I've always enjoyed drawing pencil portraits. My favorite medium is graphite pencils. They have the capability to achieve dark shadows and light highlights. Because of the softness of the pencils, they're easy to produce a smooth gradient of shades. I use a variety of graphite pencils when I draw a portrait. The pencils I use range from a semi soft leaded pencil (2B) to an extremely soft leaded (8B). Graphite pencils have two different ratings to determine the "hardness" of each pencil. Pencils that have an "H" indicates that these pencils are hard. Pencils with "B" indicates that the pencils are black, which also means a softer lead that creates a darker image. The lower the number on the pencil, the harder the lead will be. I prefer not to use the H pencils. Because of the hardness, they don't blend well and they are too light for portraits. When I want a light line to use as a guide for an image I plan on detailing, I prefer a 2B. I can use light pressure to make the lines as light as I like and because of the softness, I am able to easily erase any guidelines that I don't want showing on my finished product. I use 4B and 6B for all the mid tones in my drawings and then I use an 8B for the darkest values of the drawing. A blending stump is used to blend the pencil marks together, creating a smooth texture. Tortillon is the technical name for the blending stump. It is a cylindrical drawing tool, tapered at the ends and usually made of rolled paper. I also use a kneaded eraser with my illustrations. A kneaded eraser is a soft, stretchy eraser that can be shaped to form any size to brighten small or large areas.
Starving artist trying to get noticed...(and not starve)