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Pencils Blackwing Derwent and Staedtler 141018 LR  by PearsonMoore2
Pencils Blackwing Derwent and Staedtler 141018 LR
This chart shows some of my recent work on quantifying graphite pencil darkness. In this study I compared middle-range pencils from Palomino Blackwing, Derwent Graphic, and Staedtler Mars Lumograph. The densitometry data indicate a dramatic difference between the Blackwing writing pencils and the Derwent and Staedtler drawing pencils. Without going into a long-winded explanation (which I can do if anyone is interested), the histograms are consistent with smaller and more uniform graphite particle size in the drawing pencils, and broader range, less uniform particles in the Blackwing pencils. This should be expected, I suppose, since artists need to control graphite darkness far more than writers, so it makes sense that pencils intended for artists would have more consistent graphite. One note on the G values: They're going to change soon. I am still working out various methods of standardizing and calculating darkness relative to several color standards and two or more graphite references. I will most likely settle on a method that gives the broadest possible graphite values. Using the current standardization and calculation scheme, I get a value of about G18 for my 6H pencils and only about 80 for my 9B pencils. The final scheme will probably have the high H pencils starting at G10 or less, and the high B pencils well into the high 80s and low- to mid-90s.
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I started drawing just over two months ago. I was surprised that I could faithfully render images in graphite, and even more surprised that I could create images from multiple models, as I did with the Neandertal skull and some figure studies. Me, an artist? I would have considered the idea a bad joke not even 10 weeks ago, but apparently I can do it. Another artist friend shrugged his shoulders. "You're a novelist, Pearson. You sketch images using words. Now you're using pencils. You've changed media, that's all." He has an interesting perspective, and perhaps there is some truth in his thought.

As I increased my technical range, I began to notice things that bothered me, or at least raised my curiosity level. For instance, I noticed pretty quickly that graphite tends to have a higher reflectance (becomes shinier) at higher density or application pressure. This isn't surprising, based on what I know about the structure of graphite dust, but the discovery led me to other questions. Why, for example, did my Derwent 2B pencil seem to have nearly the same darkness value as my Derwent 4B? Did I just get a bad lot of pencils, or is narrow value at high B numbers a quality of Derwent pencils? Do other manufacturers suffer the same narrow range?

I bought a few pencils and was surprised at what I found. Taking the question further, I built testing equipment so I could compare one pencil to another without subjective bias. I'm looking for input from graphite pencil artists on the kinds of pencil qualities I should investigate. I will be looking at graphite darkness (value), reflectance, reproducibility, value range (from 4H to 9B), breakability, friability, colour, and value v. application pressure (measured as grams then converted to Newtons). What other measurable qualities should I look at?

Building test equipment is not new to me. Over the last 40 years I've occasionally had to build R&D equipment when no commercial equivalent was available. I created a sheeting device out of an aquarium tank, for instance. This was an apparatus that allowed me to study glassware sheeting phenomena during the wash process. Some years ago I was working with benzoyl peroxide and was tasked with quantifying its effects. The problem here is that pure benzoyl peroxide is explosive when dry, so it is shipped in 30 percent water. I had to create a high-humidity chamber so I could weigh the stuff accurately, water and all, without the water evaporating during the weighing process. That was maybe the most challenging device I created, but accurate, reproducible pencil testing devices have proven only slightly less difficult. I look forward to your ideas about pencil testing!

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PearsonMoore2
Pearson Moore
Artist
United States
I was born in the fourth year of my life, my birth delayed by the meagre circumstances of my parents, who were itinerant disposable razor repair technicians. I died in an unfortunate accident when I was fifteen, but it was the famous conundrum of 1957, now the subject of jokes, in which the plane crashed on the U.S.-Mexico border, and the survivors were all buried in Mexico. Luckily, I was not among the survivors, and therefore I was not buried. That was my first lucky break, and I have had several since then. Needless to say, I feel lucky to be here, participating in one of the best art websites where everyone takes their work very, very seriously indeed. No silliness at this website. No, sirree.

I published my first book, "LOST Humanity." You can read about the book here: pearsonmoore-gets-lost.com/def… and you can purchase a copy here: amzn.to/dEA5yv

I am a regular weekly contributor at Dark UFO:
darkufo.blogspot.com/

I will be writing a weekly blog starting April 17, 2011, at Westeros.org:
www.westeros.org/

These are some of my websites:
Author: www.authorsden.com/pearsonmoor…
Novels: pearsonmoore.net/
Lost: pearsonmoore-gets-lost.com/
Canada: pearsonmoore.blogspot.com/
GoT: winterfellkeep.com/

My first book, "LOST Humanity," will be published in 2011. My first novel, "Cartier's Ring," will be published in 2011 or 2012.

NOW that I've given you all this nifty info, I demand an answer to the question that must be one everyone's mind:

Just what in the Sam Hill is a "Devian Tart"?

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