High quality 4B pencils are my favourite, they are soft and glide across the paper, almost drawing by themselves. In pencil-jargon H is hardness, and B is blackness. Except for a trail of dents, 9H pencils don't leave much evidence behind. 9B pencils are so smudgy, they cause more sneezing than ragweed. It was an HB, the regulation, standard-issue, chrome-yellow (to match the school bus) pencil you probably used in elementary school. I've cut through paper with the sharp bits in graphite of junky pencils, so avoid using them. I wield Faber-Castell and Derwent pencils, but there are many excellent brands available. A pencil holder is a clever contraption which attaches to the end of a whittled-down drawing pencil, allowing the artist to draw them down to stubs. I also use an erasing shield (they used to be more associated with drafting supplies), a kneaded eraser, and a Sanford "magic rub" eraser (it vanishes instead of the paper).
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Grampa always wore a formal, reserved smile when photographed. I studied how he smiled, and relying on memory and a few stiff snapshots, drew this portrait. He was my Grampa-by-association, and he told stories with panache.