I picked up this set of 5 pencils and a paint brush at my local art supply store about a month ago. The set costs $8. This may be one of my least expensive new art products I’ve used…ever. I first did a quick test on some scratch paper I had laying around. I knew, even after just 5 minutes of playing with these, that I was totally in love!
This past week I finally got a chance to complete my first project with them. I chose a raven from wildlifereferencephotos.com. I added a damask background that I completed with a stencil and some flowers with just a touch of inktense from Derwent to give that splash of color.
Initially, I was worried that 5 pencils would not give me the range I wanted, but it turns out that I really found no need for more than what was included. I mostly used the 8B and HB pencils in the set.
You can lay the graphite down as you normally would, controlling how dark your values are by how much layering you do and how much pressure you add to the pencil. I avoided heavy pressure because I didn’t want to damage my paper. The Fabriano Artistico Extra white Hot Pressed 140lb watercolor paper handled this wet media like a champ. I had my edges taped down to prevent it from drying out of shape.
When applying water with the included paint brush (I purchased multiple other brushes to use with this but found myself preferring the single brush that came in the set), once you let that layer dry completely, you can add more graphite over it, achieving the most beautiful blacks that are hard to get with regular graphite alone. My finished work also does not have that glossy sheen that is common with typical graphite. That made getting a good photograph of my work SO much easier than usual.
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