Faber-Castell Pitt Matt Graphite Pencils - First Impressions

Badger drawn on white paper with Faber-Castell Pitt matt graphite pencils

I recently got some of the Faber-Castell Pitt matt graphite pencils to try. I find drawing in graphite good for improving my use of values, something which I know I need to progress on. 

When I use graphite I find the softer grades give considerable shine, so I really wanted to try these in case I wish to photograph or scan work later on. I got the smaller set which contains a 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B, 10B and 12B.

I was a bit apprehensive that they were all B pencils, because I find the softer grades more challenging to work with. Doing a lot of nature studies it's difficult to keep a decent point on softer pencils so I tend to use ones between H and 4B for most of my work.

I was surprised how hard the matt graphite actually are in practice. They don't feel like the buttery soft B grades of pencil at all. I generally use a knife to sharpen my pencils and it's not uncommon to have whittled away B grades of pencil quickly trying to keep points, so I was glad these are easy to sharpen to a nice point.

Using the pencils I felt like the 2B feels more like an H/HB to me. It certainly gives a similar lighter tone that I'm used to using on my work. The oak leaf in my sketchbook is a fairly typical mid to light tone I utilise. The sketchbook is Seawhite cartridge paper and took the pencils well.

Tortillons are something I use regularly when drawing just to speed things up, although it is good practice to work without them sometimes. I found that the pencils blended reasonably well with them, although not quite as easily as regular B grade pencils.

Moving onto the badger drawing I used what I would call a hard surfaced paper for this, with a slight tooth, and struggled a little bit. The pencils didn't glide as well as I'd have expected and I had to work really hard to build up the darker colours, even with the 12B. I was wondering if perhaps I'd wasted my money, so I decided to try another drawing on a softer paper.

long eared owl drawn in an illustrative style in Faber Castell Pitt matt graphite pencils

I love drawing long eared owls, and I chose Daler Rowney heavyweight cartridge paper for this. It has a softer, smooth, surface and is slightly off white. I liked how the pencils performed much better on this paper, and I was also starting to get the feel of using them a bit more. 

Due to the fact they're harder than a standard B pencil they worked well for doing the details in the feathers. Building up the darkness required for the pupil was also easier, and they blend beautifully on this paper. I enjoyed doing this and it helped me to like the pencils more.

I didn't see any unwanted shine on my drawings, however I don't tend to use the very dark blacks and shadow tones others do in their work. I certainly had no issues with reflections photographing the work.

I use a lot of Faber-Castell products and they're always excellent quality. These pencils are no exception. They're well made and feel lovely in the hand to use. Just the right diameter, and that does make a difference to comfort if you draw for a long period. After having got used to them, and got over my expectation of B grades being very soft, I enjoyed them once I'd found a suitable paper.

I used the following products -
Faber-Castell Pitt matt graphite pencils 
Seawhite A4 sketchbook 
Clairefontaine Paint'On white
Tortillon blending stumps 

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