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After getting a number of requests from readers, we have put together this huge drawing guide for you 🙂
Learn, Perfect and Master
In this post we also share the results of our Best Drawing Pencils research.
Looking for something specific? See our table of contents below.
In a hurry? Check out our Key Takeaways and top recommendations at the bottom of this post.
Something we forgot? Leave a question or comment at the end.
Best Drawing Pencils For All Your Art and Craft Needs
Whether you are learning to draw, experimenting with sketching, shading, rendering or creating a rough draft of a soon to be masterpiece, you’ll need to know what the best pencils for sketching are.
Using different drawing techniques, the use of pencils can have a stunning effect.
There are hundreds of pencils on the market and finding a set of pencils can be a tad overwhelming. That’s where this post has you covered.
We’ve done all the research for you, so you don’t have to. We’ve spent many hours scouring top authority sites and reading reviews to come up with this comprehensive list.
Get ready to be one with your best drawing pencil and create magic!
What To Look For In The Best Drawing Pencils
A Wide Range of Lead Grades
As with most art/craft mediums, creators will experiment with different pencil grades to see the effects they can create. Having a wide range of lead grades will allow this.
Consistent Lead Quality
Consistency and smoothness of graphite drawing pencils are essential. This will ensure the pencil produces the effect that users are expecting.
Be sure to watch out for leads that scratch the paper, you don’t want that in your drawing experience. Some leads may grip the paper more than others and that’s okay.
Easy to Erase Without Smudging
None of us are perfect and sometimes there is a need to fix a mistake by using an eraser.
You want to be using pencils that erase well and won’t leave smudges. You do want your finished drawing to look good!
When choosing pencils look for carefully crafted pencils made with high-quality wood. When sharpened the shavings are clean. Well made pencils are less likely to break or have chisel-sharp broken tips or splintered ends when sharpened.
Which Pencils Are Best For Beginners?
Experimentation is key when you are first starting out on your drawing journey. The best drawing pencil set for beginners needs to have a range of options. This allows you to work out what suits your style and what you create with different leads. Buying a selection of the best pencils for drawing with different grades would be a great way to start.
Do you consider yourself someone that can't draw? The video below shows some simple steps to prove that you can!
Why people believe they can’t draw - and how to prove they can
Understanding Grades Of Drawing Pencils
Grades of pencils refer to hardness and texture. H stands for ‘hardness’, F for ‘fine point’, and B for ‘blackness’.
The grades range from numbers 2 to 9. The letter following the number determines whether it is hard “H” or soft “B”.
In the middle where the two grades meet you will find things like HB, B, F (fine point) and H. Hard pencils are lighter in tone while soft pencils are darker.
So the actual order of the grades of pencils is like this:
9H 8H 7H 6H 5H 4H 3H 2H H F B HB 2B 3B 4B 5B 6B 7B 8B 9B.
Higher H Grades
Sharpen to fine points
Take longer to become blunt
Make light marks
Good for drawing details and preliminary drawings that you may not want to be permanent.
Help blend the edges of darker areas for a gradiated effect.
Higher B Grades
Soft, dark pencils with high proportions of graphite.
Become blunter quicker than other grades, but they are also smoother.
With different levels of pressure, these pencils produce the most variation between light and dark.
Excellent for filling in dark areas, like shadows and facial contours.
Middle Grades: 2H-2B
The middle grades contain relatively balanced levels of clay and graphite.
Dark enough to show up well but are still hard enough to keep a sharp point
Good all-purpose pencils.
Great for detailed work.
The standard sketching pencil is HB or 2B. Many people recommend this a great all-around go-to pencil, due to the lead falling between soft and hard.
Shading Techniques - How to Shade with a Pencil
by Matt Fussell
Learn shading applications such as hatching, cross hatching, blending, rendering, random or squiggly lines and stippling. Find out how to create the illusion of light with shading.
How to Hold and Control Your Pencil
Do you hold your pencil correctly? In this video, drawing educator and a painter; Stan Prokopenko, will show you a brilliant method of making your strokes more precise and less tiring.
How to Draw a Mandala
by Thaneeya at Art Is Fun
Drawing mandalas can be very relaxing, and it's you who decides what the final result is supposed to look like. So it can't go wrong! Follow Thaneeya's step by step tutorial
Learn How to Draw Cute Chibi Kawaii Pokemon Characters
Fan art is a great way to show your appreciation towards the creation of others. Do you like Pokemon? Then you'll love this series of simple tutorials!
How To SKETCH Like A Pro! - Tools, Tips, and Tricks!
