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What do we mean by a good art pencil set?

Updated on July 17, 2011

Choosing Your Basic Drawing Instrument- the Pencil, Can Be Daunting If You Have No Idea What to Look For

Choosing your basic drawing instrument- the pencil, can be daunting if you have no idea what to look for. These few tips will help you choose a good set of pencils without carrying a cheap box of disappointment back home.

What brand?
It is essential to get a reputed brand of pencils for the best results. One way of knowing the best brand to get in your area is simply to have a brief chat with your local stationer. Ask for the best brand to get and the next in line. This is because prices vary greatly but quality is more or less the same in the top range. Do not settle for brand "knock offs" or else you will be stuck with pencils you cannot sharpen, break easily, or give a very shoddy drawing result. Be prepared to pay that little bit extra for the recommended brand. The difference will be noticeable.

How many Pencils should I buy?

I would recommend getting a good full set which you can the refill as you go along. Not only will this come in a lovely storage case (With the good brands) but will also give you the range you need to get drawing- we shall look at the range later in this article. Usually a set comes in 6 or 12 pencils. This may vary from brand to brand.

What do the numbers on the side of the pencil mean?

Pencils are market on a "European degree scale. The range goes from degree scale where H
Is hardest and B is blackest. Pencils can be marked as,
9H, 8H, 7H, 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H F, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9B"*
The "H" range is the hard range. This range will give you a range of light marks. The "B" range will give you the soft dark mark. The "B9" being the softest, will give you a mark that is more like oily charcoal, a line more like an eyeliner pencil. Play around with the pencils to see what mark each one makes. I think we have all been through a period when we made holes in the drawing paper by pressing so hard, trying to get that dark tone.

Once you have your full set of pencils, it is a good idea to keep them all in one place, preferably, the box they came in. Re-stock your pencils as they become too short to use, by so doing you ensure that you always have a good range of pencils to work with.

Drawings come to life with the capturing of how the light acts on a surface. It is therefore essential to have the right tone and quality of mark that best describes what you want to capture. Marks also have a lot of information, see the article on how to experiment with line in art.


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