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  2B? No, not 2B; SP; No JDMar 07, 2012 2:12 AM PST | url
Added 1 new A* page:It occurred to me that I now have inking tools--including a nice sharp brush and miniscule markers--that are more precise than my penciling tool, which since page 3 of episode 14 has been a 2 mm lead holder; at first it was nice to be able to make big black lines and test out shading and stuff, but lately I've found that I don't do much in the way of pencil shading anymore, since I just have to erase it for ink anyway, AND it's sometimes hard to get interesting details in small-scale pencil work, such as the figures in today's page--instead of being able to do sort of expressive stokes as I'd like, the best I can manage at that detail level with the 2 mm lead holder is just sort of rounded forms, which I then ink over in similar style, and the final effect is, perhaps, a little bland. So I think I'll try going back to my 0.5 mm mechanical pencil, at least for everything but the big brushy stuff.
That pencil being a different size of course takes different leads, and the lead I had been using in it was H, which is harder than the HB leads I've been using in my lead holder; and having thought about it, I realize now that the smearing problems I've been having with my lead holder pencil work lately could perhaps have largely been dealt with by switching from HB to a harder 2 mm lead. I do have some 2 mm 2H leads, but I gave those a try yesterday and they are just too darn scratchy.
So maybe H is the sweet spot for me after all. I scouted out a couple local office supply stores to see if I can restock my H 0.5 mm leads around here, and nope, that is not one they carry: it's almost all HB (which according to Wikipedia (see following link) is roughly equivalent to the #2 pencil I was raised on decades ago in grade school), with a smattering perhaps of 2B and 2H.
In case you're wondering what these silly abbreviations mean, they're the old and rather odd pencil lead grading scale, which goes from the hardest, 9H, to the softest (and blackest), 9B; lower "H" numbers are softer than higher "H" numbers, and lower "B" numbers, while softer than "H" numbers, are harder than higher "B" numbers; Wikipedia has a pretty good linear chart of how that works here; this one that I can actually include in the post is a little harder to read all broken up into two columns, but maybe you'll get the picture-- Oh heck, it's public domain, so I'll rearrange it:
modified from the original image by Untitledmind72 (source)
Notice how it gets a little wacky in the middle. :P
Koh-i-Noor, the Czech art supply company whose crazy name I discussed recently, actually makes a super-hard "10H" pencil, according to Wikipedia; I haven't seen one of those, but I was pleasantly surprised to find some super-black 9B pencils at my local art supply superstore; they are Cretacolor "Monolith" pencils, and here's an online listing with a good photo of one; I love how they're just a solid, pencil-shaped shaft of graphite ("made with the purest graphite from Austria, formed into a 7 mm solid stick with a protective lacquer coating")--really rather impressive to hold! I was tempted to get one just to add to my burgeoning art supply museum I guess, but I had to confess I didn't really have a use for it.
Speaking of my drawing tools, I had another of the disposable Copic Multiliner markers I've been using along with the brush for inking dry up on me all of a sudden--and it was the 0.1 mm size, which was rapidly becoming my favorite. Fortunately my backup set had just arrived, so no interruption there, but that made me realize that the disposable ones may be a bit of a gamble; you can't see how much ink is in them, so they could dry up on you at any time--and those drying quickly for whatever reason could start to add up to $$$. So I ordered a condensed set of the "SP" Multiliners, which are their non-disposable versions: aluminum pen bodies with replaceable nibs and ink cartridges; I'd avoided these at first because the price for a nib ink cartridge exceeds the cost of a single disposable marker, which has both, BUT it seems like the ink is likely to expire way before the nib, and the cost of an ink cartridge is way less than a full disposable marker. So we'll see how those do (although after ordering them I realized the little metal tool to help pop out the nibs and cartridges for replacement is not included with either of those items, and in fact isn't even carried by the place I ordered them from; oh well, supposedly you can use something else, like a coin (?)).
By "condensed set" I meant that instead of getting SP versions of all the disposable ones that came in the sets I've been getting (mm tip sizes 0.03, 0.05, 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.8, 1.0, and "brush" tip sizes S and M), I just got the ones that really seem usefully distinct: 0.03, 0.1, 0.5, 0.7 (that's the biggest the SPs go), and the S "brush" (no "M" brush, which is actually useful on its own, so maybe I'll just keep getting disposable ones of that; I've been using the two "brush" tip markers for things like the ground stippling on these last two pages; they're also very handy for spot touch-ups of big black areas, and especially for touching up over a spot I've already covered in white ink, since they disturb the white ink (which is not waterproof, ugh) much less than the regular marker tips or even a regular paint brush.
I'm done with jury duty! Whew. At the very end of two days of waiting I was called in to sit on a jury panel for a trial, but it was due to go at least a week and a half, and I cried and said I lose income if I can't work daily, which is perfectly true (thank you for your daily visits to the comic :D <3), and the judge took pity on me and let me scuttle away. So we do indeed continue on uninterrupted with a new page tomorrow (once I get it drawn, of course), huzzah!
And because it has been made clear to me that some of you young'uns aren't aware of this, consider this a public service warning of a certain dreaded interstellar plague: beware! (Warning: crude '80's humor and effects. :P)
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