|The "VB" in the name stands for "Virus Block,"
which is an anti-viral coating. It apparently
existed pre-COVID, but I bet sales increased
|11/23/23 Mitsubishi 9800VB HB
(all reference photos by Earthsworld except as noted)
Considering that it began on a lark, Pencilvember
turned out to be an ideal limited-duration challenge: something I hadn’t done
before (a consistent material with a single subject matter), and long enough to
be challenging but not so long that I considered quitting many times (looking
at you, 100-Day Project). It was downright fun! More important, I
learned a few things (and that’s the key purpose of any drawing challenge I
Better than hands (even 407 of them), better than noses, maybe even better than the whole face, ears are ideal for studying form. Hard edges on the helix interior (yes, my fascination led me all the way to looking up the part names) will cast crisp shadows, while the gently sloping superior and inferior crus require observing delicate form shadows. Unexpected bumps and ridges can be challenging to render due to their subtlety. In addition, ears can be drawn in a short time, and limitless photo references are available (many thanks again to Earthsworld, whose reference photos I used daily).
|11/24/23 Pentel Tokyo Disney 2B
|A fun novelty, this Pentel-made pencil came from
Disneyland in Tokyo. A bit "draggy" in feel compared to
most Japanese graphite.
I also learned more about what I prefer in a graphite drawing pencil. Although I tend to favor softer grades because they can produce a varied line if I want them to (not to mention that they just feel nicer to use), not all soft grades are easy to draw lighter tones with. Some I tried may be buttery-soft and smooth, but I found them difficult to shade lightly enough. A hallmark of excellent graphite is that it can easily produce a wide range of tones, regardless of grade. (Well, actually, the hallmark of an excellent graphite artist would be the ability to achieve a full range of tones, regardless of grade, but I’m not there yet.) Technically, I already understood this, but my self-imposed limit of using only one pencil per ear forced me to see what would happen when I try to render a full range without simply grabbing another grade.
|11/25/23 Tombow Mono KM-KKS 4B
|This Tombow is one of my all-time favorites that I threw
into the challenge as one of few familiar-and-loved pencils.
Finally, Uglybooks paper is awesome with graphite! I have been using mostly brush markers and occasional Posca pens in the colorful books, but until Pencilvember, I’d been missing out. The light tooth grabs graphite effortlessly without showing distinctly. The only drawback is that graphite may not be dark enough to show well on the medium- or darker-colored Uglybooks papers, which have been my favorites for tonal use. But now I have an excuse to buy more of the lighter tinted books.
11/26/23 Faber-Castell 9000 4B I've never been the fan of these high-quality pencils
as many graphite artists are, but I must admit that this 4B contains excellent graphite. It has more "feedback" than I like, but it's not scratchy.
|11/27/23 vintage Hardtmuth Koh-i-Noor 1500 6B
(mini jumbo size)
|I sure enjoyed drawing with this mini jumbo barrel!
I wish some of my favorite pencils like Hi-Uni would
come in this comfortable barrel size.
|11/28/23 Blackfeet Indian No. 2
|This was among the very worst pencils I used during the
month... very hard, scratchy, miserable. It apparently has fans
among pencil folks -- but I don't know why.
|11/29/23 Stabilo Othello 282 4B=0
|What a pleasant surprise this Stabilo turned out to be!
Very smooth and easy to get lighter shading. And what a
weird grade designation!
Since I drew my own nose on the last day of InkTober, of course, I had to draw an ear selfie for Pencilvember. You could say it was ear-resistible.
|11/30/23 Prismacolor Ebony (reference photo by spouse guy)
After trying briefly, I had to give up sketching my
own ear from a mirror, regretfully. . . it's too hard
to keep turning my head and looking through the side
of my eye.
|Contrary to what it says on the barrel, this
Ebony is neither "extra smooth" nor "jet
black." It was a huge disappointment for
this Prismacolor colored pencil fan.