>> Thursday, June 28, 2007
I just finished a new series of bird illustrations, this time done in pencil. At the risk of sounding odd, I was excited to rediscover the 3B pencil. I got into the habit of using a 2B because it doesn't smudge as much, but the softer pencils do shading beautifully, and you can get nice dark black tones as well. The image above is the layout I decided on for greeting cards that I'm planning to have printed today.
In case anyone is interested and doesn't know, the typical yellow pencil that everyone commonly uses is the HB. But artists generally prefer a softer lead, the larger the number in the B range, the softer the lead is. Ie, 6B is a very very soft drawing pencil, nice for shading and can create very dark black shadows. It also smudges very easily (can be good or bad depending on what you want) and the lead can also break more easily and need frequent sharpening. The H pencils get harder as the number goes up, so for example a 3H pencil may be good for drafting where you want light clean lines, no smudging and no need for dark shading.
This one is the Eastern kingbird.
This is the Tufted titmouse. He's my favourite. Not my all-time favourite bird, which is the robin, but my favourite in this series.
This one is the Yellow warbler.
And finally, a goldfinch.