Why the 6B Graphite Pencil is an Essential Drawing Tool

Above and below: Pages from Johnson’s sketchbook, done on location.

Plein air artist, writer, and instructor Michael Chesley Johnson recently shared some helpful advice in a blog titled “Plein Air Painting Essential Tools: 6B Graphite Pencil.” He says that he stresses the importance of the 6B in his workshops, and goes into further detail on why:

“A 6B pencil has a very soft lead,” Johnson explains. “It allows me to make not just a very light mark but also a very, very dark one. When I make my value sketches, I liked to ‘sneak up’ on the darks. When I start a sketch, most times I haven’t quite figured out my value structure yet, and starting off with a light touch with the 6B lets me explore a little before committing to my darkest values.”

Visit Michael Chesley Johnson’s blog at www.MChesleyJohnson.com to continue reading about the 6B graphite pencil.

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