Exercises With Hard Pencils

In this section, we are going to introduce you to a series of projects and exercises that will give you a practical introduction to using the range of hard pencils. As we have previously said, the hard pencil makes a fine precise line. What we shall show you is how that line can be employed to demonstrate your ideas, expressions and observations.

First, we must complete a series of exercises to see and experience what we can achieve with the material. In many ways these exercises are like the warm up routines that sportsmen and women go through before they take part in an actual event - by loosening us up they enable us to focus on the work in hand.

The next stage involves experimenting with the concept of shape, space and composition over the picture plane. This will further our understanding of how to build a composition: the type of elements a composition can contain (for example, harmony, balance, rhythm and movement), how these elements alter the eye's ability to travel over and into the surface of the picture, and how we read the picture in a more representative way. Finally, we explain the nature of diagrammatic and perspective drawings both from theoretical and observational approaches. We will show you how to develop these methods for use in your particular approach to drawing and to expand upon them whenever you feel it is appropriate.

Medium: 6H, 5H and 4H

As you will see, the types of marks or lines produced with these pencils are quite

similar and lie within a close range. The fineness and hardness of the line suits precision drawing, such as architect's plans for example. I personally would not use them to build up tone, because the contrast you can produce with them is limited. However, this is a personal opinion. There are no hard and fast rules in art, and if it suits your purposes to work tonally with pencils in this range, then by all means do so.

When you start experimenting you will notice that the marks are more intense tonally than was achievable with the previous set of pencils. You can still make very precise lines, but at the same time clearly develop the weight of the mark, and bring more expression and life to what you are doing. These are ideal implements for putting down your first thoughts and making subconscious 'doodles'.

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