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Best Drawing Pencils

Best Drawing Pencils for Artists and Designers in 2023

Drawing is a form of art that has been around for centuries. Whether you’re an aspiring artist or a professional, having the right tools is crucial to creating a masterpiece. One of the most essential tools for any artist is a good set of drawing pencils.

Drawing pencils come in different types, sizes, and grades. They are made of various materials such as graphite, charcoal, and colored wax. The type of drawing pencil you choose will depend on the type of artwork you want to create. For instance, if you’re creating a sketch, you’ll need a pencil that can produce fine lines and details. On the other hand, if you’re creating a painting, you’ll need a pencil that can produce bold and thick lines.

When it comes to choosing the best drawing pencils, there are a few critical things to consider. The first thing to consider is the grade of the pencil. The grade of a pencil refers to the hardness or softness of the lead. Harder leads are best for fine details, while softer leads are best for shading and blending. The second thing to consider is the type of lead. Graphite leads are the most common and come in different grades, while charcoal leads are best for creating bold and dramatic artwork.

We spent hours researching and testing various drawing pencils to identify the best ones on the market. In the next section, we’ll discuss the top drawing pencils that we recommend for artists of all levels.

Best Drawing Pencils

We know that finding the perfect drawing pencil can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best drawing pencils on the market. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional artist, we’ve got you covered. Our team of experts has tested and reviewed each of the pencils on this list to ensure that they meet our high standards. So, without further ado, here are our top picks for the best drawing pencils.

1. Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil Black (PG525A) 0.5mm

If you’re looking for a drafting pencil that helps you produce fine lines of consistent density, the Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil Black (PG525A) 0.5mm is an excellent choice.

Pros

  • The metallic mesh grip on a slim, beveled barrel promotes control when writing, making it ideal for precise drafting and template work.
  • The 4mm tip length makes it perfect for use with rulers and templates.
  • The pencil is weighted at your fingertips, which makes it easy to draft with precision.

Cons

  • The eraser is small and may need to be replaced often.
  • The pencil is not retractable, so you need to be careful when carrying it in your pocket or bag.
  • The lead may break if you apply too much pressure.

We’ve used the Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil Black (PG525A) 0.5mm for a variety of drafting and drawing projects, and we’ve found it to be a reliable and precise tool. The metallic mesh grip provides a comfortable and secure hold, while the beveled barrel helps to prevent the pencil from rolling off your desk. We also appreciate the fact that the pencil comes pre-loaded with Pentel Super Hi-Polymer HB lead, which is super strong and produces a clear dark line.

One thing to keep in mind is that the eraser is quite small, so you may need to replace it often if you make a lot of mistakes. Additionally, the pencil is not retractable, so you need to be careful when carrying it in your pocket or bag. Finally, while the lead is strong, it can still break if you apply too much pressure, so you’ll need to be mindful of your technique when using this pencil.

Overall, we think the Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil Black (PG525A) 0.5mm is an excellent choice for anyone who needs a precise and reliable drafting pencil.

2. Mr. Pen Sketch Pencils

We highly recommend the Mr. Pen Sketch Pencils for anyone looking for a reliable and versatile set of drawing pencils.

Pros

  • This set offers a wide range of graphite harnesses, making it suitable for a variety of artistic applications.
  • The high-quality materials and manufacturing processes ensure that these pencils are durable and long-lasting.
  • The lead wears evenly and is easy to erase and sharpen, making it ideal for both beginners and professionals.

Cons

  • The lead sharpener in the cap is not very effective, so you may need to purchase a separate sharpener.
  • The set only includes graphite pencils, so you will need to purchase other types of pencils separately if you need them.
  • The metal box that the pencils come in is not very sturdy and may dent or scratch easily.

We were impressed with the Mr. Pen Sketch Pencils’ versatility and quality. The set includes 14 graphite pencils with a wide range of harnesses, making it perfect for a variety of artistic applications. We found that the lead wore evenly and was easy to erase and sharpen, which is essential for any drawing pencil.

The high-quality materials and manufacturing processes ensure that these pencils are durable and long-lasting. We appreciated the attention to detail in the design, and the pencils felt comfortable and easy to use. The only downside we found was that the lead sharpener in the cap was not very effective, so we had to purchase a separate sharpener.

Overall, we highly recommend the Mr. Pen Sketch Pencils for anyone looking for a reliable and versatile set of drawing pencils. The quality and value for the price make it an excellent choice for both beginners and professionals.

