Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Pencil Question Came Up

9/19/18 Vereinigte Deutschsprachige Kirche (German United Church of Christ), Capitol Hill

“May I ask you a question?”

The young man who had been eating his lunch at the bench next to mine approached hesitantly. “When you and other sketchers hold up a pencil like that, what are you doing?”

I explained that I was gauging proportions and angles and gave an example from the church I was sketching. He listened, nodded, thanked me, and went on his way. 

Although I occasionally have conversations about sketching when passers-by approach me, I think this was the first time anyone had ever asked that.

Technical note: Starting with a Blackwing pencil, I finished this sketch by putting in the darkest darks with a Viarco ArtGraf water-soluble graphite pencil. It made it onto my Top Products list last year (I keep saying I need to review it, and I’m saying it again now), and for good reason: The 6B version is a truly luscious pencil.


  1. I like the contrast of that darker pencil. Nicely done. I wonder if the young man grasped the idea of the sight measuring.

    1. I don't know if he did, but I was pleased that he asked! Maybe he'll try it someday.


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