9H is the lightest and hardest graphite pencil. So a B6 is softer and darker than a B2. An 6H is harder and lighter than a 2H and much harder and lighter than a HB or a B pencil.
The degree of hardness of a pencil is printed on the pencil.
These pencils are soft. H stands for "hard". HB stands for "hard black", which means "medium hard".
Lead pencils are graded on a scale from No. 1 to No. 4 based on how much graphite is inside the core. The #1 pencils are the softest, while the #4 pencils are the hardest.
H and HB's are generally good for sketching. 4B and 6B's are preferred for shading. HB and 2HB's are ideal for writing purposes. B pencils tend to produce more 'shine' than H's.
B on its own is just a little softer than HB. 2B, 3B and 4B are increasingly soft. Further up the range, 9B is the very softest lead available, but so soft and crumbly that it's rarely used. Anything over 4B is probably too soft for most people's day-to-day use.
The 19 degrees of graphite pencil hardness are: 14B, 12B, 10B, 8B, 7B, 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, and 6H. Graphite pencils with hardness degrees of 3B to 8B are ideal for artistic, pictorial drawing with their very soft to extra soft, very black graphite.
The "F" pencil is similar in mark to an "HB" pencil, only slightly lighter. Like an "HB" pencil, it is capable of producing darker and lighter marks, but without any extremes. The graphite material found in an "F" pencil is slightly harder than an "HB" pencil meaning that it can stay sharp for a longer period of use.
2 and/or HB pencils are widely considered to be the ideal lead grade for writing (and they're required for many standardized tests), which makes this Golden Bear pencil a perfect choice for elementary school and beyond.
2b pencils are good for drawing your initial sketches because they are hard enough to create crisp lines that are easy to erase, yet soft enough to create lines that are dark enough to be seen. Any pencils within the 2H to 4B range can be great choices that are just the right hardness for sketches.
4H-2H: These create a very light mark and are ideal for technical drawing, outlines, light sketches and guide lines. H, F, HB and B: A popular go-to for simple sketches and writing. HB is often used as a multi-purpose pencil because it's clear enough to write and draw but has minimal smudging.
9H is the lightest and hardest graphite pencil. So a B6 is softer and darker than a B2. An 6H is harder and lighter than a 2H and much harder and lighter than a HB or a B pencil. Sometimes you can find an F pencil which is a slightly harder version of HB, meaning you can sharpen it to an even finer point.
The “Ultimate” pencil, Limited Edition of the Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil, which is offered at $12,800. Only 10 of this classic pencil is crafted with 240 year-old olive wood and 18-carat white gold, and includes a built-in eraser and sharpener have been made, and there are only about 5 left in the world.
The letter 'F' indicates a pencil that sharpens to a fine point. HB. A combination of letters, for example, 'HB' means the pencil is hard and black.
What is an F pencil used for? F pencils are optimal tools to use for writing just as HB pencils are. Since the tip of an F pencil is slightly pointier and harder than the tip of an HB pencil, you can also use the F pencil for any kind of precise freehand drawing.
For simple sketching, the HB pencil is probably the most popular, with artists also favoring the H and the B pencils.
The more easily a graphite mark will smudge – the more easily it will erase. So no matter how lightly you draw with a hard pencil (6H) it will be harder to erase than a soft pencil (HB or 2B).
This means that pencil hardness travels from the softest on the left (9B) through to the hardest on the right (9H and F). The harder a pencil is, the lighter a mark it makes. The softer a pencil is, the darker a mark it makes.
Numbers are then used to indicate the degree of softness - the higher the number the softer the lead and the blacker the mark. For example, a 2B lead is softer than a B lead and will produce a blacker mark. A 4B lead is softer than a 2B etc.
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Generally, the B pencil is good for medium to light shading. The 2B is nice for medium to dark shading. You should be able to get a good range of tone (value) out of both, from quite light through a nice dark.
Graphite is relatively nonpoisonous. There may be no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may include stomachache and vomiting, which could be from a bowel obstruction (blockage).
Most modern pencils use the HB Graphite Scale, and are given a grade to indicate the level of hardness. The grades run from 9H, the softest and lightest lead, through to 9B which is the darkest lead.
Here's a myth buster: There is no lead in pencils. Rather, the core is made up of a non-toxic mineral called graphite. The common name “pencil lead” is due to an historic association with the stylus made of lead in ancient Roman times.