A pencil is an instrument for writing and drawing on paper. It consists of an interior strip of solid material that produces marks used to write and draw. The marking material is most commonly graphite.
Pencil lines have the special property that they can be erased easily and almost without a trace (if they haven't been drawn with too much pressure), using an eraser or "rubber".
For colored pencils, see crayon.
Many pencils, particularly those used by artists, are labelled on the European system using a scale from "H" (for hardness) to "B" (for blackness), as well as "F" (for fine point). The standard writing pencil is "HB". However, artists' pencils can vary widely in order to provide a range of marks for different visual effects on the page. A set of art pencils ranging from a very hard, light-marking pencil to a very soft, black-marking pencil usually ranges from hardest to softest as follows:
The American system, using numbers only, developed simultaneously with the following approximate equivalents to the European system.
|#2 ½ *||=||F|
Pencil drawings on paper are most likely the majority of all drawings today, because of the good erasability of pencil lines, and the inexpensiveness of both pencils and paper.
In former centuries, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci would draw with other instruments such as charcoal or ink, and paper was not commonly used for writing and drawing until the 14th century when it gradually replaced parchment.
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