We continue with the word-definitions for graphite drawing. There are a lot of terms. Once this is complete, we will see some techniques and examples.
First, let's look at graphite shine a little more...
Since the graphite flakes are flat and shiny, if you rub a pencil hard on the paper, it will flatten the tooth and lay all the flakes flat on top of each other. Light will reflect off this smooth surface and cause shine. This is undesirable because a shiny surface will not properly represent a shadow. It is wise to lay down the graphite and preserve the tooth so that each individual flake of graphite reflects light in a different direction. Carbon and charcoal pencils are made of rough bits of black carbon grains, and do not reflect light so easily. For this reason, carbon and charcoal are very useful for deep dark areas. Some types of paper cause shine more than others. You will need to experiment to find out what suits your style.
The effects of shine are reduced a little when the work is mounted under glass, and if you use a spray fixative it tends to remove some shine.
Pencils are marked with a grading system. There are two measures: B and H. Each letter could be preceded by a number which indicates a weighting for the letter. B represents the amount of graphite and H represents the amount of clay. Graphite is soft and shiny, while the clay is hard an matte. On a scale from soft to hard, we get:
On any given paper, each of these will give a very dark (8B) to very light (6H) value. For any given pencil grade, it will give a different value depending on the paper used. Some papers takes darks better then others. HB is sort of the middle and is a general purpose pencil that we use in schools. Softer pencil marks, when used lightly are easy to erase while harder pencil marks can damage the tooth of the paper and leave an impression. Therefore, very light pressure in many layers will often produce superior results when compared to heavy-handed marks.
(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.