What Pencils To Use for Drawing

What Pencils To Use for Drawing
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If you dream to become the next Pablo Picasso or Vincent van Gogh, then it can be a great help to have the right tools. When we say the right tools, we mean drawing pencils.

We all know that pencils are the back bone of almost any type of art. It is used to outline, shade, and detail drawings or sketches. Not all pencils are the same. There are many different types of drawing pencils that varies in sizes, shades, and uses.

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For doodlers, a standard graphite pencil may suffice, but if you are really serious in drawing different types of art and you want to incorporate a lot of different drawing techniques, then you may need to use other types of drawing pencils.

So, what are the different types of drawing pencils? The different types of drawing pencils most artists use are standard graphite pencils, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, and charcoal pencils.

Standard graphite pencils

This is the most commonly used type of drawing pencil. Almost anyone has this in their household. Graphite pencils has a wide variety of softness and thickness which can be identified using their grade scale.

There are 2 graphite scales artists can base on. First is the numerical scale and the second one is the HB scale. The numerical scale uses numbers to determine how hard or soft the lead of the pencil is. It is commonly found at the foot of a pencil.

The higher that number, the harder the lead is which results to a lighter shade when writing on paper. On the other hand, the lower the number, the softer the lead is which makes it easier and darker when writing on paper.

As for the HB scale, it uses letters such as H, B, and F. This type of drawing scale is usually used by pencil makers from other countries. The way the HB scale works is that each letter has a corresponding meaning.

H would correspond that the graphite is hard which makes it lighter on paper. B would mean the blackness of a graphite on paper. This is equivalent to the softness of the lead which makes it darker on paper.

Finally, F would mean that the pencil could be sharpened into a fine point. The HB scale can also combine the letters just like HB which means hard black or BBB which means extremely black.

Nowadays, the most common way of using the HB scale is by combining the letters with numbers. For example, a 6B’s lead will be softer than a 2B and a 4H’s lead will be harder than H.

There are countless brands of graphite pencils. Some of the most popular ones are Faber Castell, Caran D’ache, Prismacolor, and Lyra Rembrandt.

Colored pencils

This is another commonly used drawing pencil and are almost always present in any home especially those with children. They are very useful especially if you want to create colorful art.

Unlike crayons, colored pencils are easier to draw with and it allows you to provide a more detailed artwork with them. They can easily be blended and layered with different colors which gives you a lot more space for your creativity.

There are a lot of qualities you should look for in a great set of colored pencils. You have to consider its blendability, solubility, opacity, durability, erasability, vibrancy, hardness of the lead, and color variety.

There are many well-known brand of colored pencils nowadays. Some of the most famous ones are Faber Castell, Prismacolor, Uni Pericia, and Prussian Blue. Each of these brands have their own unique qualities so make sure you choose one that will fulfill your needs.

Watercolor pencils

Watercolor pencils are very similar to colored pencils. Just like colored pencils, they are available in almost all colors. What makes them different is that watercolor pencils are extremely soft and you need to use water to give it that watercolor effect. Because water color pencils are extremely soft, they easily dissolve in water.

Artists can either use a brush to blend the color with water, or they can dip the tip of the watercolor pencil in water and proceed drawing. Since watercolor pencils are meant to be used wet, you would need to use thick paper to avoid the paper from getting ripped.

There are many good brands of watercolor pencils available in the market just like Derwent Inkstense Pencils and Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle Pencils.

Charcoal pencils

Last on the list are charcoal pencils. This type of drawing pencils are mode from compressed charcoal which produces a very deep and dark shade of black. Because of its rich tones and versatility, it became a favorite of most artists.

Using charcoal pencils can take a while to get used to. There are also a lot of different techniques you can do when using this type of drawing pencil such as smudging and blending.

Charcoal pencils comes in 3 forms. Wooden charcoal pencil, paper-wrapped charcoal pencils, and white charcoal pencils. When using charcoal pencils, most artists would start off drawing the outlines with a light pressure and gradually apply pressure when adding details and finishing touches to the drawing.


Art has always been a huge part of our lives. It is used to express our feelings, showcase our creativity, and it can even send a message. Whether you are a casual doodler or you are aspiring to be the next Pablo Picasso or Vincent van Gogh, it is important that you use the proper drawing tools for your artwork especially pencils.

There are 4 main types of drawing pencils you should be aware of: standard graphite pencils, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, and charcoal pencils. Each of these drawing pencils has their own unique use and style. For fun and colorful drawings, you can use watercolor pencils or colored pencils.

For a dramatic sketch, opting to use charcoal can be the best choice. Do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the different varieties of these drawing pencils.

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