Advice & Guidance, Inspire, New products

Tried & tested: Unleash Your Creative Potential with Faber-Castell’s Matt Graphite Pencils!

12th October 2023 Estimated reading time: 5 mins

Graphite, often overlooked in the world of art supplies, is a true gem for artists. It’s a form of carbon that not only provides versatility but also a unique set of characteristics that can elevate your artistic endeavours. SAA’s Anita Pounder takes a closer look at why you should consider adding Faber-Castell’s Pitt Graphite Matt Pencils to your collection.

Faber-Castell Pitt Graphite Matt & Castell 9000 Pencils set and pencil drawing of a Wild Boar

A Spectrum of Shades at Your Fingertips

Did you know that a single graphite pencil can unveil a stunning array of grey tones? The secret lies in the pressure you apply when drawing. Light touches create delicate greys, while firm strokes yield bold, dark shades. It’s a world of possibilities right at your fingertips.

Graphite’s Hidden Secrets

Graphite is more than just a versatile medium; it’s also packed with surprises. It’s fade-proof, non-toxic, and erasable. Most graphite pencils are even waterproof, and some are designed to be water-soluble, opening up a whole new world of artistic techniques. You can even write underwater on synthetic paper – imagine the possibilities!

Grades and Core Magic

The graphite core, often referred to as “lead,” comes in various grades. These grades are determined by the clay-to-graphite ratio and the heat applied during manufacturing, which affects the core’s hardness or softness. This diversity lets you achieve a wide range of effects in your drawings.

Overcoming Glare and Sheen

Traditional graphite pencils have one drawback – they can create a glare or sheen. This can be problematic when photographing your artwork, especially if you’ve applied multiple layers or heavy pressure. But fear not! Faber-Castell has come to the rescue with their Pitt Graphite Matt Pencils.

Enter the Pitt Graphite Matt Pencils

Faber-Castell’s Pitt Graphite Matt Pencils offer a brilliant alternative. These pencils deliver a flat, matte finish that reduces reflection, resulting in deeper and darker tones. This means your artwork stays true to life even when digitally copied.

Faber-Castell’s Commitment to the Environment

Faber-Castell doesn’t just focus on quality; they’re also environmentally conscious. They continually improve their manufacturing methods, use sustainably sourced materials, and support reforestation projects. So, when you choose Faber-Castell, you’re making an eco-friendly choice.

A Tin of Artistic Possibilities

The Faber-Castell Pitt Graphite Matt & Castell 9000 Pencils set is a treasure trove for artists. It contains 8 Pitt Graphite Matt Pencils, ranging from HB to the rare 14B. These pencils offer a wide tonal range, from light grey to deep, velvety black.

Complementing them are 8 Faber-Castell 9000 pencils, known for their high-grade graphite. With grades from B to 8B, they add versatility to your toolkit. Plus, the set includes handy accessories like a blending stump, a white plastic eraser, a kneadable eraser, and a single-hole metal sharpener.

As with any new medium, I will create swatches and discover some of the possibilities on scraps or offcuts of different paper, looking at how the pencils feel on the surface, the tonal ranges they can achieve, and durability in comparison to the 9000 graphite pencils. These are observations and you will expect the pencils to have slightly different qualities depending on the surface used.

Swatches created using a range of Faber-Castell Pitt Graphite and Matt pencils

When creating the swatches, I always note:

  • The durability: The core of the Matt pencil was a little crumblier and softer compared to the 9000 graphite pencils. This meant that the core blunted quickly.
  • The sharpening: Both pencils have the same sized barrel which is easily sharpened using the enclosed single metal sharpener.
  • Feel the graphite 9000 pencils glided over the surface and if you rub your finger over a heavy layer of graphite you can feel the silkiness of the graphite. in comparison, the Matt pencils feel less smooth and silky and a little as you would expect from a Matt finish.
  • Tonal range: The matt pencils offered even in the hardest grade a much blacker finish compared to the graphite which remained grey even in the hardest grades. The softer Matt pencils were the darkest tones of black.

The type of paper as with any medium offers differing results and it is useful to see which surface worked for the pencils and your techniques.

The key feature for the Matt pencils is the lack of reflective shine which alongside graphite pencils the matt fat less reflective finish is clear and will make these popular with artists who are looking for deep rich blacks.

Swatches are important and useful, but it is by completing a full drawing that you can see the full potential.

 

Unleash Your Imagination

But, what’s the real test? It’s not just about swatches; it’s about what you can create. Take the plunge and dive into your art. Create, experiment, and bring your visions to life.

To do a true comparison, I used the same grades of pencils from each range and created the same image twice of Murphy the Mule – one in the graphite and once in matt.

I enjoyed building up the first drawing using graphite. This is a medium I am familiar with and used to using so knew what to expect.

The second drawing was created using the Matt pencils using the same techniques. I already knew through the swatches that soft smooth blending was a little harder to achieve with the matt pencils but adapted for this. I did note that the Matt pencils were cleaner to use than the graphite and I had to use the Kneadable eraser to clean up light unwanted smudges.

The matt pencils are a fantastic addition for any artist, especially pencil artists who have been looking for the deep blacks from a graphite pencil without the shine. I was impressed with the matt finish and the clean finish achieved from these pencils even though you do have to keep sharpening to keep a sharp point as they blunt quickly.

In Conclusion

Faber-Castell’s Pitt Graphite Matt Pencils are a game-changer for artists seeking rich, deep blacks without the shine. While they may require more frequent sharpening, the results are well worth it – clean, stunning, and devoid of any unwanted smudges. So, why wait? Elevate your artwork with these incredible pencils and discover a world of creative possibilities!

 

Two drawings of Murphy the Mule. One drawing is using Faber Castell Graphite pencils and the other is identical but has been created using the matt pencils.

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