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  • #16
    For loose and idea roughs it's a good old No.2 pencil however, I'll also use them for tight finish drawings. It's as versatile as I want it to be. Keep it sharp and pressure control is key. 4H and 8H for preliminary tight pencils that are destined for even tighter redraws or inking. The occasional Ebony is put into use for when I want black hands and a dust storm swirling around about.

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    • #17
      This thread has reminded me of another pencil that I used to use quite a bit: the Schwan Stabilo All 8008. The B through H hardness grades don't really apply all that well to this pencil, but it's still quite soft (probably somewhere in the B range) and lays down a very dense black layer of graphite on anything from glass to metal to plastic to regular uncoated paper.

      I used to work at a newspaper, and the pencil was popular there because it could write on the acetate amberlith and rubylith overlays (yeah, pre-computer paste-up). But in addition to it's weird ability to write on anything, it's really a fantastic, very dark pencil that a few illustrators I've worked with love to use. My wife, for example, (who is an illustrator) loves this pencil.

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      • #18
        I think I've seen or maybe even used that Schwan pencil you speak of <b> in the past.

        I have an eternal cigar box full of pencils I've accumulated over the years but only raid it semi frequently. Probably my all time favorite drawing pencil is the Dixon Ticonderoga 1388-1 Ex-Soft. It can write on a variety of surfaces as well. It's just a basic gold painted office supply pencil with a pink eraser opposite the business end. Even though it's soft graphite, it doesn't crumble and powder like a similar soft range lead. Sharpens well, holds it point and performs more like a 2H. Maybe it's the way the makers compact the graphite, I dunno. Almost magical, lol. I haven't bought any lately because I still have several left. I don't even know if they still manufacture them.

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        • #19
          I like WHSmiths 2B but I haven't had one for a while.

          I have an orange thing with a tiger head on it that's good for hard purposes, and a softer, darker pirate pencil that seems just right on canvas. Both were gifts, sorry I couldn't be more helpful with the types!

          I miss WHSmith. This was a fairly useless response.

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          • #20
            I generally use a 2H, it's dark enough that my scanner can easily pick it up. In the event that it does show up a little light I open my scan in PS, duplicate the background layer and set the duplicate layer to multiply, then set that as a template in AI and away I go.
            Design is not decoration.

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            • #21
              I love Stabilos.

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              • #22
                I always use a mechanical pencil with 2H .3 lead
                "I used to wonder what friendship could be, Until you all shared its magic with me." - Jesus Christ

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                • #23
                  I'm with PD ... when I sketch ... just a good old No. 2 from the pen/pencil cup I like to sketch with a black roller tip pen as well.
                  _______________________________________
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                  • #24
                    Years ago I watched a great documentary about how a big ad agency (a large, famous Toronto firm) really tackles a campaign. What really struck me was the amount of time and effort the team of senior creatives put into coming up with and reviewing the ideas in group reviews with the Creative Head. It wasn't so much the number of ideas, but the form. They were all stick figure sketches done with Sharpies. Each looked like it took 30 seconds to do. But they discussed the IDEAS, and that's what was the interesting part. This is all pre-client presentation -- but because everyone understood the idea shorthand, they used that to quickly zero in on promising directions. The actual execution into client presentation form was actually the 'no-brainer' part, and left to the less senior designers who did a great job in a very short time of pulling all the pieces (photos, type, final layout etc) together. A place where the IDEA came first. Huh.

                    (Wish I worked in that kind of space!)
                    Last edited by Bob; 04-05-2012, 05:38 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Bob, that's really interesting. Do you remember what the documentary was called? If I could find it, I'd like to watch it.

                      I was able to job shadow at a large agency's office in Minneapolis. The workflow through a project was really cool to see. We got to see a couple of their "war rooms" where similar creative meetings took place. The walls were absolutely covered with quick drawings, story boards, etc. The production side of things was really nothing I found to be too special other than how fast they were. It was the creative side that I found truly awesome.

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                      • #26
                        I pretty much just grab a pen out of my coffee mug. Sometimes I'll use a mechanical pencil, but I find if I have an eraser - I use it too much. I really like the idea of using a big fat pencil or a sharpie to force you to simplify your lines and drawings.

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                        • #27
                          The agency was Geoff Roche's.... CBC Marketplace was the show-- I did a quick web search through the CBC archives, but came up dry.

                          Oh, and I think the client was Tip Top Tailors, of Toronto. The winning strategy was using male celebrities in full page shots with the tag... dang. Forgot it.

                          But that's another thing about big ad work. Roche's slogan has always been "outsmart, don't outspend the competition", but when you look at the work most of us do -- it's not 'campaign' level work. Most of my ad buyers want everything from one little ad, including all the content they can possibly squeeze in. And make that logo bigger, c'mon.

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                          • #28
                            I use whatever I can find on my desk.
                            http://brokenspokedesign.com

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                            • #29
                              Staedler / Mars or equivalent ( mechanical ), I start out with a 5H and narrow down to a 2H - HB. B series are too soft for preliminary layout lines I like the B series for darker backgrounds they are in my opinion more suited for fine art sketching, landscapes portraits and the like.
                              "After all is said and done, more is said than done."
                              Aesop

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                              • #30
                                Thanks for all the input guys! I did get a couple HB and F pencils and I like the HB quite a bit. The F isn't bad but the HB seems to be pretty close to the right balance for me. It takes much longer to wear the point down but is still pretty dark which was the main thing that was bothering me with the 4B. I appreciate the opinions and it was cool to see everyone's approach/mindset to concept sketches!

                                On a side note to Bob, I broke out my wife's 3DS and tried the draw feature and it was pretty interesting. Not only the blunt pen but also the small screen space really forces you to focus. Its definitely a cool option for concepts. I don't know what the DS is like but I have to use the "game notes" section on the 3DS because the built in drawing program makes you use these little cards that come with it. It uses it's camera to reference the cards positioning in 3D space and then when you draw it displays it in 3D above/around the card. It's kinda cool in a gimmicky way but not useful for logo concepts at all. The game notes section works well enough though and I might give it a shot on my next logo project just to see how it goes. Thanks for the idea!

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