The new Graphic range has a number of key features and benefits:
- Smooth colour lay down
- Improved core strength
- Colour removes easily for detailed work with an eraser
- Available in 20 consistent degrees from 9B to 9H
- Highly lightfast
It is now time to start putting the pencil to the paper. I encourage every artist to experiment with their pencils. Using graphite pencils is very tactile in nature and your results will vary based on the pressure applied, the pencil grip, angle of the pencil as well as the paper used. Learning the unique characteristics and qualities of each lead will help you pick the best one to make the right pencil mark.
My initial response after opening the tin was the "wow" factor of having a full-range of lead grades displayed before me. Most brands limit the range to 4H to 4B. I have to say that I have never used a 9H before!
The first test is to chart out how each pencil lays down in order of the range 9H to 9B. With each grade, I layers down a small patch dark to light, a line and simple shading using a sharp lead tip. The section on the right is using a flat chisel point lead. The paper used is my most commonly used brand, Strathmore 300 series Bristol Board Smooth. As you can see in the chart, the leads consistently and progressively go from the lightest (9H) to the darkest (9B). Some of the grades are very close but as you lay down the graphite, you can feel the subtle difference.
The next test is to challenge the feature - color removes easily for detailed work with an eraser. I charted each of the leads again, giving me another opportunity to evenly apply a layer of graphite. Then I simply ran a sharp edge of a mars plastic eraser through each section. I repeated the process using a Stadtler kneaded eraser. I am actually surprised I didn't get more smudging between the leads as I did not lift the eraser as I moved down through each one. Nice!