Pencils & Stuff refers to a broader group of writing tools that includes, but is not exclusive to, good old #2 Ticonderoga’s  (The kind used for taking those little fill in the dot tests). Graphite, chalk and colored plastics make up most of this group. Pencil is traditionally the first media used after the graduation from crayons and smear painting with whatever fate lays in the hands of a toddler. It is a cost effective place to start if you enjoy being in the potentially expensive art realm. 


    The first pencil most people recall using was roughly as wide as a D battery and offered zero control unless you sharpened it on the sidewalk all through your recess or lunch hour. Most armature and professional artists have hundreds of different pencils and still find themselves picking up new ones when they go to the local supply center. There are many different types of pencil and to describe them all would take hours. There are F’s and 3B’s and H’s and HB’s etc. It’s mostly about the blend of graphite (No they don’t use lead – not since the 1500’s or so). 


     An individual looking to explore with some of these options need not look too far. Start with a #2 however, they’re pretty easy to come by and they don’t cost all that much. Besides, if you accidentally get your hands on a 9B and decide you want to erase part of that beloved doodle you have been chipping away at for 3 hours… You are going to be very sad. That obsidian streak isn’t going anywhere. Not convincingly anyway.


 This small collection of graphite drawings was done by our art director back in the 90’s when he was in high school. Another reason pencils & stuff seemed apropos for this section; many of the designs here were done with pencils, blending tortillons, kneaded erasers, and in some cases touches of white out or black pen. There’s a solid chance the design above was intended for someone whom might have been due an apology... 


     Colored pencil is the bridge over the gap between coloring and control. Sharp edges allow for fine detail. Water color pencils  offer even more flexibility, but require a high level of skill to master. Colored pencil, depending on brand and grade, can often be erased. Watercolor pencil, unfortunately cannot. After water is applied to a design done with watercolor pencil, altering it is the only option. Erasing or removing the image is no longer possible.


     In essence, this media is somewhat like “drawing a painting.” It is a great start to learning animation or cartooning.  The benefit to using watercolors is to achieve a smooth lifelike finish and additional depth. You could not achieve this with crayons for certain, nor gray pencil, or black ink, unless you had achieved an extraordinary skill level. In addition, color can be used to express feelings, create a mood, or even elicit an emotional response.