How the graphite pencil has to be: hardiness, quality , brands

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The graphite pencil

Your pencil is the most elementary object to draw, besides blank paper. It is it the one that stains the paper and pigments it , being able to create a trace after it, which is well-known as line.

How are the pencils formed?

Outline section of a pencil

The pencil is formed by a mixture of powdered natural graphite and clay baked in some specific temperatures.
According to the hardness of the refill a bigger or smaller proportion of graphite-clay is used . Bigger clay offers bigger hardiness.

Varieties of pencils

Types of pencils

At the moment you can obtain 3 different varieties: the traditional one (graphite refill encapsulated inside a wooden wrapper of cedar), the propelling pencil (pens with very fine refills of graphite) or the bar pencil (Similar to the propelling pencils but with thicker and more resistant graphite bars. Approx.. 5 mm in diameter).


As it has also previously been said, the clay proportion will determine the hardness of the refill. The pencil can be classified in two groups according to their hardness:

Hard pencils: With dry, tenacious , grayish and something narrower refill.
Soft pencils: with oily, fragile, dark and thicker refill.

Inside these two classifications a wide gradient of options exists which can satisfy all the demands , ranging from the superhard pencil to the supersoft one . To be able to differentiate them, besides testing them on the paper, and experiencing in our own skin the diverse tones that they generate, we must observe the numeration or the letters printed on the wooden cane.

Hard pencils offer the letter H (hard, hard in English) or high numbers: 3,4,5,6...
Soft pencils, on the contrary, are identified by the letter B (bold, marked in English) or low numbers 0,1...

Although, continuing with the previous outline, we can also find those that mix numbers and letters to differentiate the diverse hardness:

Hard pencils are defined by the letter H continued by a number (when higher, harder): 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H...
Soft pencils are defined by the letter B continued by a number (when higher, softer):2B, 3B, 4B, 5B...

Equivalencies: numbers and letters


Election of the pencil

The pencils can have the exterior (chassis or cane) made with wood or plastic, being generally the first ones of smaller quality and addressed to a younger public.
Besides the wrapping material, we can also select their external form: rounded or hexagonal.
The rounded ones, besides being more difficult to sharpen (They slid among the fingers when we apply pressure) they are very unstable on the drawing table. Many tables are slightly sloped what makes our pencil rotate towards the floor. This way the pencil tip can break or the refill can be spoilt in a thousand pieces. (Once the refill fragments it is almost impossible to continue drawing with that pencil, since , when doing some line on the paper, the refill will move or will simply fall .). The hexagonal mine will solve this great problem.
The election of the hardness depends on the use we will give to our pencil: For great precision drawing , just as the lineal drawing, hard refills conserve the fine line and they don't stain the paper. They can produce very clean results . If our objective is to carry out rather artistic works, soft refills will provide bigger expressivity and flexibility to the artist.

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