What pencil is the best to draw and sketch

What pencil is the best to draw and sketch? how to pick pencil for artist and illustrator. How to choose a pencil to draw for yourself?

Many people ask me what kind of pencil I use, well I really have no favorite, really. But if I recalled a few years back, it was probably a Clutch pencils (mechanical with big leads), then sometimes I would use thin lead mechanical pencil. But in life drawing session, I would use regular wooden pencils, or big thick graphite stick or charcoal sticks if I am drawing on a big pad. So really, it the matter of purpose or how I like them at time.

I personally use 2B-4B regular wood pencil of any major brands in art store.
This video playlist explain the way to shade a face in a simple and easy to understand.

Nowadays, I use what I can find around me pen or pencil doesn’t matter as long as I can fit the proper lines and value in the sketchbook.

A lot of good professional artists I know have their own preferences, they use different kind of tool varies from person to person. One of the best artist I know can draw anything so great with just regular mechanical pencil with hard lead (2H, or H). But I probably wouldn’t be able to pull that off, I love dark lead but not too soft. So it is really up to you to decide which will fit you.

There are many kinds of drawing pencils; here’s an overview of lead hardness, line darkness, and varieties of pencils for drawing.

A good pencil is an artist’s best friend. No subject is beyond an artist’s rendering if they have the pencils they need. A good rule of thumb to remember what each pencil does is to remember that the softer the lead, the darker your line will be. Pencils with “B” in the name are soft. Pencils with “H” in the name are harder leads.

This is a list of pencils and/ or lead to help you determine what type you need for different purpose.

Grades of graphite. A word here is appropriate concerning the different grades of graphite. The grades range from numbers 2 to 9. There is a letter following that to determine whether it is hard “H” or soft “B”. In the middle where the two grades meet you will find things like HB, B, F (finepoint) and H. Hard pencils are lighter in tone while soft pencils are darker. So the actual order you will find it 9H 8H 7H 6H 5H 4H 3H 2H H F B HB 2B 3B 4B 5B 6B 7B 8B 9B.

* 2H- This is a very hard lead pencil that makes light marks. It is good for drawing details and preliminary drawings that you may not want to be permanent.
* 6B- This pencil makes dark, softer marks. The 6B shown in the example is a wide woodless, which is great for expressive drawing and sketching.
* #2 or HB- You remember this pencil from school. Most of use started our drawing career using this beauty to doodle on homework. Its lead falls between soft and hard and makes a great all-around go-to pencil. Keep this one with your sketchbook at all times.
* #2 Jumbo- Remember these monster-sized pencils from kindergarten? They have all of the benefits of a regular #2, but they have a very wide lead that is perfect for expressive drawings and thick lines.
* 2B- Softer than the HB, 2B makes darker lines. 2B is great for outlining drawings.

what pencil is best to draw

what pencil is best to draw

A) Clutch or Lead Holder pencils. They use 2mm graphite refills which are the same size as the wood cased pencils. There is a clutch mechanism in the tip that is activated by the plunger which holds the refill firmly in place. This allows me to extend the graphite as far as I may desire as well as retract it for more detail work. Being 2mm, they also can cover the paper rather quickly when necessary. Creating a chisel point at the tip (by holding the pencil at about a 45* angle and scrubbing a flat spot) allows me to cover larger areas with the flat side but simply turning the pencil gives me a sharp chisel line for those times when I need that. Using it in this way means I do not need to sharpen the graphite very often. I am also very particular about the brand of graphite refill I use.

B)Pencil Leads for Clutch pencil.

C) wooden pencils. The most common is F, the wood cased pencil. These generally come in sets of 9B to 9H and are what most new artists begin using. I would suggest a new artist begin with these but be aware that there are some negative things with them. First, they will change in weight and balance as the pencil is sharpened. I have found this to be annoying. Secondly, my technique will not allow a regular sharpening but requires that they have a good ½” of lead freely available to work with. This brings me to one of the largest drawbacks I’ve found. The graphite is not always centered in the wood so when you sharpen them the tip becomes off center and I often find myself trying to draw with the wood instead of the graphite. The last problem can be overcome with pencil extenders (I don’t have one so I can’t show it) but as they wear down to a nub, a certain amount of the pencil will most certainly need to be thrown away. These pencils require a traditional sharpener or a razor blade to sharpen.

