I was unable to go to school yesterday. I have two classes on Wednesdays. Biology 100 was canceled because the art dean, the great Abbott Smith, had some presentation in San Fransisco or something. So I emailed my Animation 100 professor and told him I wouldn’t be showing up and asked him to tell me the subject of today’s lesson so I could grab the notes from someone else.
At 7pm I was able to check my email again.
Subject: ANI 101 C Canceled 11-1-06
Professor Francoeur will not be able to make it to class today, and therefore, ANI 101 C at 11am has been canceled.
Please pass this message on to your friends in this class in case this email does not go through.
Student Services Coordinator
If there was a day not to be able to go to school, then today was it.
Also, I really need to update my site now that I’m learning things. Basic drawing tutorial stuff, probably centered around Gimpystick’s section. One of the things I want to add is a little discussion I had with a friend about the basic of basic drawing materials. Oh, hey! I can add a wiki for that! That could be fun.
Pencils: There are multiple types of pencils. Remember those bubble tests in high school where the teacher is all, “Use a number 2 pencil?” Pencils range from high “H” pencils, to high “B” pencils. H counts down to zero, and B counts up from zero, making a scale like this: 2H, 1H, HB, 1B, 2B. Kinda like the BC and AD year systems. There are some other letters in the middle where 1H and 1B meet, but I’m going to avoid those to avoid confusion.
Now, I wouldn’t go out and buy a set of 9H to 9B pencils, though you could if you wanted. Generally, if you’re starting out, you just want to play with one type of pencil so you don’t confuse yourself. You can ask yourself three questions to find out which range of pencils to look at.
Do you like darker or lighter lines? B pencils are darker, and get darker heading towards higher numbers. H pencils are lighter, and get lighter headering towards lower numbers.
Do you like sharpening your pencil? B pencils wear down a lot faster since the graphite is softer. What, you thought you got a darker line without cost? H pencils are harder, so the graphite doesn’t wear away as much and you don’t have to buy new ones as often.
How hard do you normally press when drawing? If you press hard, you’ll probably want to lean closer to the Hs. If you press very lightly, you’ll want to lean closer to the Bs. This makes it easier for you to vary the weight of the line by pressing harder or lighter.
With that in mind, go out and buy a set of pencils, or a sampling of pencils. Say 4H, 2H, HB, 2B, and 4B. Wear them all down drawing pretty pictures and find out which one you’re more comfortable with. I doubt just drawing on a sample paper in the store will tell you too much about which ones you want — you’ll want to draw a whole picture or two with them. Your tastes may also change over time. I prefer low Bs, myself.
Erasers: First, if you use a Pink Pearl, stop. You’re only hurting yourself. Go buy an Artgum or some white brand. You’ll never go back.
Second, ever heard of a kneeded eraser? It’s kind of like Silly Putty. You can mold it to erase detailed areas. And since it’s not quite as effective as a real eraser you can rub it across the entire page to “knock back” a picture or a second of it. It’s useful for erasing guide lines while keeping the darker finished lines.
Pencil Sharpeners: There are hand-held electric pencil sharpeners. I recommend them. Hand-sharpening pencils takes too long and is boring. And it compounds your frustration with the lead breaks. Also, I’ve only ever seen one (and it’s really old), but “Auto-Stop” sharpeners are awesome as they don’t eat your pencil down to nothing — they “auto-stop” once the pencil is sharp.
There’s a little more to pencil sharpeners than just electric or non, though. Some pencil sharpeners expose more of the graphite and others sharpen it really tightly. Depending on if you prefer more surface area for drawing with the edge of the graphite, or if you use a type of lead that breaks a lot, you may want pencil sharpeners that behave differently.
If you get a small hand-held sharpener, get multiple. You’ll lose them. Trust me.