The Best Drawing Pencils of 2023
Drawing and sketching are essential techniques for every artist, and having the right pencil can elevate your art to the next level. The market is filled with a wide variety of pencils, each with its own unique features and benefits. To help you find the best drawing pencils of 2023, we have compiled a comprehensive guide that takes into consideration factors such as quality, versatility, and user-friendliness. Whether you're a beginner or a professional artist, this guide will provide you with the information you need to find the perfect pencils for your next project. From graphite pencils to coloured pencils, we will help you navigate the options and find the best pencils to suit your needs.
What are drawing pencils?
A drawing pencil is a pencil that is specifically designed for drawing and sketching. It typically consists of a thin graphite core encased in a wooden or plastic barrel. The graphite core can range in hardness, from soft to hard, which determines the darkness and intensity of the mark it makes. Soft graphite pencils, such as 2B or 4B, produce darker and more intense marks, while harder graphite pencils, such as 2H or 4H, produce lighter and finer marks. In addition to graphite pencils, there are also coloured pencils, which have a core of coloured pigments encased in a wooden or plastic barrel. These coloured pencils can be used to add colour to drawings and sketches.
What are the Different Kinds of Drawing Pencils?
There are several different types of drawing pencils, each with its own unique features and benefits. Some of the most common types of drawing pencils include:
- Graphite pencils: These are the most traditional type of drawing pencils and are made of graphite mixed with clay. They come in a range of hardness levels, from 9H (the hardest) to 9B (the softest) and are used to create a range of tones from light to dark.
- Charcoal pencils: These pencils are made of compressed charcoal, which creates a more intense and dramatic effect than graphite. They are great for creating bold, dark lines and are often used for figure drawing.
- Coloured pencils: These pencils are made of pigments encased in a wooden or plastic barrel, and come in a wide range of colours. They are used to add colour to drawings and sketches.
- Pastel pencils: These pencils are similar to coloured pencils, but have a softer, more powdery texture that allows for more blending and layering.
- Mechanical pencils: These pencils have a thin graphite lead that is protected by a mechanical mechanism, and they are ideal for fine and precise work.
- Watercolour pencils: These pencils can be used dry for drawing and sketching, or can be used wet for creating watercolour effects.
- Compressed charcoal: These pencils are made from charcoal that has been compressed and bonded with clay and wax. They create a rich, intensely black, and are particularly good for large-scale drawings, as they can produce a very dark line.
Ultimately, the type of pencil you choose will depend on your specific needs and preferences as an artist.
9 Best Drawing Pencils for Artists 2023
The Faber-Castell Pitt Charcoal Pencils are an artist's dream come true. Crafted with a proprietary soot carbon mixture, they produce the deepest possible black and is resistant to fading. Conveniently formulated for sketching and shading projects of all kinds, these pencils bring your creative vision to life with professional quality results.
- Rich in high-quality pigment
- Perfect for sketching, shading and line work
The Faber-Castell 9000 Art Set is a masterfully crafted set of graphite pencils and an attractive tin, making it the ideal gift for art professionals or those just starting out. This package contains 12 different grades ranging from 8B to 2H, perfect for all your drawing needs such as sketching, graphic design and writing projects. Each grade offers its own unique range in strength - while soft 8B produces dark black lines on paper; hard 2H provides subtle grey hues that add delicate detail to any artwork!
- Top-quality graphite pencils
- Suitable for drawing, drafting, graphic design, sketching, and writing
- Includes 12 pencils with varying grades: 8B to 2H
- Produces deep graphite black to a subtle grey hue
Staedtler Mars Lumograph Pencils serve as the perfect companions to any artist or graphic designer. With a wide range of different grades from 2H, H, F and HB up to 8B pencils - each crafted with premium quality for the writing, sketching and drawing - you'll be sure to find something that suits your creative needs!
Tin of 6 includes: 8B, 7B, 6B, 4B, 2B, HB
Tin of 12 includes: 8B to 2H
Tin of 24 includes: 12B, 11B, 10B, 9B, 8B, 7B, 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H, 7H, 8H, 9H, 10H
- Ideal for sketching, drawing, and writing
- Large selection of different grades of pencils
- Perfect drawing tool for artists and graphic designers
Derwent Graphic Pencils provide the perfect tool for every artist. Featuring smooth, fine lead and a hexagonal barrel that fits in your hand comfortably, these pencils come in various grades so you can find just what you need to create masterpieces effortlessly. Not only are they incredibly easy to erase but also highly lightfast—making them an ovenproof choice between beautiful ideas and wonderful artwork!
- Fine, smooth lead
- Ideal for drawing and sketching
- Hexagonal barrel for comfort
- Comes in a variety of grades
- Highly lightfast and can easily be erased
The Conte A Paris Sketching & Life Drawing Pencils offer an inspiring range of shades, allowing artists to achieve their desired effects with delicate lines and deep shadows. Unlock your creative potential while experiencing the remarkable versatility these pencils have to offer!
