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Suppose you have 6B pencil from some reputed brand. Now, if you can create various degree of shades using it. For example, if you use very less pressure and hold it at a very low angle (slanted), it will give less dark shades.

And if you use normal pressure, it will give darker values.

Now, I want to know if creating lighter shades from a darker pencil increases its chances of more smudge and smear (or maybe even blur)?

Personally I feel yes, and my theory is when we use less pressure, the graphite is not properly 'inserted' into paper texture. But when we use more pressure, it is more attached to paper. So that's why I feel so.

But that's only my speculation and personal observation a few times. I have tested it and it works especially when I have to create blur effect. I don't know for sure. I could be wrong too.

Something similar has been briefly mentioned here:

A note, pencils in the B range are softer and will smudge more and more obviously, so be extra careful with them. 4H and higher shouldn't smear very much at all, but they give you much lighter values.

But I want to know more in details if creating lighter shades from darker (soft) pencils actually increase the chances of getting it smudged and smeared?


PS: In case it helps to know why I want an answer: I want to know because I can get lighter shades from lighter grade like 4B or 3B pencils instead of using 6B with less pressure. So that will decrease chances of smudging. Both when we are drawing and after drawing is done and we review it after years!

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  • Not specifically what you are asking, but if you want to avoid smudging after your picture is complete, coat it with a lacquer or fixative.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 28 at 18:18
  • @RoryAlsop no, actually that question has already been asked. About avoiding smudging. I just want to ask if it is true or false.
    – Vikas
    Jul 28 at 18:21
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    I suspect you're right, but for a different reason. Pencil lead is a mixture mainly of graphite and clay. The higher the % of graphite, the softer it is. Say the darkness on the page is roughly proportional to the amount of graphite (lightly applied soft pencil = small amount of graphite; heavily applied hard pencil = small amount of graphite mixed with clay). Clumps of graphite from the soft pencil will smear more easily than the graphite/clay mix from the hard pencil. But the real test will take an experiment. :-)
    – fixer1234
    Jul 30 at 7:13

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