D) mechanical pencils. Standard mechanical pencils can be found in several thicknesses. .3mm, .5mm and .7mm with .3 being a bit tricky to find. Many artists use these exclusively and are able to produce stunning work with them. I find them excellent for detail work but do not use them in the main.

E) leads for mechanical pencils

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About Xia Taptara

Xia Taptara (黃曉聲 Huang XiaoShēng), currently a freelance concept artist for games and films, formerly a character concept artist for ArenaNet/NCsoft (GuildWars & Guildwars 2). I also work on various projects for Game of Thrones, Square-Enix, Paizo Publishing, Fantasy Fight Games, Disney Interactive, and many publishers & clients. I use Wacom Tablet Intuos and Photoshop CS2,3,4,5 to do most of my professional art work. I use pencil, pen, and traditional medium in my free time. I founded IdrawGirls.com (TheArtClasses.com) in 2007 to motivate myself to create more and better art. Also I get to draw and paint whatever the hell I want to. Hopefully I can inspired some young soul and old soul alike. *QUESTIONS & COMMENT: PLEASE POST THEM ON THE BLOG. Or CONTACT ME via idrawgirls Facebook page. DO NOT E-MAIL ME. Thank you. ;-)
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14 Responses to What pencil is the best to draw and sketch

  1. Jess says:

    Will try that forsure, Thanks!

  2. Xia Taptara says:

    Browsing around art store, I am sure you can find some. Buy one of each if you have to. Plus, you have have to try them for extended period of time. There is no rule books.

  3. Jess says:

    Are there any sets with most used pencils? For like beginners to get a feel of each?

  4. JA Syn says:

    where can i get those materials..?

  5. Xia Taptara says:

    No problem. I am glad you find the website helpful and informative. We are trying our best.

  6. Ian says:

    Thank you very much for making this website. I want to become a concept artist. I have all these ideas in my head but I just have a hard time translating it onto paper. Your website gave me so much understanding about what to draw and how to draw them. I’ve seen a great improvement since I started last about 7 months ago. Thanks a lot! I know I’ll get there.

  7. Xia Taptara says:

    No problem thank you.

  8. swedelady13 says:

    A retired concept artist—interesting! Thank you for feeling like you would like to inspire other artists. We NEED that! I am 69 years old, in good health except for lower back issues from an accident, and it gets pretty depressing to have to limit my activities, like painting at the easel. Lo and behold, I’ve discovered the joys of simple graphite drawing. It’s helping me deal with the horrors of losing my beloved husband to a hospital acquired blood infection that took his life in days, 2 yrs ago. My son lives in Tucson, and we are both working from the same reference. I can see what he does via Facebook. This never could have been done years ago. We are a family of artists, and my son in law is a self employed fine artist. You can Google him: Michael Chelich Fine Art (or something like that). He is a very accomplished artist, but making a living in Northwest Indiana is difficult. His 10 yr old daughter is learning also. I appreciate the artists who provide the free tutorials online, the product reviews, etc. It’s a real blessing. I feel blessed to have had the chance to develop my art skills, and will continue as long as I can see and hold a pencil or brush. Thank you again.

  9. Jokayo says:

    Thanks , it very helpful , I adore pencils with all their kinds , thanks for the information Xia , I had a headache struggling first to know these different kinds of pencils, and second finding them , my environment and social doesn’t support art drawing so its hard to find these pencils , even when I go to a place where it should be ,the buyer doesn’t know rather than wooden HBs , funny ha !! so I had to draw with HB for a long time , lastly I found the mechanical pencils and I’m happy (I hadn’t draw with it yet waiting to find the right leads for it ) in my country finding these special pencils is quite expansive ,
    By the way I would suggest this video for people to enhance your informative article , hopefully others find it good : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzkZtFbUP70&feature=relmfu

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  12. Yog Joshi says:

    I use a Pentel P209 0.9mm mechanical pencil. It is great! I am also thinking about getting a Rotring or a Pentel GraphGear. Heard those are great. I also use a wacom tablet (intuos 4 and cintiq) for my digital work. Your check out my work at http://www.yogjoshi.com

  13. jokayo says:

    thanks for the tips

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