3. Nicpro Drawing Pencils Set

We highly recommend the Nicpro Drawing Pencils Set for anyone looking to purchase a high-quality set of drawing pencils.

Pros

  • The non-slip Comfort Grip of these drafting pencils makes them super easy and fun to use by any beginner, child or adult.
  • The set includes six drafting pencils with a range of lead sizes, as well as 12 tubes of lead refill, three erasers, six cap eraser refills, and two lead sharpeners, all in a convenient storage case.
  • The weight balance of these pencils is ideal for fatigue-free writing and drawing, allowing for more effective and high-quality tasks.

Cons

  • Some users have reported difficulty putting new lead into the pencils.
  • The lead refills may break easily if not handled with care.
  • The erasers included in the set may not be as effective as some users would like.

We were impressed with the Nicpro Drawing Pencils Set when we received it. The set includes six mechanical pencils, each holding a different size lead, and a range of lead refill sizes and hardness levels. We found the non-slip Comfort Grip to be a standout feature, making these pencils easy and fun to use for anyone, regardless of skill level.

One potential downside of the set is that some users have reported difficulty putting new lead into the pencils. Additionally, the lead refills may break easily if not handled with care. While the erasers included in the set are a nice bonus, they may not be as effective as some users would like.

Overall, we believe the Nicpro Drawing Pencils Set is an excellent choice for artists, professionals, teachers, and students alike. Perfect for writing, drafting, drawing, and sketching, this set provides everything you need to get started.

4. Prismacolor Premier Graphite Drawing Pencils With Erasers & Sharpeners

If you’re looking for a high-quality drawing pencil set, the Prismacolor Premier Graphite Drawing Pencils With Erasers & Sharpeners is a great option. With a range of lead values and versatile woodless graphite pencils, this set allows you to create professional-quality drawings.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • The kneaded eraser that comes with the set may be dry.
  • The set may arrive damaged during shipping.
  • The steel sharpener may not be as durable as expected.

We’ve found that the pencils in this set are high-quality and produce smooth, consistent lines. The water-soluble pencils are especially useful for creating transparent washes and adding depth to your drawings. The kneaded eraser molds to the shape you’re erasing, making it easy to remove any mistakes.

The woodless graphite pencils are versatile and can be used sharp for details or blunt for coverage. They also have no wood casing, which means they won’t slow you down while you’re drawing. The set also comes with a vinyl Magic Rub eraser that’s perfect for delicate surfaces and absorbs graphite.

Overall, if you’re looking for a high-quality drawing pencil set, the Prismacolor Premier Graphite Drawing Pencils With Erasers & Sharpeners is a great choice.

5. MARKART Drawing Sketching Pencil Set

We highly recommend the MARKART Drawing Sketching Pencil Set for anyone looking for a versatile set of pencils for their artwork.

Pros

  • The set includes a wide variety of hardness levels, allowing for a range of line thicknesses and color saturation.
  • The pencils are made of high-quality graphite and encased in lightweight and durable basswood, resulting in a smooth writing feeling.
  • The set is perfect for beginners, experienced graphic designers, professionals, and even kids.

Cons

  • The pencils may not be suitable for those who prefer mechanical pencils.
  • The set does not include a sharpener.
  • The pencils may smudge easily if not handled properly.

This set of pencils is perfect for anyone looking to experiment with or combine different drawing techniques. The professional-grade pencils retain the surface of the paper without scratching and are easily removed with an eraser or putty rubber. The strong core allows for wonderful coverage and minimizes the amount of broken points.

The MARKART Drawing Sketching Pencil Set is ideal for photorealistic drawings, illustrations, and sketches. The set is great for any level of artist, graphic designers, kids, and anyone who loves to draw. It is also an excellent gift option for the artist in your life.

In summary, we highly recommend the MARKART Drawing Sketching Pencil Set for anyone looking for a high-quality set of drawing pencils. With a wide variety of hardness levels and a smooth writing feeling, these pencils are perfect for any type of artwork.

6. Amazon Basics Sketch and Drawing Art Pencil Kit

If you are looking for an affordable drawing pencil kit that includes everything you need to create beautiful art, the Amazon Basics Sketch and Drawing Art Pencil Kit is a great option.

