A pencil is the most readily available tool for expressing ideas from mind to
paper. Limited only by imagination, use a pencil to draw the infrastructure
of a drawing or as the finish medium. Some artists specialize in the pencil
and its many variations as a form of expression.
For general drawing, sketching, and layout, use a drawing pencil. Drawing
pencils have a wood casing around a core of graphite or composite. The
composition of the core, called a lead, and the hardness of the lead determine
the grade or rating of a pencil.
Take care not to drop a pencil or rap it against a surface. This will break the
lead internally and drastically shorten the life of the pencil. Keep a drawing
pencil sharpened by using a sandpaper sharpener, a draftsmans pencil
sharpener, or a standard office sharpener.
Pencil leads are available in 17 grades from 6B which is the softest to 6H,
the hardest. Soft leads are 6B to 2B and have a thick-diameter core. Soft
leads are best used in freehand work where smudging is a creative option.
Medium-rated leads are the B to 3H pencils. These are general layout
pencils sometimes used for freehand work. Technical drawing and drawing
that requires a degree of precision are done by hard-leaded pencils in the 4H
to 6H range. Hard-leaded pencils have a small-diameter core and tend to
appear lighter in density than a soft-leaded pencil. Variations do occur
Figure 2-70 shows a chart of lead hardness.
Figure 2-70. Lead hardness.
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