How I draw with a mechanical pencil is very different from how I draw with a graphite stick or hard pastel. And the differences between drawing implements which are ostensibly the same (eg a wood pencil, a mechanical pencil, a coloured pencil) can be very wide as well.
I've been remiss in not previously including The Pencil Pages in the right hand column - and following my last post decided I'd better remedy this. The site has been developed and is maintained by Doug Martin.
Good points: For anybody who wants information about pencils this is a really good website to visit. It's now been going for over ten years and is VAST and provides a huge digest of links to various pencil sites and some other information! It's also well organised so it's easy to locate the source of information you're after within the myriad references provided. You also frequently come away knowing a whole lot more about pencils after being distracted into looking at some of the other pages as well!
Gaps from an artist's perspective: One needs to recognise that this site is essentially targeted at pencil collectors. This means that although it covers some technical aspects, it doesn't really focus on how they are used for art and doesn't provide reviews or link to past reviews of the way in which different pencil products perform in practice (which I guess is where sites like Pencil Revolution site might well fill this gap).
Here's some aspects of "The Pencil Pages" which may be of interest to people reading this.
- References to various articles, books and publications about pencils including Doug's explanation about the designation of grades pencil hardness in the USA and elsewhere and a record of Doug's illustrated tour of Sanford's pencil-making factory - showing the whole process of how pencils and coloured pencils are made; and
- Information about manufacturers - it lists all the companies which produce pencils along with information on how to contact them (with URL links to a number of these) and also lists those which no longer exist, have changed their name or have been absorbed into another company;
- Pencil Links - providing internet links to just about anything and everything connected to pencils from all over the world - pencil manufacturers, distributors, collectors organisations, individual collector's pages, some art sites involving pencil and various other sites of interest;
- answers to some of the frequently asked questions about pencils.
It's a site which is definitely worth visiting if you want to know more about pencils in a generic sense, like trying out different types and want to know what you've still got left to try(!) or want to know how to contact a manufacturer for more information.
(Incidentally - for any teachers and tutors out there - another website developed by the Incense Cedar Instriture provides a simpler and more accessible introduction to pencils for children and adults with no knowledge of pencil technology. This can be found at www.pencils.com and confusingly is also called the Pencil Pages!)