Thursday, 21 November 2013

Play hard learn hard: Pencils

Play har
learn hard


  • A pencil is a very cheap, easily accessible and basic tool that can be used with great effect.  Playing with pencils is fun especially when a collection of hard/soft pencils are used and different surfaces are used for different effect and textures.  Have a pencil sharpener nearby to keep the leads sharp and usable.  Don’t use an eraser for play.  It keeps the flow going. 

  • Use a variety of types of pencils 5H-8B and graphite are readily available in most shops.  Each one can create completely different effects and are useful in different ways.

5H is the lightest of the range it is a very hard lead
HB is the most common pencil used for writing.  Most children will use this pencil at school
8B is the darkest usually used and it is a very soft lead
Graphite is made from …you guessed it graphite.  There is no wooden casing around a graphite pencil 
so care is needed not to drop it.  Graphite is a great shading pencil. 

Mechanical pencils are pencils with refillable leads.  The leads can be bought in many different hardness.

This one is 6B

This one is HB

Try doing these ideas as you play with this media

  • ·         Use the pencils on a point


  • ·         Use on the side

  • ·         Use pressing hard/soft

  • ·         Make as many different lines/shapes/textures/ values with pencil. Consider thin/thick, alternate  thickness's, contrasts of curves and points,  interlocking shapes

  • ·         Use on different papers/fabrics/ surfaces
  • ·         Sharpen to a firm hard point
  • ·         Use different weights/ pressure

  • ·         Gradiate from dark to light

  • ·         Use different lines across each other both straight and diagonally

  • ·         Use different lines parallel to each other

  • ·         Try shaving the lead and using the shavings.  What could you use the shavings for?
  • ·         Try smudging the pencil on the paper with your finger.  What effects can be made?
  • ·         Use on a heavy textured paper and then a very smooth paper.  What is the difference.  What different effects can you create?

How can these lines and patterns be transferred onto a quilt? Consider quilting lines, texture of fabric and colour value and depth and shapes for fabric.  What can these samples tell about how line works and how shading can be produced?

I learnt

v  Pencil can be used very successfully to create line/ value and texture
v  Pencil is easy to use and very easily accessible
v  Pencil produces different effects on different surfaces
v  Pencil is not permanent.  This means that if you are using pencil on fabric it will need to be sealed.  If pencil is used on paper it needs to be sealed if it is not under glass for a finished product.
v  Pencil is a great medium for the designing process. 
v  Pencil can be used very successfully to draw out quilting lines on paper
v  Pencils can produce a great amount of textures for surface design ideas.
v  Pencil can be a great way to see a design for what it is before adding colour.
v  Pencil is not to great at sticking to fabric
v  Pencil smudges easily
v  Pencil is very versatile

What did you discover? What else can be done with pencil?

Have fun playing

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