Pencils are the simplest and most immediate of drawing media, enabling you to create a versatile range of strong or sensitive marks. What we call a "lead pencil" today is actually made up of graphite: a mixture of clay and the mineral graphite in the form of a rod that is usually encased in cedarwood. An array of grades exists from very hard to extremely soft, although artists seldom use the hardest varieties because they allow for so little expression when drawing. Coloured pencils are
Silverpoint, an original version of the pencil popular in Renaissance times, is a beautiful medium as this 15th century study by Fouquet shows. The basic principle of silverpoint is to leave a metal deposit by dragging a piece of pure silver across some paper previously prepared with Chinese White watercolour paint.
a relatively recent innovation and their waxy nature means that they retain their distinct colours when drawn over each other.
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