Best Drawing Pencils

Pencils are an essential tool to have in most creative fields.

If you are a professional artist or learning to draw, a good pencil is an essential part of your supplies.

There is a range of styles to consider when looking into new drawing pencils: drawing, doodling, sketching, shading, hatching, and tracing all have their own requirements.

Our Top Picks of the Absolute Best Drawing Pencils

  1. Best Graphite Drawing PencilsDerwent Graphic Drawing Pencils
  2. Best Drawing Pencils for BeginnersPrismacolor Premier Graphite Pencils
  3. Best Mechanical Drawing PencilsStaedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil
  4. Best Drawing Pencils for BlendingFaber-Castell PITT Graphite Master Set

Derwent Graphic Drawing Pencils

Derwent Graphic Drawing Pencils, Medium, Metal Tin, 12 Count (34214)
3,594 Reviews
Derwent Graphic Drawing Pencils, Medium, Metal Tin, 12 Count (34214)
  • STURDY PRECISION – With a hexagonal barrel, you gain greater precision for drawings. Hard (H) degrees have a 2.2 mm core for sharp lines. Black (B) soft degrees use a 3.5mm core for softer lines
  • BROAD RANGE – Choose the pencil that works for you. Derwent offers a comprehensive range of 20 degrees to help achieve your vision. This set contains 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H and 4H
  • VERSATILE EXECUTION – Our wide range lets you choose the pencil that fits your artistic concept. Whether used for blending, illustrations or shading, our pencils will help express your vision
  • STRONG CORE – The core sharpens to a fine, long-lasting point, great for emphasizing even the smallest details. The fine point allows for professional-level precision on your most intricate images
  • ACCESSORIES – For best results, combine with other Derwent products, such as Derwent Canvas Pencil Wrap, Derwent Sketching Paper Pads, Derwent Pencil Sharpener and Derwent Battery Operated Eraser

If you are just starting out or you are a professional needing new graphite pencils, the Drewent graphic pencils are perfect. They offer three different 12 count sets; a soft, medium or hard set.

The soft set contains lighter shades of pencils whereas the hard set contains darker shades. This makes them more aimed at particular artists.

The Derwent graphic pencils cover all the bases of different types of artists.

These pencils are hexagonal and the barrel is made of cedar wood. Which aids in the comfort of using these pencils.

The writing style of these pencils are smooth and doesn’t cause much unwanted scratching. You can count on these pencils to be smooth and not destroy your work.

When using the lighter shades they do become a little harder, but that is to be expected. When it comes to blending with these pencils, the graphite does blend easily across the paper.

Don't sweat any mistakes made with these drawing pencils. The graphite lifts up easily from the paper with a good eraser.

Prismacolor Premier Graphite Pencils

Prismacolor Premier Graphite Pencils with Erasers & Sharpeners, 18 Piece Drawing Pencil Set |...
2,251 Reviews
Prismacolor Premier Graphite Pencils with Erasers & Sharpeners, 18 Piece Drawing Pencil Set |...
  • Professionally graded artist pencils in a range of values allow you to draw it all from highlights to mid tones and shadows
  • Woodless graphite pencils can be used sharp for details or blunt for coverage no wood casing to slow you down
  • Water soluble pencils lay down rich, dark marks and can be mixed with water to create a transparent wash
  • Steel sharpener and sanding board help you create the perfect point. Vinyl Magic Rub eraser is ideal for delicate surfaces and absorbs graphite. Kneaded rubber eraser molds to the shape you’re...
  • Includes: 7 Turquoise drawing pencils (8B, 6B, 2B, B, 2H, 4H & 6H), 4 woodless graphite pencils (2B, 4B, 6B & 8B), 3 water soluble graphite pencils (HB, 4B & 8B), 2 erasers (Magic Rub vinyl & kneaded...

If you are just starting out and want to try a few different kinds of graphite pencils, this pack is perfect.

It has 7 turquoise drawing pencils that range in shades from 8B to 6H, 4 woodless graphite pencils that range in shades from 2B to 8B and 3 water soluble graphite pencils that range in shade of HB to 8B.

