Drawing – Pencil
The pencil is one of the artistic tools that the average person is most familiar with, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less capable of producing incredible art. A skilled artist only needs material that is capable of making a mark and a material that can accept the marks. It just so happens that pencils and paper are both well suited for one another and incredibly affordable. Even when pencils and paper were expensive, they were still much cheaper than paint and canvas, so artists have been using pencils to practice their skills and planned their artwork for hundreds of years. Even still, pencils might not be as old as some might expect. The pencil as we know it today dates back to the mid-sixteenth century.
The History of Pencil Drawing
The creation of the pencil is tied to the history of graphite. The first documented graphite discovery was made in England back around 1500, and that graphite came to make the first pencils. While pencils can be made with a variety of different cores the originals were made of graphite, though at the time scientists mistook graphite for a lead. That’s why we still talk about the lead in our pencils. At first, the graphite was honed into a stick and used directly, but in the 1560s two Italian inventors decided to stick graphite in a wood casing to make it more durable. The basic design involved painstakingly hollowing out a stick and carefully inserting the graphite until someone discovered that it was easier to make pencil wood in two halves and stick the graphite in the middle like a hotdog in a bun. This method of construction is still used to make modern pencils. Today, natural graphite is too expensive; synthetic graphite is used instead. Of course, graphite is now just one of many materials used to make pencils. Almost any dry mark-making substance can be used as a pencil core.
What Pencils are Made Out Of
The first thing artists tend to learn about pencils is that they aren’t all created the same. This quickly becomes clear to anyone who tries to use the cheapest pencils on the market. Different pencils have different materials inside of them, and the type of material and the quality of that material will impact the usability of the pencil and the marks it makes. Most pencils are filled with some carbon material, usually related to coal. The pencils used by most schoolchildren are graphite pencils. Artists tend to favour charcoal pencils because it tends to be better for larger drawings. There are also coloured pencils with waxy cores and grease pencils made with coloured wax. Still, in the end, most pencils are made using carbon-based cores surrounded by a wood casing.