|My treasured pencil box...|
|...filled with a handy assortment.|
The Amsterdam box came with an 8B. In previous years, I’ve received an HB and a 4B. Shown side by side, you can see that the grades vary, but not as much as ordinary graphite pencils in the same grades. If I’m using a water-soluble graphite pencil, I usually want the wash to be as dark as possible. For my money, I think the 8B is all I would need. It can still be applied lightly by minimizing pressure.
|Left: Cretacolor 8B; right: Hi-Uni 8B|
The only other 8B graphite pencil I have is a Mitsubishi Hi-Uni, so I compared them. While the Cretacolor feels just as soft, it isn’t quite as silky-smooth as the Hi-Uni. The Austrian-made Cretacolor’s core, however, is a bit thicker.
In the tree sketch below, I activated the 8B with water sparingly to enhance only the areas with the darkest value. Tiny touches with a waterbrush will bring out a rich, dark wash very quickly. Although the effect is not the same as the subtle gradients that are possible with graphite applied and smudged slowly and gradually, I still love the beautiful tonal variations that are possible with this one water-soluble graphite pencil just by varying the pressure and applying a little water. It’s especially nice on toothy paper (I used Stillman & Birn Beta).
|8/21/19 Cretacolor Graphite Aquarell in S&B Beta sketchbook|
I probably won’t be using graphite much during the remaining colorful days of summer and fall, but I’d like to give this pencil a more solid try during the drab days of winter.