Pencils

A pencil is a writing implement or art medium constructed of a narrow, solid pigment core inside a protective casing which prevents the core from being broken or leaving marks on the user’s hand during use.

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Detailed Description for Pencils

 

A pencil is a writing implement or art medium constructed of a narrow, solid pigment core inside a protective casing which prevents the core from being broken or leaving marks on the user’s hand during use.

Pencils create marks by physical abrasion, leaving behind a trail of solid core material that adheres to a sheet of paper or other surface. They are distinct from pens, which instead disperse a trail of liquid or gel ink that stains the light colour of the paper.

Most pencil cores are made of graphite mixed with a clay binder which leaves grey or black marks that can be easily erased. Graphite pencils are used for both writing and drawing and result in durable markings: though writing is easily removable with an eraser, it is otherwise resistant to moisture, most chemicals, ultraviolet radiation, and natural aging. Other types of pencil core are less widely used, such as charcoal pencils, which are mainly used by artists for drawing and sketching. Coloured pencils are sometimes used by teachers or editors to correct submitted texts, but are typically regarded as art supplies, especially those with waxy core binders that tend to smear on paper instead of erasing. Grease pencils have a softer, crayon-like waxy core that can leave marks on smooth surfaces such as glass or porcelain.

The most common type of pencil casing is of thin wood, usually hexagonal in section but sometimes cylindrical, permanently bonded to the core. Similar permanent casings may be constructed of other materials such as plastic or paper. To use the pencil, the casing must be carved or peeled off to expose the working end of the core as a sharp point. Mechanical pencils have more elaborate casings which support mobile pieces of pigment core that can be extended or retracted through the casing tip as needed.

 

Softer leads can be used for "inking" drawings, or darkening the final lines to a more finished state. B pencils are functionally the exact opposite of H pencils in that they go down on paper very dark, and are typically much harder to erase. The softest leads (anything past 6B), can achieve a darkness comparable to drawing with charcoal.

Again, the rules for which pencil to use when can vary quite a bit, and your choice will be especially dependent on what type of drawing you're doing. If you're doing a gesture drawing, softer darker pencils (4B, 6B, 8B) are often the way to go as they glide across the paper quite easily and are far less likely to tear the paper if you're moving your hand quickly. If you're doing a still-life drawing and are going for extreme realism, you'll probably use pencils from across the entire spectrum in order to accomplish all the different levels of shading that sort of drawing requires. If you're just sketching or doodling, you can choose whichever you're most comfortable working with. Some artists will make deliberate choices to use darker or lighter leads depending on how dark the subject is. For example, when drawing a crow, I would probably choose to use something a little darker. When drawing a yellow bell pepper, I would maybe use something a little lighter.

A word of warning when choosing harder leads: you should never have to press hard onto the paper to achieve the darkness you want. If you have to press hard, you should be using something softer. The reason for this is that pressing hard (especially with a hard lead) results in grooves being formed in the paper, which will create noticeable white marks in your drawing when you try to work over them. These marks are also virtually impossible to remove. So if a line is ever not coming out dark enough, do NOT push harder, simply switch to the next softest pencil and try again.

 

 

 

                                                       


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