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Why Choose a Pencil instead of a Paintbrush?

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Why Choose a Pencil instead of a Paintbrush?

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Why Choose a Pencil instead of a Paintbrush?

My next article in International Artist Magazine (Issue 132 April/May 2020) is about the pencil, the the universal tool for any artist or designer.
Why Choose a Pencil instead of a Paintbrush?
Caernarfon Harbor, pencil, 7 x 8"
A graphite pencil is the medium of choice when I’m interested more in form than I am in light or color. If I was painting this scene, I would be thinking about warm versus cool colors, atmospheric perspective and reflected light. With pencil I can concentrate on the bones of the scene, the simple overlap of light and dark shapes. If there’s a light mast or railing, I’ve got to be sure to draw around it. 


Why Choose a Pencil instead of a Paintbrush?

Since pencils can be used in a lot of different ways. I’ve taken some random sketchbook pages and grouped them into six categories: events, architecture, nature, imagination, vehicles, and people. For each group, I suggest some different techniques, and different attitudes or mindsets that I bring to the challenge.
Why Choose a Pencil instead of a Paintbrush?

Recommended pencils (Links to Amazon):
Kneaded eraser (can be shaped and won't leave crumbs)
Faber Castell 9000 (good basic graphite pencil)
Derwent Graphitint (water-soluble graphite look)
Chung Hwa Drawing 4B (from China)
Staedtler Mars Lumograph 4B (soft graphite art pencil)
Staedtler Mars Lumograph B (medium-soft graphite pencil)
Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth Triograph (triangular section)
Rembrandt Sketching 4B
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There are also articles by Ricky Mujica and Nathan Fowkes in the next issue of IA.
International Artist Magazine (Issue 132)
Previous posts on pencil sketching (269 of them)
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3 Comments on Gurney Journey: Why Choose a Pencil instead of a Paintbrush?

  • Christen
    on March 06, 2020 | 13:31 Christensaid :
    "I love the lowly pencil, it is always with me, it is a steady sketching companion. Too, it is worthy in it's own right as a medium. Thank you James for the article."
  • Bob
    on March 09, 2020 | 22:28 Bobsaid :
    " My choice by necessity is an Apple Pencil. Since I'm not an artist, Erase and Undo are my friends! Not to mention a choice of over 16 million colors."
  • Norman
    on March 10, 2020 | 07:16 Normansaid :
    "For pure simplicity and minimum clutter with maximum flexibility I suggest carrying just one type of pencil: Conte 2B Graphite. This gives an excellent range from pale grey to quite black, is reasonably robust (doesn't rub off easily onto the opposing page of a sketchbook), and is good in all climates (some graphite pencils become unworkably soft in very hot humid climates). Additionally you get to know the pencil's characteristics very well - it's all you use so you will!

    I've noticed that many artists avoid using graphite pencils - perhaps not liking them because they are pointy so seem to need great precision. I would say - just pretend it's a brush and work loosely and freely... The pencil is so good in situations where minimum kit is best."
Why Choose a Pencil instead of a Paintbrush?

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