Editor's Note: Painstaking detail is what you need if you have not yet mastered this simple task.

How to Use a Pencil

You may know how to sharpen, flip and even break a pencil, but do you really know how to use one? Lets cover the basics here with a beginner's guide to using a pencil.

 Steps

1. The first step is to decide which hand you wish to use in this task. If you're a right hander, you may wish to hold the pencil with your right hand, though using your left hand is also an option.

2. The next step is to choose which pencil you wish to write with. Like people, pencils come in all shapes and sizes, and each pencil has its own unique qualities. Here's your chance to really get creative, selecting whatever pencil you wish.

3. Now that you have selected both your hand and pencil, I'm sure you really want jump right in, scribbling everywhere, but first you need to prepare your grip. This is the most complicated task, and it may take multiple attempts before you find a comfortable grip. A good grip will firmly hold the pencil in place, ensuring no unwanted lines.

4. The three fingers primarily used in a pencil grip are the index, middle and thumb. If you do not have these fingers, please consult a specialist guide. Firstly, press the tip of your index finger against the grip, with the fingernail pointing in the direction of the lead, pressing your thumb against the other side at the same time. Next, bring down your middle finger to act as a third support, just next to your index finger. Allow your fingers to relax a little.

5. Once you have established your grip, you're ready to get down to business. With your grip firm, press your pencil down to your already prepared piece of paper at an approximately 70 degree angle, adjusting pressure as necessary in order to ensure that the lead does not break. To start, try drawing a simple 'O' shape, getting a feel for the texture of the paper and the feel of the pencil meanwhile.

 Tips

* Pencils can be found and bought from many places. Stationary stores, for example, are an excellent resource, though it should be noted that sometimes the clerk will look at you funny.

* There are many different types of lead. HB, designed for general purpose writing, is good for beginners and people without special needs. 2B is also very popular for its dark shading, though it is softer so it may take some adjusting to. If you find that you often apply too much pressure and break the lead, try a tougher lead.

 Warnings

* Pencil leads can be deceptively sharp, so be sure always to have it aimed at the paper when you are holding it. NEVER POINT A PENCIL AT A FRIEND.

* Mechanical pencils may look better, but they're never as reliable and will often be stolen by the kid sitting next to you who always seems to forget his pencil.

* A bad grip can lead to severe hand cramps. If your grip is not comfortable, adjust immediately to avoid serious complications.

* Pencils WILL break if left in the open! Ensure that you have a pencil case or similar to store your pencils, so that they do not break.

 Things You'll Need

* A Pencil

* A Piece of Paper


Article added: 23 November 2009



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