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~TERMS USED IN THIS REVIEW~ CROSS-HATCHING: Basically means to create a mesh using horizontal lines (cross) and parallel lines (hatching) to produce varied depths to ones drawing. Using various shade pencils and sketching multiple layers and varying the spacing of the lines in these directions will create textures and depth. VALUE/TONE: Generally meaning variations in lightness and darkness. The value defines shape and emphasis. TEXTURE: This gives the surface a type of perceived volume, feel and quality, whether soft, smooth, hard or rough. Texture is captured by using shading techniques by alternating pencil strengths and method drawing. ~*~ THE COMPANY ~*~ The company is named after a famous Indian diamond, Koh-i-Noor, meaning "Mountain of Light" known as the largest diamond in the world at the time. The Founder of the Koh-i-Noor pencils was a man named Joseph Hardtmuth. He only lived 58 years but in that brief time, he was renowned as a true innovator of his time; inventing lead-free glazed earthenware, an artificial pumice, a version of stoneware that became widely used in various industries. Then in 1792, this Austrian extraordinary inventor, architect, and entrepreneur, established a factory in Vienna manufacturing pencils etc, after he created an artificial pencil from a combination of clay and graphite. This design made the writing/drawing implement available to everyone. Before Hardmuth's design, expensive chunks of graphite were glued in between wood. Joseph's method of production meant a lowering in the price, enabling the product to be available to everyone! After the Second World War, Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth became a state-owned company. Then in 1992, once again became privatized but within two years, bought-out by the Gama Group. Although the company remains true to the original designer's quality products and now is one of the world leaders in the manufacturing of first-class art supplies. ~WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?~ ...between ordinary writing pencils and graphite drawing pencils? The graphite drawing pencils are specifically designed for drawing, whereas, writing pencils are general purpose utensils. ~DANGEROUS COMPONENTS?~ .....Just a myth! Pencils have cores made from powdered graphite and not lead. In the mid-16th century, a fierce storm felled several trees uncovering a large deposit of a black substance that was thought to be lead. Not until over 200 years later, an English scientist discovered that the substance was not lead, but a type of carbon. The substance was aptly named graphite, after the Greek word meaning "to write," as that's how people used the matter. Therefore, Pencil lead is not lead but a combination of finely ground graphite and clay, which is mixed with water and then pressed together using high temperatures to form into thin rods. The number and letters printed on the base of pencils indicate hardness and darkness; the higher the number, the harder the graphite core because more clay has been mixed with the graphite. But, unlike this description suggest, a hard core in fact leaves behind less of the graphite-clay mixture on the paper, therefore, it will have a fainter mark than a softer core that has more graphite in its composition. ~A PENCIL IS JUST A PENCIL!~ No! Because like many processed products, quality can vary. Unlike substandard and/or poorly processed graphite, good quality pencils deliver reliable tools. ~ 'DRAWING BY NUMBERS'! ~ There are two pencil-rating systems, the US system is numerical. ~'GIVE ME A CONSONANT PLEASE CAROL'!~ The other pencil-rating system is the European one which is based on a lettering scheme. Pencils are rated for hardness ~ H, blackness ~ B, and if they have a fine point ~F. ~ALL TOGETHER NOW~ When the two systems come together, one has a definitive application to identify the best tool for the task at hand. The ranges in artist pencils are generally: 9B/8B/7B/6B/5B/4B/3B/2B/B/HB/F/H/2H/3H/4H/5H/6H/7H/8H/9H. S o f t e s t M e d i u m H a r d e s t Because of the various functions, these tools are used for artists, designers and architects. The ranges of pencils are often given the following names: Sketching 9B to H Soft /Technical B to 9H Hard / Designer 6B to 4H Medium. ~'8 out of 10 CATS PREFER'~ When sketching, I use three brands of artist pencils; one is the Koh-I-Noor graphite pencils. The set I use mostly of the Koh-I-Noor range is the Graphite 12 Pencil 5B to 5H. These furnish me with a lovely variation from softer to harder markings. It may surprise or shock but I prefer to sharpen my graphite pencils using a Stanley knife. I carefully angle the pencil, ensuring it is resting on a non slippery surface. I then angle the knife to match the pencil's position. I proceed to shave the surrounding wood slowly until the nib is completely exposed. By using an emery board nail file, I can smooth away any rough edges on the nib. Using this method, you will have a sharp lengthy nib in order to shade at an angle. This produces effective fluid strokes, avoiding abrasive jagged drawings. ~'CHARTING FOR SUCCESS'!~ The container I purchased has small chart depicting the shade each pencil gives. But I have made my own larger chart using Vellum paper as this brings out the best for me as the graphite is most receptive to this type of paper. I've made each square the same size and marked them in order of the pencils from 5B through to 5H. With each consecutive pencil, shade in the individual squares, by building up the shade smoothly and evenly. This will give you a reference to look to as you draw so that you can refer to the shades for your sketches. ~*~ GRAPHITE IN ACTION ~*~ I enjoy drawing scenery but with an edge. For instance, I like to sketch flora in various types of weather settings. When I draw severe weather and wishing to depict the flora reacting to this type of environment, I will use 2H to 4H to produce shadows, value, and depth in vigorous jagged lines, by drawing diagonally increasing variations in lightness, darkness and the thickness of these using the deeper shades but in varying pressure on the pencil. To add rich texture I use an assortment of shading techniques. When sketching a picture in a tranquil setting, I will use 2B to 4B to draw lines smoothly, creating graceful soft curves and wavy lines vertically and horizontally to denote a gentle breeze through the leaves of a tree & so forth. But the possibilities are endless with these remarkable pencils. To demonstrate how I use the different shades of pencils to draw eyes, I use a method called cross-hatching to give a two dimensional appearance. By swapping certain pencils, such as using the 5H to sketch the lines that are closer to the iris coming into contact with the light, this gives the impression of reflection of illumination. In order to give depth, the effects of mass are portrayed through the use of shadows and highlights so I like to use the 5B to draw the lines that are to depict the darker, untouched by the light, areas of the iris. The method of cross-hatching using these three different pencils give the eyes life by the depth & value added by these lighter to darker markings. By experimenting with these pencils, one can create various types of mediums that will give tremendous life like effects in the compositions. These quality pencils help me to express the emotions I want to portray in my drawings. ~'TO ERR IS HUMAN'!~ These graphite pencil produced markings are simple to erase. Although pretty resistant to moisture, the graphite can be easily removed using an eraser. I like to use a kneadable eraser, which can be purchased in most art supply stores. These flexible erasers pick up the graphite without the negative effects of smudging. These pencils produce lightfast markings in that they will not be affected or faded by light. But due to accidental finger marks etc., when finished, I use a fixative also purchased from the art supply store to seal the drawing. ~WARNING!~ Different methods are used to grade pencils, although few, different manufacturers will not necessarily make a mark of identical tone or the same hardness, according to their processing methods of altering the proportion of graphite to clay. To avoid disappointment, I generally keep a smaller sketch pad handy in order to try out the differences in brands but avoid using more than one type in the same composition. ~*~ Would I recommend these Koh-I-Noor Drawing Artists Graphite Pencils? ~*~ Most definitely. These artist pencils are first rate quality designed and engineered tools. The pencils are suitable for the amateur hobby sketchers like me to the fully fledged tutor of art! I purchased these quality graphite pencils on-line for £4.99. But they are available throughout most quality high street art supply stores.
Professional graphite pencils