The pencil is the most basic of all art media; you can get started with only a pencil and a piece of paper. I will recommend a few additional tools that I like to use, but over time every artist discovers the set of tools that works best for him or her. Experimentation is the key!


Artist’s pencils are graded on a scale from soft (labeled “B” for “black”) to medium (labeled “F” for “fine”) to hard (labeled “H”). Softer leads create darker tones that are great for shading and blending; they also are much easier to manipulate with an eraser. Hard leads can produce light, fine lines, but avoid applying too much pressure as you stroke, as they easily can scar the paper’s surface. There are 20 different grades of pencils, ...

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