The pencil is my main instrument. The first thing that I use to create. Especially to make sketches and ideas. There are few people in the world who never had a pencil in their hand. It is a very simple and inexpensive article, consisting of a mixture of graphite and clay, with a wooden sheath. Many clay and graphite gives a little hard pencil, many graphite and few clay gives a soft pencil. The most common pencil is about 18 centimeters and you can draw a line of ± 55 kilometerwith it. You can grind the point 17 times and write 45,000 words.


Seeing a box of crayons for me is as watching a box of candies or chocolates. I remember that during my time at Art Academy, a friend, also a student, had one of those wonderful boxes of pencils of very high quality. He was very proud of it. I remember how we as fellow students (we were about 7) looked at it as if it was the greatest treasure. I’ve always dreamed about such a box.


History of the pencil

Since prehistory, objects were used to draw and write based on charcoal. It seems that in the sixteenth century in England people began using graphite for marking sheep. These graphites were put on the market in small rods that easily could brake. To prevent dirty hands the graphite was turned into a string. The history of the pencil began with the invention of a German, Kasper Faber in 1767. He was fond of chemistry and mixed graphite with powdered sulfur, antimony and resin, until there arose a mass that was stronger than pure graphite. Conté, chemist and inventor, produced in 1790, the first pencils, made of graphite, powdered clay, pressed together in ceramic form. This method gave way to modern pencils. Most pencils are made of cedar. The smell of the wood spreads when grinding. The current produced crayons are made with painted kaolin.

Pencil technique

It is a simple instrument of high technical wealth, which you can perform in different effects: – Depending on the pressure or the curvature of the point – shows the different shades in the drawing – You can fade the color with a finger or apply shadows, you can create surfaces with different color tones – Possibility to correct through erasers, while applying effects with this. It is said that a good pencil is made of graphite from Siberia and American cedar. I think the box of my friend was full of them.


Photos: Ángeles Nieto


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