one of the most essential attributes. If you notice the side of a pencil, you will see a letter and a number that may seem pointless at first. However, these markings indicate the hardness of the graphite. For example, the letter B indicates that the pencils are softer; Likewise, the letter H indicates that the pencil's grade is harder. The pencil that is sitting between these two categories is HB: This is the pencil that we usually use daily— like taking notes and scribbling.

It is important to know that there is a big difference between 4H and 4B. When starting a drawing or sketch, it is recommended to use a pencil in the H scale as it is better for outlining and setting a foundation.

As you progress through the painting, we should utilize pencils with a darker B grade.

When you are only starting to get into drawing, it is wise to use mechanical pencils alongside HB pencils. Though you may be limited at first, the mechanical pencils are usually better for precision and the HB pencils are great for covering large spaces in a sketch. Mechanical and HB pencils also allow you to work with the mid-range when it comes to hardness and smoothness.

Tips to Avoid Smudging

When you are shading, there is a good chance that you may have hand smudges and graphite on your hand. This is completely normal and part of the creative process. However, as we move on to a smoother pencil— aka a higher grade of B pencils— it is smart to utilize an extra piece of paper. This will minimize the number of hand smudges and unclear pencil lines. Also, as a general tip, If you're right-handed, start shading from left to right; if you're left-handed, start at the right and progress to the left. This should limit the potential smudges by default.

Avoiding smudges is important for sketching because ignoring it can be very frustrating. When you are trying to make a clean-looking drawing, smudges can cause the drawing to lose its brilliance and value. On the other hand, we can take advantage of smudging for certain use cases., which is blending. We can intentionally smudge using a piece of paper or simply your hand.

Finally, when you are trying to avoid the initial scribbles and unintentional lines, smudging can be very handy. Although there are numerous ways for blending, the most simple technique involves the use of spare paper. Using the paper, we can spread the soft graphite/charcoal pencil throughout a contained area; With several strokes, the line should be fully blended. If you don't want to use spare paper, we can use a blending stick to pick up the soft dust from the graphite/charcoal. This will avoid scribble markings and create more definitions.


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