Drawing Lesson - Graphite Wooden & Woodless Pencils

Line Control and Properties

Materials: graphite pencils, 14 x 17 drawing paper.

In this exercise, you will explore some of the properties of graphite pencils and the variety of marks and lines they can achieve. Graphite is fragile and comes in sticks, pencils, and powder. Due to its oily property, it is permanent and does not require any fixative. When used to shade large areas, it appears smooth and velvety. When sharpened, it creates an intense line when pressed into the paper.


Wooden Pencil: Wood pencils have a wide range of hardness and softness: H9, 9H, 8H, 7H, 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9B.  Most artists use pencils ranging from HB to 8B as they have a more interesting line quality.

Woodless Pencil: These are graphite pencils without wood on the outside like traditional graphite pencils, and usually come in only softer forms HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, and 8B.

In this exercise, you will create a chart like the one below using your graphite pencils. First, create a range of gradations from light to dark using your 9H to 9B pencils as shown at the top of the diagram. Next, copy the textures and patterns in the boxes below. When you have successfully created these textures and gradations, then create additional charts with different marks that you invent on your own.