Paper is not perfectly smooth. If it was very smooth, then you would not be able to draw on it. The roughness of the paper is called tooth. Very rough paper resists fine detail. The grade of pencil that you choose will make a different mark on smooth paper compared to rough paper. This is because the pencil is made of graphite, and the graphite flakes are bound together to form the lead core, where the tooth of the paper is abrasive enough to grab the graphite flakes. Pencil lead is not really lead. It is actually made from a composition of graphite and clay. The tooth on some paper allows deep dark values with little shine, but on some others the graphite shines because the tooth is delicate and when the tooth is flattened, the graphite flakes lie flat and shine. In that case, be very gentle when applying the graphite. It's best to use several layers, possibly with a light blend in between.
(C) Jeremy Lee 2010, all rights reserved.
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spOOk's art is owned by Jeremy. He has practiced drawing and painting for about 40 years, and might get good at it one day. spOOk's art is focused on graphite portraits.