Being able to sketch is an important part of any artist's toolbox. From a rough first draft to a finished masterpiece, sketching is a rewarding and simple art form. It can be done by anyone. But like any art form, it can be challenging and tedious. So for many people, this can end up as being more frustrating than enjoying. No one wants that, do they? Draw with Jazza has a fantastic video on how to Sketch, with tips, tricks, hints and more. From those starting out, to those who have honed their craft to perfection. This video has something for everyone.
Best Graphite Pencils For Drawing
From beginners to experts, having the right tools for your sketching needs is a great start. Having good drawing pencils is key to success. Here are some recommendations for graphite pencils.
Superb quality black lead pencil. High-density graphite encased in cedar wood. The manufacturing process ensures that the lead is centered within the wood casing, making it break resistant and easy to sharpen. Very high-quality drawing pencils.
1 Each: 2H, HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B, and Mono Zero Eraser (Round)
These pencils offer slightly darker color and are softer than other brands. Very easy to sharpen cleanly, They are exceptionally smooth and come in every grade from 10H - 10B.
Caran D’Ache in Switzerland is the country’s only pencil manufacturer and has developed luxury crafted graphite pencils. These pencils have been carefully developed to offer all the different shades of black, thick and thin lines and a range of effects. The most luxurious pencil and for most, well worth the investment.
Click to learn more or buy at Amazon
The consistency of the graphite encased in the quality wood is a wonderful feature of this pencil. Sharpens to a fine point and the bag that they come with are perfect for travel. Contains different grades of hardness and have superior black, break-resistant leads.
Click to learn more or buy at Amazon
These are woodless pencils have high quality graphite and sharpen consistently. Range of grades with strong points. Includes: 7 Turquoise drawing pencils (8B, 6B, 2B, B, 2H, 4H & 6H), 4 woodless graphite pencils (2B, 4B, 6B & 8B), 3 water-soluble graphite pencils (HB, 4B & 8B), 2 erasers (Magic Rub vinyl & kneaded rubber), 1 steel sharpener and 1 sanding board.
Click to learn on Amazon
These pencils are extremely break-resistant due to how they have been manufactured. They erase cleanly and the casings are made from sustainably-harvested cedar. Sharpening is a breeze with no cracks or splits. When in use they are smooth on the paper and easy to control.
Excellent quality and craftsmanship. They draw smoothly and the range of pencils allows for crisp, detailed work. They blend beautifully and sharpen well. Users commented on how comfortable they felt in their hand.
These pencils are smooth on the paper, great for shading and erase easily. Some of the best shading pencils. They are made of high-quality break resistant lead. Durable and lasting with a range of degrees from 4H-6B. (4H,3H,2H,H, F, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B)
Best Mechanical Pencils For Drawing
Sick of sharpening your pencils? Mechanical Drawing Pencils are the answer!
What is a Mechanical Pencil?
Traditional drawing pencils have the lead or graphite bonded and encased in wood.
Not so the mechanical pencil, they have a lead or graphite core that is extendable and also replaceable.
The outer casing is often made from plastic or metal with comfortable grips.
What to Look for in Mechanical Pencils for Drawing
Obtaining different lines is very important for sketching. Having different lead thicknesses offers more variety in the effects you can achieve. A 0.3mm mechanical pencil is commonly used for detailed drawing. The 0.5mm is commonly used for technical drawing but has been found to be very versatile to create all sorts of styles.
Plastic, Metal or wood barrels, are the choices in casing materials for mechanical pencils. Choose one that does not easily crack or break with consistent use.
How a pencil feels in your hand is something you can only figure out. The comfort you experience during your sketching sessions is important, particularly if doing so for many hours.
Refills Are Readily Available
When choosing a mechanical pencil, considered the availability and cost of the lead/graphite refills.
Why use a Mechanical Pencil?
- As we mentioned before, you may be sick of sharpening a wood-cased pencil. Mechanical pencils require no sharpening due to their thin lead.
- The line width stays the same, unlike a wood-cased pencil that writes a thin line when newly sharpened but as you continue to draw, the line gets thicker
- The balance of a mechanical pencil stays the same, unlike a wood-cased pencil which grows shorter as it is sharpened.
- You can keep a sturdy, durable mechanical pencil for years! You just have to refill the leads.
Best Colored Pencils For Drawing
Colored pencils bring wonder and delight to an art or craft project. Here are some recommendations for the best sketching pencils.
I hope that these recommendations help you make a decision on what drawing pencils you should purchase. Remember, it is always a personal decision when it comes to choosing your art materials. But hopefully, what I’ve presented here helps you make a more informed purchase.