Investigating drawing - Pencil

The pencil, probably an HB, is used to cross-hatch, the artist pressing down hard into the paper to make the opposing verticals and diagonals.

Sargent's vigorous pencil work is a tour de force: so simple in execution and materials but so complex in terms of conveying information about the sitter. The loosely portrayed interconnecting hands lead the eye to the roughed-in abstracted lower half of the drawing.

Alice Meynell (née Thompson), by John Singer Sargent, 1894 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Alice Meynell (née Thompson)
by John Singer Sargent
NPG 2221