Nothing beats a pencil!

Graphic Designer Tatum shares her take on why a pencil is still an essential creative tool for both designers and artists.

In today’s computer-based creative world, you could be forgiven for thinking the pencil is a forgotten tool. Here at Mzuri, pencil often marks the start of our creative projects – from drawing sketches in client meetings to help visualise initial ideas for discussion, to presenting scamps of early design directions when timings or budgets are tight, through to sketching out layout plans for brochures or wireplans of a website. Pencil still provides the creative, cost-effective first step before ideas are brought to life on screen.

The simple, versatile tool for creative design

It took centuries of collaboration to develop this very simple yet perfect, versatile object. Unlike many pens, the pencil isn’t affected by its environment – whether it’s used upside down, underwater or even in space, it will still leave its mark.

There is a comfort when drawing in pencil to know that any mark you make can be erased if needed. I find this gives you a bit more creativity as there is much less pressure to get your idea right first time. However, before 1858 when American stationer Hymen Lipman patented the first pencil with an attached eraser, it was much harder to remove the marks. Incredibly, breadcrumbs were first used and then later, rubber and pumice.

Infinite potential for talented artists

Pencils come in such a variety from super soft to hard, to all the colours of the rainbow. And the possibilities they provide are breath-taking. There are some incredibly talented artists out there who only use pencil. You wouldn’t believe the black and white images created are not photographs. Paul Cadden’s hyper-realistic pencil drawings make him one of the best in the world.

‘These objects and scenes in my drawings are meticulously detailed to create the illusion of a new reality’ – Paul Cadden

© Paul Cadden. Images sourced from ‘Top Tenny’

Monica Lee is another photo-realistic artist who focusses on the details to make you believe the drawing is a photograph. Her main passion is drawing wildlife and her work has recently featured in the April-June 2018 edition of Sense of Malaysia Magazine.

‘I find wildlife very interesting to draw, their unique features are detailed and so different from ours. Drawing the Rhino was really challenging to me because of the details in the strokes and its skin, it took me a very long time to complete’ – Monica Lee from Sense of Malaysia magazine

© Monica Lee. Images sourced from Monica Lee’s Facebook page

To see such detailed, talented work crafted from such a basic tool is so inspirational. With all the design-tech in the world, my pencils remain my first love.

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