2B or not 2B that is the artists question

2B or not 2B that is the artists question

I was asked a question yesterday whilst I was teaching an art class, that I didn’t know the answer to. I felt though that it was one that was so simple, and so important to an artist that I SHOULD know the answer to it and which puzzled me slightly as to what would be the answer.

The question I was first asked was “Why did you tell me to use a B pencil to draw out the picture I am going to paint, Jackie?”

My answer was “Because its a nice soft pencil to use to do the drawing” .

My pupil then noticed that her pencils had markings on them that she hadn’t noticed before, and I explained about normal pencils that most people use in every day life, from school, to what a stationers would sell, would be an HB pencil. Its an all round pencil that makes a nice mark.

But going towards the harder end of the pencils are the H side, from H, to 2H, to 4H (I think that’s as far as my selection of artists pencils goes, 4H).

But, towards the softer end of the pencils are the B’s… B, 2B, 4B, 5B, and the softest one I have is a 7B.

I did some tonal blocks to show the pupil what they each did and the way to build up darker tones by cross hatching the darker B’s over the lighter but harder H’s.

“Ah, I can see what you mean ” she said. Looking back

And then, picking up the 4H she said “So, H stands for Hard?”

I looked at her and said “I presume that it might do, but I don’t know what the letters actually stand FOR ….”.

And what does “B” stand for, she asked  – Softer?”

“Er, I don’t know I replied. I’ll have to find out…. ”



But since then I have found out……………. and its simple… of course its simple…

H is for Hard


B is for Black !

The softer pencils make a blacker mark!


I've been an artist all of my life, and my paintings now hang on walls in Europe, USA and Canada. I'm working on getting them on the other continents! My wide range of artwork has been exhibited nearer to home in the East Midlands, with the Guild of Erotic Artists at Beaumont Hall Studios in Hertfordshire, and at "Erotica", Olympia, London. I have also been featured alongside my work in the Guild of Erotic Artists book (volume 2). I love to create dramatic interest in my pictures, whether it’s to paint an unusual landscape, or just to utilise dramatic lighting in my figure drawings or strong colour in my animal portraits. Delighting in the spontaneous tendencies of watercolour adds an interesting and distinctive look to my paintings, some of which are purposefully ambiguous, enabling the viewer to use their own interpretation of my artwork. I also love to hide images, and humour within my paintings, whether it’s a secret message, or an erotic couple hidden within a landscape, or even an erotic landscape where the couple are camouflaged as the features of the land itself. I am equally happy painting in oils, acrylics or watercolours and love to draw with pencil or ink. I have also developed the very effective method of drawing using white pencil on black card which creates dramatic pictures by just picking out where the light catches the body and leaving the rest of the image to the imagination, in darkness. I can also utilise many different styles, whether it is realistic, abstract, surrealistic, erotic, fantasy or camouflage art where something is hidden within the painting. I'm just passionate about my art, whatever I paint! But, it doesn't matter how many landscapes or pet portraits I paint, its always the erotic stuff that people are interested in! I started blogging to share some of the strange conversations I have with the people I meet. But its evolved into far more than that now.

Comments (3)

%d bloggers like this: