How to Use Drawing Pencils: All You Need to Know

How to Use Drawing Pencils
Spread the love

Drawing is something most of us have been doing ever since we could pick up a crayon, a pencil, or even a pen. It is considered as one of the most uncomplicated artistic media which has several different forms. That is because all you need is a pencil and paper, and then you can get started. However, there is a whole lot to it, especially if you want realistic drawings. For instance, something as simple as how to use drawing pencils and what kind of pencils exists.

Hence, in this article, we will be speaking briefly about everything you need to know about drawing pencils.

Our Top Pick For Caricature Drawing

Draw Caricatures Quickly and Easily!

Learn More

How to Use Drawing Pencils: Types, Styles, and Techniques

If you have some knowledge about pencils or have read about it, then we are certain you have seen numbers that are followed by the alphabets H or B.

The numbers ranging from one to nine stand for the level of hardness of the graphite core. The higher the number, the higher the core will be. That means it will leave a lighter imprint. The lower numbers have a softer writing core; thus, leaving a darker imprint. Lower number pencils will tend to get dull quicker since the pressure on the paper will ultimately degrade the pencil tip.

H stands for the hardness or lightness of the lead, while B stands for how black is the mark of the lead. So, for example, if a low number is followed by B, like 3B, then, imprint left behind by the pencil will be very dark. If H follows a higher number, like 7H, what will be imprinted on the paper will be a light mark.

This may be confusing for beginners, especially to figure out the permutations and combinations. However, the general rule of the thumb is that you should use a harder pencil if you are working on an intricate and detailed piece. That will help you make those fine lines with ease. On the other hand, for stronger lines, something like drawing a cartoon character, it is ideal to use a softer pencil.

It is important to remember that when your pencil is softer, it is easier to take off those lines with an eraser. Even though harder pencils can make softer lines, they tend to put more pressure on the paper which ultimately makes it tough to erase.

Additionally, there are no standardized kinds of pencil amongst all manufacturers. For instance, when you buy clothes, a size S in one store could be a size M in another store. Same works for pencils. There is some kind of minor differences between each manufacturer. In cases like those, it is best that you try out each of them to check which one fits your needs perfectly.

Types of Pencils

There are several different kinds of pencils as well. Let us briefly tell you about the four popular ones:

Charcoal Pencils

As the name implies, the cores of these pencils are made out of compressed charcoal. These are typically soft and are capable of producing thick and rich black lines. Charcoal pencils are perfect for those who do impressionist drawing and quick sketches.

Graphite Stick Pencils

The pencils are made up of full and solid graphite sticks. These are ideal for getting thick and bold lines. These kinds of pencils are widely used for most types of art.

Colored Pencils

Unlike the classroom colored pencils, these pencils have a softer lead which is made of wax. It helps when you need to place some color onto the drawing or any artwork.

Watercolor Pencils

These kinds of pencils are entirely water based. Meaning, the lead within will effortlessly dissolve into water. Mixing these pencils along with colored pencils will give loud, creative, and vibrant colors.

Now that you already know the type of pencil to use for certain artworks, it is also important to learn how to do simple pencil techniques.

Easy Pencil Techniques

Once you have made up your mind which pencils suits you the most or what kind of pencil your project needs, you can try out some of the techniques we have listed below.

Gentle Outlines

By applying little pressure, you can create light outlines. This method is ideal when you want to create a sketch which serves as a template, which can later be drawn over by a pen or a darker pencil. A blunt pencil would work great for this technique.

Heavy or Bold Outlines

This method is ideal when you need to apply more pressure on the pencil to create a darker and bolder line. This method is typically used at the end of a finished drawing or if you are going to treat the line made as a permanent ink. Here, it is essential that you have a sharp point.

Hatching and Cross Hatching

Very similar to shading, hatching refers to a technique that is either too light or too heavy. You use just the point on the pencil and draw it in one direction, then lifting the pencil and drawing again in the same direction, extremely close to the previous line. The result will be a delicate and defined series of lines.

Cross-hatching is a continuation of hatching wherein you draw another set of lines going in the opposite direction over the previous lines.


This refers to the technique where you use the pencil to create tiny loops. This method works perfectly if you want to blend tones and shades.


In sketching, this is known as a shading technique. The lines drawn here are small, similar to dashes. This technique is typically used when you need to sketch the iris of the eyes or when you have to draw stubble hair.


We hope this article gives you all the relevant information you need on how to use drawing pencils. It is understandable that there is a ton of things to figure out, but over time, and by practicing daily, you will get the hang of it and eventually master the art of drawing with a pencil.

Our Top Pick For Caricature Drawing

Draw Caricatures Quickly and Easily!

Learn More

Click here to add a comment

Leave a comment: