The Drawing Pencil Guide

I’ve recently bought some Tombow Mono Pencils. They range from 4H to 6B but what do those numbers and letters mean?

Tombow Professional Drawing Pencils
Tombow Professional Drawing Pencils

Let’s find out in this quick Drawing Pencil Guide:-

The grading scale number first gives a clue of how hard the graphite in the pencil will be. The higher the number, the harder the graphite, and the lighter the mark will be on the paper. The higher the number, the darker the mark will be on the paper and the graphite in the pencil will be softer.

The second grading scale on the pencil is the letter. The letter H indicates a hard pencil whilst the letter B indicates the blackness of the pencil and a softer graphite pencil.

The letter F is the middle point pencil sitting between HB and H and has a very fine point. This pencil has a limited amount of graphite and more clay in the mixture.

A 4B pencil would be softer than a 2B and a 3H harder than an H.

Drawing Pencil Grades
Drawing Pencil Grades

Hard4H to 3H

Medium Hard2H to H – This pencil makes light marks. It is good for drawing details and preliminary drawings that are not permanent
MediumF to HB
Medium SoftB to 2B  – good for outlines

Very Soft5B to 6B – these pencils make dark softer marks.
Soft3B to 4B


The B pencil is good for medium to light shading and the 2B for medium to dark shading. You can get more variety of shading from using the B pencils depending on the pressure used.

The H pencil is the harder grade and is good for fine, light and some shading.

I’m looking forward to testing them out.


I hope you found this drawing pencil guide useful. Other art related articles you may be interested in:-
Sketching in the Wolfsonian
The Best Stylus
Drawings and Doodles on Tumblr

 

The Leopard

The Leopard
The Leopard

 

Drawn using Artrage, the iPad and the JaJa Stylus

Did you know?
Leopards are nocturnal.
Male leopards are up to 50 per cent larger than females.
They don’t roar as loud as lions, but leopards can also purr.
King John kept leopards in the Tower of London in the 13th Century.
Leopards can take prey as large as antelopes, but will also eat dung beetles and other insects.
They are famously good at climbing up trees, and down – they often descend head first.
A male leopard can drag a carcass three times its own weight – including small giraffes – six metres up at tree.

The Key

 

An intricate drawing of a special key
An intricate drawing of a special key

The Key – a drawing in response to this weeks Sketching Fire Sketchbook Challenge – Key

I used the application Artrage on my iPad to draw the key with my Ja Ja stylus. You can find out more about which stylus I use here.


If you liked this drawing you may like to check out Drawings and Doodles on Tumblr

 

 

Sketching in the Wolfsonian

Each month The Wolfsonian Museum open their doors to budding artists wishing to practice their drawing skills.

My husband and I attended our first session at the end of February. I haven’t used a pencil and paper in a while but they provided the tools and we were ready to pick a subject to draw. I didn’t want to draw just anything so I wandered around for a while looking for something that looked interesting.

My first sketch attempt going back to using pencil and paper.
My first sketch attempt going back to using pencil and paper.

The drawing is from a painting depicting the Battle of La Marne Verdun in the current exhibition ‘Myth and Machine: The First World War in Visual Culture’. The painting was large but I focused on one small section which had amazing light flooding the scene.

It was a completely different experience. I’ve been so used to drawing on tablet devices that it felt strange to use a real pencil. Not only that, as the museum was open to the public I felt a little self conscious drawing as people wandered around. Occasionally they would look over my shoulder and I wanted to say, “I’m not a real artist. Focus on that painting on the wall by someone who knew what they were doing”. I decided not to be distracted by what I thought people were thinking and just concentrated on what I was doing.

It’s an unfinished drawing but it was a good test piece. The proportions are not quite right – his hand is too big, his jacket is too short, but for a first attempt (and my first foray into public drawing) I was happy that it actually looked like a person if not a completely true representation of the original. I’m looking forward to exploring using pencil and paper again and hopefully improving my technique.

A painting depecting the Battle of La Marne
The original – a painting depicting the Battle of La Marne

The session inspired us so much that we ended up visiting our local art shop for supplies. I’m looking forward to seeing improvements in my drawings and Sketching in the Wolfsonian again at the end of March.

Windpower Drawing Sketchbook
Strathmore Windpower Drawing Sketchbook

The sketchbook I selected was a Strathmore Wind power Drawing Pad. This line of artist papers has been made with 100% wind power – a pollution free renewable energy resource. Strathmore is the first (and only) manufacturer in the United States to make paper entirely from wind generated electricity. This heavyweight drawing paper is perfect for finished works of art. The bright white paper is ideal for working with pencil pen charcoal or pastel.

Generals Sketching Pencil 4B
Generals Sketching Pencil 4B

We selected a few charcoal pencils, some interesting erasers and a flat 4B Sketching pencil.

The erasers were very interesting. They each have a specific use depending on what type of pencil you are using and the effect you are trying to achieve. My favorite so far is the Kneaded Eraser.

Artgum by Prismcolor
Artgum by Prismacolor

Artgum block shaped, dual purpose eraser and dry cleaner. Containing fine dry powder it cleans the drawing surface by absorbing the graphite and dirt.

Kneaded rubber
Kneaded rubber

Kneaded Eraser – this one is excellent for highlighting and cleaning chalks, charcoal, pastels and colored pencils.

Plastic Eraser – easily removes pencil marks from a range of surfaces.

What Hides Within

Welcome…you managed to find me in the vast w.w.w universe, so now you’re here you may be wondering whether you should invest your valuable time and little grey cells exploring further. I hope this mini tour helps you discover a sample of some of the topics that hide within…


Cycling – As I’ve had some kind of bicycle most of my life, my posts on this subject will be a mix of my adventures and the places I visit as well as how my bicycle has become a big part of my everyday life. The useful products that I’ve discovered to help make cycling fun and some pictures of my journey. Check out my latest post My Purple Electra Townie Bicycle

Drawing – I never thought I could draw (I still think that…I mean I’m no Michelangelo) but then I started drawing with various apps on my iPad and the more I practiced the more confident I became that maybe I did have some hidden talent. My husband says he can see a certain style in my drawings and I just think everything looks like a cartoon (well apart from the ones that are trying to be a cartoon) but I will share my doodles here from time-to-time and maybe I will inspire you to unlock your inner Michelangelo.

You can find more of my drawings here

I’m venturing back into the wonderful world of using a pencil and paper which comes with it’s own quirks so look out for my articles on that subject soon.

Read moreWhat Hides Within