Bed sheet practice!
At some time over the past few years, I must have been very tired, as I began following a tumblr blog that is dedicated to pictures of cozy beds. They are nice to look at, and I found one that was completely white with a crumpled up sheet. I immediately thought that it would make excellent practice for a white on white cloth shading exercise. It was nice spending some time on this. It had the calming effect of colouring, but exercising my drawing skills at the same time. I used my 6H (really hard pencil) to render in the shadows, as a light base, then used a much softer pencil, maybe a 2B for the dark parts.
The harder the pencil is, the lighter the line it gives, and less graphite is left on the page. If the pencil is soft, the graphite leaves a lot more behind when drawing, making it darker, and doesn’t stay sharp for long at all. So this means, a 9H would be extremely hard and light, a 9B is very soft and dark. The scale begins at 9H, through to H (like 1H but it doesn’t have a number) then there’s a F, HB then into the B’s from B to 9B. The H stands for Hard, the B stands for blackness, and the F stands for Fine point. HB is usually a standard writing pencil that is used in schools, it is right in the centre of the scale, being dark enough to read, but not too dark that it’s hard to erase. 2B is often a recommended drawing pencil, as it is a bit softer, allowing you to get some nice contrast as you learn different pressures of shading.
I’m unsure if this system is universal, as I’ve heard of the #2 pencil from America, but this is the way I know it.
One of my favourite pencils is the 4B. It’s really dark and it’s hard to keep a point on it, but for days when you don’t know what to draw, you can produce some tattoo looking line art and block in colour easily while just doodling. You certainly don’t need the whole range of pencils, maybe just one you like. You can usually try them out at the shop.
That was sudden. Next impromptu lesson might be about papers…

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