I'll share my experience and opinions. When I was a beginner, I didn't know much about paper types and pencil grades. I would use a normal pencil that I would use in school. It was probably or
HB. And I used a thin paper. I didn't know about paper weight (GSM) thing.
But when I made a few drawings, I did better than I had imagined, but in a few days I started noticing problems.
First, the paper was getting distorted (you could notice by checking the back side of paper), because I used too much pressure to create darker shades. And then I had experience of getting irritated because drawing hairs in portraits seemed boring. It would look more time consuming to me, then it actually should take, because with a hard and lighter pencil, it's not easily possible to create the look and feel you want, especially the darker areas. You have to do some hard work. At that moment, I would often ask myself it it's really boring?
Further, I faced the problem of blending/blur. I couldn't easily do it because the pencil was hard and there wasn't enough graphite to smudge or get blur effect. Again, this would sometimes overwhelm me.
And if by mistake I would apply too much pressure to create darker lines, and later I would realize I need to erase it as it's gone wrong, I wasn't so easy to erase it with my non expensive eraser.
So if I have to give an advice to beginners now, I'd tell you following things:
- Go for a softer (darker) pencil. Anything between
5B should be fine. You can easily create lighter and darker shades. Further you won't need that much pressure. When you're beginner, you don't want to apply too much pressure. If you feel you also need a separate pencil for outlines or rough lines, you can buy maybe
- A softer (dark) pencil is a bit easy to blend (especially when you apply the graphite gently and then smudge it)
- Not always, but sometimes, when you start working with a less than suitable tool for something for which you have a little more expectations and capabilities, you might feel you're doing bad work. But that's not always true. It's a really good thing to see and experience basic things on your own, but sometimes, a little guidance can help you stay positive.
HB isn't a bad pencil or less than any other pencil. Like every other, it has its own value. Once you're experienced, you can even create good sketches with