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Pencil Drawing Techniques

Pencil Drawing Techniques

London-based visual artist/art tutor Nelson Ferreira explains why choosing the right pencil is the first step to improving your drawing skills. Learn all about the essentials of drawing in under 3 minutes!

In order to draw well, you need to understand the principles behind your choice of pencil. Let's start by using a very soft pencil, an 8B pencil. It's one of the softest.

Let's do a basic gray. As you can see, as it shades, the gray's going to be very rough and displays a lot of texture because the pencil is very soft. The tops of the texture on the paper will pick little bits of graphite - this is a graphite pencil, the blacklight pencil 8B - so B pencils are very bland, very soft and very grainy.

If you make a line with them, they tend to be very black, very bold, or broad. Now, let's start with a medium pencil, after the soft one, let's try a medium one. This is an F pencil.

F is relatively similar to HB. If you come across an HB on your range, it's similar to an F. So, again, we do the same sort of gray, but if you compare, it's going to be somehow smoother.

You won't see the texture as much. And if you make a line, it tends to be finer, and somehow a little bit fainter than that one. Finally, let's use a very hard pencil.

This is a 6H. H pencils are very hard. They're also good for highlights.

So, if we try to mimic the same gray, you don't really see much of a difference. Maybe on camera, it's not going to be possible to see this difference. In reality though, you could see the lines that this pencil creates.

They somehow mask the texture of the paper, so it tends to look a little bit smoother. And if you make a line with this pencil, it tends to be lighter and finer than any of the other two pencils we've used before. As such, you can always use a very soft pencil to draw things that are coarse in their texture, for example, rocks or sand.

And you can use a very hard pencil to try to shape things that should be smooth, like for example, glass or a baby's skin. .