- Rich hues with line and shade possibilities
- Designed for all sketching requirements
- Improved control over your shading
Jasart Sketch Pencils are designed to make your sketching experience flawless and unencumbered. Their high-quality, wood barrel ensures a snug fit with the lead - allowing for easy sharpening while avoiding any breakage.
Tin of 6 contains: HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, 7B, 8B
Tin of 12 contains: 2H, H, F, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B
- High-quality wooden barrel for sharper lead
- Bonded to lead for breakage prevention
- Easily sharpened for precision work
Faber-Castell Pitt Graphite Pencils are the perfect solution for all your drawing needs! These pencils feature thick graphite leads with a protective coating to protect against smudges and keep hands clean. Whether you need deep, dark shading or intricate details, these excellent tools offer four stunning shades that can be sharpened just like traditional lead pencils.
- Thick lead with a protective coating to keep hands clean
- Designed for shading over large areas and fine detail work
- Easily sharpened like normal pencils
- Available in 4 shades for various levels of detailing
Unleash your inner artist with the Faber-Castell Goldfaber Sketch Set! This convenient set includes everything you need to bring your sketches and drawings to life – a selection of HB, 2H,2B, 4B and 6B pencils crafted from responsibly reforested wood so no tropical rainforests were harmed in the process. And don't forget - an eraser will help perfect any mistake while a metal sharpener is ready for quick touch-ups anytime.
- Includes one each of HB, 2H, 2B, 4B, and 6B pencils, plus an eraser and a metal sharpener
- Perfect pencil set for sketching
Try your hand at drawing with General’s Charcoal Drawing Assortment Set – a complete kit for those seeking to explore the world of charcoal media. Included are two pencils, four willow sticks and three compressed charcoal sticks along with a sharpener and kneaded eraser perfect for highlighting.
Delight the aspiring artist in your life with everything they need to get sketching - this set plus a sketchbook, drawing pad or some quality paper makes it complete!
- The ideal introduction to all types of charcoal media
- Includes 2 Charcoal Pencils, 4 Willow sticks, 3 compressed charcoal sticks and a sharpener
- Comes with a kneaded eraser that can be used for highlighting
- Perfect gift for drawers and artists when partnered with a sketchbook, sketchpad or drawing paper
How Do I Choose a Pencil for My Project?
When choosing drawing pencils, there are several factors to consider:
- Hardness or softness: Graphite pencils come in a range of hardness levels, from 9H (the hardest) to 9B (the softest). Soft pencils, such as 2B or 4B, produce darker and more intense marks, while harder pencils, such as 2H or 4H, produce lighter and finer marks. It's a good idea to have a range of hardness levels in your pencil set.
- Brand: Different brands of pencils can vary in quality, so it's important to choose a reputable brand that is known for producing high-quality pencils.
- Wood casing: Some pencils come with a wooden casing, while others come with a plastic casing. Wooden pencils tend to be more traditional and can be sharpened to a fine point, while plastic pencils are more durable and easier to sharpen.
- Colour: If you are looking for coloured pencils, make sure to choose a set that has a good range of colours and shades.
- Quality: Look for pencils that have a smooth and consistent texture and a high level of pigmentation.
- Ease of use: Consider the ease of use of the pencils when making your selection. Some pencils are easier to sharpen and have a better grip than others.
- Your artwork style: Think about the type of artwork you will be creating and choose pencils that are best suited to that style.
- Budget: Pencils can vary greatly in price, so consider your budget when making your selection.
Ultimately, the best drawing pencils for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences as an artist. It's a good idea to try out different brands and types of pencils to find the ones that work best for you.
How Do I Get Started With Drawing?
We have several guides to help you get started with your first drawing project. Here are 9 Beginner Drawing Ideas that you can do right now, and here is a Guide to Perspective Drawing, which is a fundamental but tricky skill that every artist needs. Interested in comic drawing instead? Find our How To Draw Comics Guide and start sketching!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between graphite and charcoal pencils?
Graphite pencils use a graphite core and are available in a range of grades, from 9H (hardest) to 9B (softest). Charcoal pencils use a charcoal core and are generally softer than graphite pencils.
What are the different grades of pencils?
Pencils are graded on a scale of 9H (hardest) to 9B (softest). H pencils are good for fine detail and light sketching, while B pencils are good for dark, rich lines and shading.
How do I blend pencils?
Blending pencils can be done with a blending tool, such as a blending stump or your finger. Gently rub the blending tool over the area you want to blend to soften the lines and create a smooth transition.
How do I take care of my pencils?
To take care of your pencils, store them in a pencil case or container to protect them from damage. Keep them sharpened and clean to maintain their quality and longevity.