Types of Drawing Pencils

Types of Drawing Pencils
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Pencil Drawing is one of the most common and basic type of drawing instruments. All artists started using pencils first before using any other type form of art media. Pencil drawing is also used for outlining and sketching your draft for painting or other different media that you choose to use.

Additionally, pencils are cheap, easy to use, and accessible to buy. Beginners are recommended to use pencils first to practice their drawing because it is easy to use and is an accessible method to create drawings.

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Many believe that pencil drawing is a stepping stone for any artist who wants to develop and hone their craft. It is also believed that pencil drawing is a solid foundation of any artist to improve and level up to other forms of art like sculpting, painting, and even digital media.

There are different types of drawing pencils that you can use to achieve the effect, style, and composition of drawing you want.

These are the four types of Drawing Pencils:

Graphite Pencils

These are the most common pencils for drawing. There are a wide variety of pencils that you can choose from depending on how soft or hard your drawings you want it to be.

They are labelled as “H” for hardness and “B” for blackness or softness. The range start from 9H to 9B. The complete line of drawing pencil grades are: 9H, 8H, 7H, 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H, HB, F, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9B.

The higher the number for H, the harder the pencil and the higher the number for B, the softer the pencil is. It is advised that you should use “H” pencils for outlines, guidelines, and preliminary sketching since it’s hard to smudge and give cleaner lines and “B” pencils is smooth and easy to draw with.

It’s perfect for details and finalizing your drawing. Graphite pencils are also smoother to apply than charcoal. Beginner artists and students are recommended to start using Graphite pencils first before any other medium to gain experience in creating their artwork.

Charcoal Pencil

This medium is said to be favorite of many artists since it’s easy to blend and to erase. It can also be used for quick sketches as it is very soft.

It also produces deep and rich black tones when sketching. Charcoal pencils are often used for nude drawings, small objects, and landscapes.

There are three basic forms of charcoal; pencil, vine, and stick. Pencil charcoal are best for small drawings. It produces fine points and is cleaner to use than other types of charcoal pencils.

Vine charcoal is dark grey, soft, and tends to be messy when used. Stick charcoal is used to make the darkest shades for sketching, and filling in drawings.

Colored Pencils

These pencils are ideal for beginners and artists alike. It is made from wax or oil, and is easily blended and layered together to produce complex tones.

Colored pencils are very great in producing photo-realistic drawings. Colored pencils are also commonly used in drawing animation in studios as they are easily erased and don’t smudge that easily.

There are two different types of colored pencils; Artist-grade colored pencils and Student and scholastic grade colored pencils.

Artist-grade colored pencils have higher quality in pigments and are recommended for professional artists. Student and scholastic grade colored pencils have lower quality than artist-grade ones and is best suited for beginner artists and students.

Watercolor Pencils

These are like colored pencils but can be treated as watercolor if used by brushes dipped in water. It is unique form of art since not a lot of artists use this type of medium.

Watercolor pencils can be layered and combined together just like watercolor paint but it does not layer the same like colored pencils. It is also great for intricate details that may be difficult to achieve using a brush unlike watercolor paint. They are flexible, and inexpensive. Watercolor pencils can also be used as dry like colored pencils.

Why choosing the type of drawing pencil is important?

It is very important to be knowledgeable in choosing the drawing pencil you need to use for your drawing because it helps you achieve the best representation of your artwork. Additionally, it also helps you to create your sketch or drawing easier and faster.

Knowing and understanding how each type of drawing pencils behave will definitely make a huge difference on how you will complete your artwork.

For example, if you need to create an outline first, you may want to use “H” graphite pencils first so you can create a guide on how you want your drawing to look like. From there, you can work your way up and use charcoal, if you want to achieve darker, and smoother tones for your drawing; colored pencils if you want to create photo-realistic or cartoonish style; watercolor pencils if you want it to have a watercolor paint-like effect.

It also does not hurt to experiment and try all types of drawing pencils so that you can decide what type pencils you are most comfortable in using. These wide variety of drawing pencils can show you what their capable of doing.

You can see each strengths and weaknesses of the drawing pencils and you will learn more on how to take advantage of each pencils for you to improve your drawing.

It is also important to note that there are no rules in drawing. Drawing is a reflection of who you are or who you want to be, how you want to depict the things around you, how you want to express those things in paper. 


Whatever media you wish to use, it is also important to remember that aside from using high quality pencils, a ton of practice will make you a better artist. The composition of your work and how you want to express yourself in your drawings is the most important thing. The universe, world, and your imagination is your limit.

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