Drawing FAQ’s with Graphite Artist Emma Ferguson

Author: Dana McGorlick-Appelman  Date Posted:17 June 2021 


DRAWING FAQ’s with Graphite Artist Emma Ferguson

What are pencil grades?

Pencil grades refers to the strength of graphite that the pencil contains, being how dark/soft and how hard/light, that is signified by the little letters and numbers that you find on the side of a pencil.

Pencils are graded in the following order: 9H, 8H, 7H, 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H, F, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9B, 9xxB.

What’s the difference between soft and hard pencil grades?

Graphite pencils are made from graphite and filler, typically made from clay. Hard pencils contain more filler and are highly compacted for lighter marks, while soft pencils are less compacted, producing darker marks.

The higher the number before the H, the lighter the mark and the harder it will be.

The higher the number before the B, the darker the mark and the softer it will be.

What does H stand for on a pencil?

H on a pencil refers to the pencil grade, and stands for Hard. H pencils contain less graphite and more filler, and are more compacted, to produce lighter lines.

What does B stand for on a pencil?

B on a pencil refers to the Blackness of the pencil. B pencils are much softer than H pencils, and make darker marks.

What does F stand for on a pencil?

F pencils stand for fine point. They are also hard in order to maintain its point.

What is an EE pencil?

EE pencils make black marks with a more matte finish, and contain 50% charcoal and 50% graphite.

What pencil is best for light sketching?

H pencils are fantastic for light sketching as they leave light marks. 4H, 3H and 2H pencils are great for technical drawings and outlines.

What pencil grade is best for shading?

B pencils are perfect for shading, as the softer texture and darker marks. The higher B pencils are also great for blending and smudging.

For dark shading, EE pencils are great, and will leave a very dark mark with a more matte finish.

How do I sharpen my pencils?

The Mont Marte mechanical pencil sharpener is fantastic for getting pencils to a really sharp point.

Mont Marte’s Electric Eraser is great for precision work like erasing highlights or erasing larger areas.

Sandpaper block is a must for sharpening pencils and erasers