Pros

  • Includes 17 pieces, providing a wide range of drawing options
  • Suitable for artists of all skill levels
  • Comes with a dual-barrel sharpener and an eraser

Cons

  • Some users have reported that the eraser is dry and breaks easily
  • The charcoal pencils may smudge more than other types of pencils
  • The kit does not include a sketch pad or drawing paper

We were impressed by the variety of pencils and tools included in this kit. The six different pencils, three charcoal pencils, and four compressed sketch sticks allow for a range of shading and blending techniques. The kneaded eraser and blender/smudge stick are also useful tools for creating dynamic works of art.

However, some users have reported that the eraser included in the kit is dry and breaks easily, which can be frustrating. Additionally, the charcoal pencils may smudge more than other types of pencils, which can make them more difficult to work with.

Overall, the Amazon Basics Sketch and Drawing Art Pencil Kit is a great choice for anyone looking for an affordable and comprehensive drawing pencil kit. While it may not be perfect, it provides a wide range of tools and options for artists of all skill levels.

7. STAEDTLER Mars Lumograph Art Drawing Pencils

If you’re looking for high-quality drawing pencils, the STAEDTLER Mars Lumograph Art Drawing Pencils are an excellent choice for both professional graphic and artistic applications. The super-bonded lead wears evenly and is easy to erase and sharpen.

Pros

  • The 12 finely graded consistent degrees in portable metal storage tin is ideal for writing, drawing, sketching, and hatching.
  • The lead is unbelievably break-resistant, which means you can draw for hours without interruption.
  • The first-class materials and manufacturing processes guarantee outstanding and unbeatable product quality.

Cons

  • The set is a bit pricey compared to other drawing pencils, but the quality is worth the cost.
  • Some artists may prefer a wider range of degrees than the 12 provided.
  • The pencils are not waterproof, so they may smudge if exposed to water.

We’ve used the STAEDTLER Mars Lumograph Art Drawing Pencils for several projects and have been impressed with their quality and consistency. The fine lead allows for precise lines and shading, while the super-bonded lead ensures that the pencil lasts for a long time.

The portable metal storage tin is a nice touch and makes it easy to take the pencils with you wherever you go. The tin keeps the pencils organized and protected, which is especially important if you’re traveling with them.

Overall, if you’re looking for high-quality drawing pencils that will last for a long time, the STAEDTLER Mars Lumograph Art Drawing Pencils are an excellent choice. The super-bonded lead ensures that the pencil lasts for a long time, while the fine lead allows for precise lines and shading. The portable metal storage tin is a nice touch and makes it easy to take the pencils with you wherever you go.

8. Faber-Castell Graphite Sketch Pencil Set

If you’re looking for versatile and diverse drawing pencils, the Faber-Castell Graphite Sketch Pencil Set is a great option.

Pros

  • The ergonomic, hexagonal shape and smooth graphite is ideal for sketching, graphic design, and shading.
  • The set includes 6 artist quality Faber-Castell graphite pencils in various degrees of lead hardness: 2H, HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B.
  • Break-resistant lead that is glued the entire length of the pencil to ensure limitless drawing and easy sharpening.

Cons

  • The set only includes 6 pencils, so if you need a wider range of lead hardness, you may need to purchase additional pencils separately.
  • The price point may be higher than other sketching pencil sets on the market.
  • The lead may smudge easily, so be careful when erasing or blending.

We recently tried out the Faber-Castell Graphite Sketch Pencil Set and were impressed with the quality of the pencils. The hexagonal shape of the pencils made them comfortable to hold and easy to control when sketching. The lead was smooth and easy to lay down, and the range of lead hardnesses allowed us to achieve a variety of shading effects.

One thing to note is that the lead may smudge easily, so be careful when erasing or blending. Additionally, the set only includes 6 pencils, so if you need a wider range of lead hardness, you may need to purchase additional pencils separately. However, the break-resistant lead that is glued the entire length of the pencil ensures that the lead won’t fall out during use or sharpening.

Overall, we would recommend the Faber-Castell Graphite Sketch Pencil Set to aspiring artists and art students looking for quality sketching pencils.

9. Artownlar Drawing Sketching Set

If you’re looking for a complete artist drawing set that provides a wide range of bright and vibrant colors with silky-smooth touch, then Artownlar Drawing Sketching Set is perfect for you.

Pros

  • The set comes with a wide range of drawing pencils, including water-soluble colored pencils, metallic pencils, oil-based colored pencils, graphite pencils, black charcoal pencils, and highlight white charcoal pencils.
  • The premium 8×11 inches sketchbook has 3 popular color paper-40 pages white, 10 pages toned tan, 10 pages black – which makes your drawings pop and vibrant, bringing more “life” and richness to your work.
  • The set includes a zip-up nylon case with a gift box, making it an ideal gift for boys, girls, students, beginners, teens, or kids.

