Pencil Drawing Supply Review
Updated: 30 Mar 2019
Pencil-drawing is one of the pillars of painting.
The advantage of a pencil, unlike other drawing and painting tools, is the ability to erase.
Below is a review for pencil drawing supply & equipment:
Disclosure: some links in this article are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.
Drawing Pencils Types
Standard Drawing Pencils
Drawing pencils come in varying brightness values when HB is the standard value.
- The H value stands for Hardness and indicates how hard and light the pencil is.
- The B value stands for blackness and indicates how soft and dark the pencil is.
For example, a 3B pencil will be darker and softer than a 2B pencil.
The lighter grades will begin with the H values until HB and then, the B group for the dark levels.
Recommended Brands for Drawing Pencils
MY TOP CHOICES:
Staedtler Mars Lumograph - Highly recommended, durable, high quality pencils suitable for ANY task. The pencil grade is clearly written on ALL sides. See on Amazon
Castell 9000 - Another top quality choice. Faber-Castell is the largest pencil manufacturer and one of the oldest. See on Amazon
Caran d'Ache Grafwood - High quality yet pricey. Unique barrel color in accordance to the graphite grade. Barrel is a bit thicker than regular pencils and might not fit in some sharpeners. These pencils are very soft and therefore very gentle and in need of constant sharpening.
Staedtler tradition - These pencils are great for drawing. Unlike the Staedtler Mars Lumograph, the size is not written on all sides of the pencil and they are not as smooth.
Derwent Graphic - Good drawing pencils but quite soft and in need of constant sharpening.
Thick Drawing Pencils
Thick pencils with a thick graphite bar are used for quick drawing of sketches or for filling large surfaces.
Graphite Rods and Sticks
A graphite rod or bar is a graphite stick with no wood coating.
Graphite bars and sticks come in many shapes. Cylinder, rectangle bar and pencil-shaped graphite rods are very common and are used for filling large areas quickly.
The degree of lightness or darkness of the graphite stick will determine the brightness value of the area it fills.
A graphite stick can be used to draw directly as with a pastel stick.
Artists who prefer not to get dirty while working can use a graphite rod coated with a thin layer of plastic.
A mechanical pencil is a pencil that can be filled with graphite sticks that can be extended mechanically.
The mechanical pencil does not have to be sharpened.
Like a technical pen, a mechanical pencil produces lines of uniform thickness and is used, among other things, for technical drawing.
The mechanical pencil is suitable for the creation of small, precise details.
Good to Know:
High quality mechanical pencils come with high quality eraser.
Due to the small size of the eraser, it can be used for creating fine and precise details such as hair.
To learn how to use mechanical pencils, visit how to draw with a mechanical pencil.
Erasers for Pencil Drawing
Erasers are used for erasing AND drawing.
Certain erasers can be used to change the brightness value of a surface or to create noticeable, bright details.
Gum eraser (also vinyl or plastic) is the standard eraser and is intended to erase mistakes.
This eraser leaves debris behind and is not intended to produce precise details.
A brush can be used to clean the eraser debris from the drawing surface.
My choice: STAEDTLER Mars plastic.
A kneaded eraser is designed to collect particles of graphite or charcoal by absorption.
This eraser does not wear down and does not leave residue like a regular eraser.
By gentle friction of the kneaded eraser on a drawing surface or gentle taps, it can increase the brightness values of a particular area.
The kneaded eraser is flexible and can be made of shapes such as a dot or line. The harder the eraser is, the more accurate textures it can create.
There are erasers in the form of pencils and their purpose is to enable the creation of small and precise details.
In some brands, it is possible to sharpen the eraser with a sharpener, but it is sometimes recommended to use scissors or a knife to sharpen the eraser.
How to Sharpen Pencils
Pencils can be sharpened with a regular pencil sharpener or an electric sharpener.
Another way to sharpen pencils is using a knife for a very sharp point. Knife sharpening gives better control and accuracy for some artists; it is a matter of personal preference.
Sharpening pencils with a knife takes time, create dirt and leaves wood and graphite waste in the work environment. Using a knife can lead to injury.
Paper for Pencil Drawing
There is a wide range of paper for pencil drawing that includes:
- Single sheets of paper
- Pads of paper sheets
- Notebooks and sketchbooks
A pad of paper is a collection of individual sheets of paper that can be torn off.
The characteristics of paper:
*The roughness level of a paper indicates how well it grabs the graphite particles.
Some recommended brands:
Fabriano is a leading paper manufacturing company. In addition, the company is unique in that it uses renewable energy.
The company is named after the town of Fabriano, located in Italy. Fabriano is one of the first places in Europe to produce quality commercial paper, from the 13th century to the present day.
Winsor & Newton
Winsor & Newton is a British company that manufactures art equipment including paper for drawing and sketching.
Sketchbook is a book with smooth pages designed for drawing and sketching with pencil and used by artists as part of the creative process or for practicing.
Hahnemühle is a German paper manufacturing company and a world leader in the production of paper for inkjet printers. The company is known for the high quality of paper for drawing and sketching.
A Sketchbook with a spiral allows ripping or cutting a page for an unsuccessful sketch.
Arches is an established French company (1492) specializing in the production of high quality paper.
Arches paper is made of 100% cotton.
This paper is of a high quality, but also very delicate. Extensive use of an eraser can damage it.
Other Recommended Brands
Canson is a French company for the production of quality paper and other art related products.
Daler-Rowney is an English company producing art equipment.
All these recommended brands of paper and other drawing equipment can be found online on Blick Art Materials.
A blending stump is made of compressed paper and used for mixing or smoothing of charcoal or graphite particles.
It is an excellent tool for smoothing or filling large areas and creating transitions of brightness values.
When a gentle mixing or smoothing is needed, a soft synthetic brush can be used.
Pencil drawing is laying particles of graphite or charcoal on paper.
Fixative is a liquid that can be sprayed on dry media artwork like pencil, charcoal or pastel, to preserve it and prevent smudging.
Fixative is toxic and flammable and should be sprayed in a well-ventilated place and kept away from the reach of children.
A thin layer or layers should be sprayed. A larger amount of liquid will cause the paper to wrinkle.
Pencil drawing is a craft that can be learned and for some artists is a solid basis for their craft.
Creating different brightness values is one of the characteristics of pencil drawing. It is advisable to use several drawing pencils with different lightness or darkness degrees.
Kneaded eraser is also used for drawing and not just for erasing. Due to its flexibility, it can be shaped in many ways to create different textures and effects.
It is recommended to use quality drawing paper. Fixative can be sprayed on a finished drawing in order to preserve it for future generations.
Other useful resources:
Once you have some drawing supplies, it is time to start drawing.
For realism: Beginners Guide: Realistic Pencil Drawing.
Drawing depth: 15 Proven Ways to Create the Illusion of Depth.
As mentioned above, Blick Art Materials is arguably the ONLY place online where you can find almost ANYTHING related to art supply & quipment.
*ALL art supplies in this article are owned & used by me.