Believe it or not, until maybe the 1990’s, all I used for my art was a number 2 mechanical pencil. I never tried any type of graded pencil. I was slow to embrace the need for different grades of pencils to achieve more dynamic images through contrasts. My works after investing in a set of drawing pencils are substantially better, but the lessons I learned trying to create pictures with a simple mechanical pencil helped me take advantage of my new tools.
A lot of the techniques I had learned, using blending stumps and soft erasers, were just as important with the graded pencils. Only the degree of use changed. Now I have finally moved into the digital age by using my laptop and Gimp 2.8, yet, some of the same principles still hold true from my pencil work. I think that pencil drawing was a fundamental necessity for becoming the artist that I am and I will always have a soft spot for great pencil works.