Cons

  • The set may not be suitable for professional artists who need more advanced and high-quality drawing pencils.
  • The water brush pen may not be very durable and may need to be replaced after some use.
  • The set may be a bit expensive for some people who are on a tight budget.

We recently tried out this drawing set and were impressed with the quality and variety of drawing pencils included in the set. The water-soluble colored pencils, metallic pencils, and oil-based colored pencils all had a silky-smooth touch and provided a wide range of bright and vibrant colors that allowed us to add depth to our masterpiece. The graphite pencils, black charcoal pencils, and highlight white charcoal pencils were also of high quality and provided excellent shading, blending, layering, drawing, sketching, and adult coloring book capabilities.

The premium 8×11 inches sketchbook was also a great addition to the set, with its 3 popular color paper-40 pages white, 10 pages toned tan, 10 pages black – which made our drawings pop and vibrant, bringing more “life” and richness to our work. The sketchbook was also of high quality and had a texture-laid paper finish that made it perfect for coloring, drawing, and sketching.

The zip-up nylon case with a gift box was also a great feature of the set, providing proper storage and making it an ideal gift for boys, girls, students, beginners, teens, or kids. The online video tutorial series that comes with the set is also a highly structured learning system that takes you through the basics of sketching and develops your drawing skills, bringing you a unique comprehensive guide that allows you to start your first step in the art world.

In summary, if you’re looking for a complete artist drawing set that provides a wide range of bright and vibrant colors with silky-smooth touch, then Artownlar Drawing Sketching Set is perfect for you.

Buying Guide

When it comes to buying the best drawing pencils, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some features to consider:

1. Lead Hardness

One of the most important features to look for in a drawing pencil is the hardness of the lead. The hardness of the lead determines how light or dark the lines will be. There are several levels of hardness, ranging from 9H (the hardest) to 9B (the softest). Harder leads are ideal for fine details and light shading, while softer leads are better for darker shading and creating bold lines.

2. Type of Graphite

Another important consideration is the type of graphite used in the pencil. There are two main types of graphite: natural and synthetic. Natural graphite is made from graphite ore and is generally considered to be of higher quality than synthetic graphite. Synthetic graphite is made from petroleum coke and is less expensive than natural graphite.

3. Barrel Shape

The shape of the barrel is also an important consideration. Pencils with round barrels are more comfortable to hold and are ideal for drawing for long periods of time. Triangular barrels are also available, which can provide a more ergonomic grip and prevent the pencil from rolling off the table.

4. Eraser

Finally, consider whether the pencil comes with an eraser. Some pencils have erasers attached to the end, while others do not. If the pencil does not come with an eraser, you may need to purchase a separate eraser.

In summary, when choosing the best drawing pencils, consider the lead hardness, type of graphite, barrel shape, and whether the pencil comes with an eraser. By keeping these features in mind, you can find a pencil that meets your needs and helps you create beautiful works of art.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the most popular brands of professional art pencils?

Some of the most popular brands of professional art pencils include Faber-Castell, Prismacolor, Staedtler, and Derwent.

2. What is the difference between sketching pencils and drawing pencils?

Sketching pencils are typically softer and lighter than drawing pencils, making them ideal for quick sketches and preliminary drawings. Drawing pencils, on the other hand, are harder and darker, which makes them better suited for detailed drawings and shading.

3. Which pencil is best for shading?

The best pencil for shading depends on the style of shading you want to achieve. For light shading, a 2H or 3H pencil is ideal, while a softer pencil like a 2B or 3B is better for darker shading.

4. What are the top-rated drawing pencils on Amazon?

Some of the top-rated drawing pencils on Amazon include the Faber-Castell 9000 Graphite Sketch Pencil Set, the Prismacolor Premier Graphite Drawing Pencils, and the Staedtler Mars Lumograph Graphite Drawing Pencils.

5. What sets Faber-Castell drawing pencils apart from other brands?

Faber-Castell drawing pencils are known for their high-quality graphite, which is sourced from sustainable forests. They also feature a unique break-resistant lead that ensures consistent performance, even when sharpened to a fine point.

6. What are some recommended sketching pencil sets for beginners?

Some recommended sketching pencil sets for beginners include the Staedtler Mars Lumograph Sketching Pencil Set, the Derwent Graphic Sketching Pencil Set, and the Prismacolor Premier Sketching Pencil Set.

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