The soft pencil has more versatility for creating tone and textures than the hard pencil. Soft pencils are denoted by the letter B. The HB pencil is a mixture of hard and soft and is the pivotal pencil between the two extremes. The range of soft pencils available consists of HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B and 9B (the softest).
These pencils are designed for the fine artist to express particular ideas, for example through the building of tone, the creation of texture, cross-hatching or even just simple line. Pencils at the softest end of the range can be used to produce blocks of tone. A graphite stick is generally more useful for this type of work and for producing larger areas of tone For a small drawing - up to A3 size - a soft pencil is more appropriate.
The only soft pencil suitable for refined work requiring great precision - essentially the preserve of the hard pencil - is the fine clutch pencil.
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