This package also includes erasers, a steel sharpener and a shading board. The woodless graphite pencils draw really smooth. They are also coated in plastic so that you don't get the graphite all over your hands.

The only downside is that they break easily when they are dropped.

This package of drawing pencils is great to use from the easy projects to the more complicated ones.

Overall this set is good if you’re looking for the drawing pencil essentials.

From the pencils to the eraser, what else does an artist need?

Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil

Staedtler Mars Technical Mechanical Pencil Set, 780SBK,Blue
1,148 Reviews
Staedtler Mars Technical Mechanical Pencil Set, 780SBK,Blue
  • Technical mechanical pencil set: 2 mm pencil, eraser, 2 ea 2H lead refills.
  • For writing, sketching, drawing
  • Metal clip, push button advance
  • Integrated lead pointer in push button
  • Made in Germany

This mechanical pencil was made for writing, sketching and drawing.

It has a built in lead degree indicator on the clip. You just rotate the clip to align the desired degree between the arrows on the barrel. It is perfect for drawing and sketching.

The integrated lead pointer at the top of the pencil can be pushed to release more lead. But also can be removed and used to sharpen the lead.

This brand of mechanical pencils have been around and trusted for many years. Most pencils last consumers many years. The only thing that will need to be replenished is the lead as it is used.

The graphite flow onto paper is effortless and their break-resistant formula is legendary.

Faber-Castell PITT Graphite Master Set

Faber-Castel 26 Piece Pitt Graphite Tin Set
563 Reviews
Faber-Castel 26 Piece Pitt Graphite Tin Set
  • What is it? Faber Castell Pitt 26 piece Graphite Set
  • Why use them? Designed for the true art lover, experienced or learning!! This set will inspire all to start drawing, sketching and painting! The Set Faber-Castell's PITT Graphic range provides all...
  • From shades of grey to a work of art!! The PITT Graphite Pure leads are ideal for creating contrasts and shading extended areas. These pencils offer unparalleled possibilities for spontaneous...
  • Where is it made? Made in Germany
  • What is in the box? 7 x Castell 9000 graphite pencils (2H, 2B, B, HB, 4B, 6B, 8B) 3 x Castell 9000 Jumbo graphite pencils (2B, 4B, 8B) 3 x Graphite Aquarelle pencils, water-soluble (2B, 4B, 8B) 3 x...

This set of Faber-Castell pencils comes in a tin package of 12 with a variety of shades.

The shades range from 2H all the way to 8B. This set of drawing pencils have a smooth, uniform quality. The Faber-Castell brand is a very reputable brand, high quality and are known for their consistency and durability.

These pencils are easy to sharpen and keep their point for a long time.

Another good thing about these pencils is that they don’t break often. This quality also makes these pencils good for fine detailed projects.

The drawing pencils are really light in your hand. The barrel is a hexagonal shape and helps to keep the pencils from rolling away.

If you are going to be doing a lot of blending these are the perfect pencils for the job.

They are highly blendable and easy to layer when it comes to shading. They aid in getting nice blended areas that are nice and smooth. When it comes to making mistakes or adding highlights into your work, the graphite of these pencils lifts off of the paper easily. You get what you pay for with this brand of pencils.

They are great for blending, layering and shading.

How to Select the Best Pencils for Drawing

The first thing to consider, when you are selecting a new pencil, is your drawing style.

Are you going to be focusing on fine details or more into shading and blending?

Shading in a project requires different pencils then very fine details will.

Pencil Grading Scale

A pencil’s grade will tell you how light/dark and how light/hard a graphite pencil is.

Graphite pencils are made of a mixture of clay and graphite. This mixture gives the pencils different lines.

The more graphite included in the pencil, the darker the stroke and the lighter the pencil.

Personal Artistic Style

It is important to know the style of drawing you prefer when selecting a drawing pencil. If your work requires a lot of shading you will probably lean toward a package of pencils that has a variety of different shades.

If you are more into the fine details you might want a pencil that doesn't break easily and stays sharp. That way you aren't having to continuously sharpen the pencil. A pencil that doesn't break easily will last longer.

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