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Many of you may know Tim Jennen as one of the helpful and knowledgeable staff at Wet Paint in St. Paul. Or you might know him from his Alternate Tim Jennens project on Facebook (which is fabulous). When Tim isn't at the computer he is just as talented with traditional media.
At the inaugural March 6 MetroSketchers sketch out Tim introduced me to what I like to call the "magic pencil." Now you all know I don't believe there is such a thing as a magic art tool of any type, but it would be nice to imagine we could all draw with such facility as Tim wouldn't it!?
In the meantime we can all do what? Practice of course!
General Pencil Company's Kimberly 9xxB is a fat leaded, fat barreled graphite pencil. (That is not a typo—it's 9xxB.) The lead is very black as you can see from Tim's sketch. Oddly it doesn't smudge as easily as most soft-leaded pencils I've worked with (perhaps there is a bit of magic in the pencil after all). It is a little gritty in feel when you use it (compared to soft leads from say Faber-Castell), but this isn't annoying, especially when you see the ease with which you can achieve dark values. It also holds a point well, even under pressure. Watercolor washes over drawings made with this pencil don't smudge unless you really start pushing with your brush. I've added matte medium and clear gesso over test drawings also without blurring the pencil lines.
I don't have my receipt handy, but I think the pencil costs about a buck. (Obviously I got mine at Wet Paint.) You'll want to make sure your pencil sharpener has a large hole. Then you're set to sketch!
Now all I have to do is convince Tim to let me print that Zebra on a T-shirt!
There is one other thing I need to do—give you all a heads up that Liz Carlson's MetroSketchers group is having its April sketch out on Sunday, April 3, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Mall of America! Sketchers will meet at the end of the sketch out on level 1 outside Bloomingdales at 2:50 p.m. to share sketches and adventures. We don't need to have a rainday (or snowday at the rate we're going) plan because we'll be protected! If you are looking for interesting architecture (there's an entire amusement park too); crowds of people to sketch; and to score some plain Moose Munch—this is climate controlled place for you!