m of Natural History
Department of Paleobiology
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
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Graphite pencil
Graphite pencil on bristol board is a very versatile technique. Pencil leads used are generally 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, H, 2H, 3H and 4H. B leads are softer and H leads are harder. The harder the lead, the lighter in tone the line or shading will be. Smooth gradations of tone can be achieved by applying graphite dust to the paper using a large, soft paint brush, or a paper stomp. Detail is added using a well sharpened pencil after tones are in place. Graphite can be removed with careful application of a kneaded eraser or finely ground soap eraser crumbs applied with a soft paint brush over the area to be lightened. The drawing should be lightly sprayed with fixative to keep the image from smearing.

Graphite drawing of a sand dollar. Graphite drawing of a Triceratops skull.

Graphite pencil drawings of the Miocene fossil sand dollar, Abertella, and Triceratops skull by Mary Parrish.


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