Learning To Draw, What Pencils to Buy?


Hey everyone, school starts tomorrow!

I can’t wait… but… before i go to bed… I would love if I could get some suggestions, I picked up a nice big spiral sketch book (spiral since the bound ones would be a pain to scan in)…

and I got a nice leather carrying case for it, since I will be taking it everywhere…

but I am curious about what kinda pencils work best… I love ‘clicker pencils’ the best, but that is for school work, .5mm… smallest I can find… but I’m guessing with a pencil lead that small, I would be forced to commit to lines too early, since you can’t really lightly draw with them…

I did find some 2mm graphite automatic pencils at Office Max, but I’m not sure if those are any good…

and as far as pencil sets, the kind that need to be sharpened… I am clueless as to what are good ones, and what ones aren’t worth the money they ask…

but anyway, I was just curious what you all thought on the subject =)

perhaps a brand name to point me in the right direction…

Thanks everyone! :slight_smile:


I just draw with a simple 2b pencil, dont see the point splashing out on a brand name, except for paper where I do go by brand name.:slight_smile:


I used to think that all I needed was one pencil for all drawing purposes… I guess this can work for quick sketches and what not, but after taking a few drawing classes myself, I really have to recommend getting at least 2 or 3 different hardness levels. You get a much better drawing. You can probably get single pencils from an art supply store. I don’t know…maybe 2B,HB,and H or 2H…should do the trick, depends on your preferences I guess.


2B pencils are OK, but if you are serious about drawing as mad sheep seems to be, you really should invest in some different leads.

Personally I don’t like mechanical pencils, I prefer wooden ones, Kimberly and Derwent are my favorites. Derwent actually has 3 starter sets, one that’s mostly soft pencils, one that’s mostly hard penicls, and one that’s smack in the middle. I think the midrange set is a good set to start with. I think it has like a dozen pencils and will run you probably 9-15 dollars depending on where you get it. If you want you can just buy the big set that has all the pencils and runs about 25-30 dollars.


I actually find myself favoring 4Bs, 2B’s, F’s and 4H’s.

However if you are going to go all mechanical, just find a pencil that’s comfortable and cheap and buy a bunch of them so you don’t need to keep swapping lead. You will lose and break your pencils, so it’s best not to spend alot of money on expenive mechanical pencils. You are going to want different hardnesses for your leads.

Lead hardnesses basicly work like this:

…3B 2B 1B…F…1H 2H 3H…
<-softer darker lines - harder lighter lines->

You’ll want to mix up the widths of the pencils as well. You probably aren’t going to like drawing with a 2mm or 5mm tip all the time, so pick up some narrower and wider pencils. They do make some really wide mechanical pencils, but you’ll need to go to a drafting supply store or an art store to find them.

For erasers, I have two favorites, Design kneaded erasers, and Erase Clear White Vinyl erasers. The white vinyl eraser seems better for actually erasing, while the Design eraser is good for adding highlights.

Hope this helps.


I got so used to drawing with a 0.5mm HB mechanical pencil, I go nuts trying to draw with anything else.

For erasers, I use kneaded (a MUST!) and the white vinyl clicker ones drafters use, that erase so sweet and clean!

Pencils are all different. Which to use depends entirely on YOUR preference and drawing style. Try out many until you figure that out-- soft or hard, fine or fat, whatever.

And then, if you ever get into colored pencils… just get Prismacolors. Nuff said.


i love REXEL CUMBERLAND Derwent graphic penicels…i just buy the entire set ,they come in a cool box too ^_^…from i think 9H …to whatever the softest is…i dont know… the softest i ever use is a 4b…the range of harder lead is great for me becuse i have a verry sketchy drawing style…so thoes light lines give me lots of forgivenes to find the right line then rework them with a softer lead…but realy…you dont need any special penciles…i love just drawing with a bic pen sometimes…it realy doesnt mater what you use…just draw draw draw…good luck


i like to use a mechanical 2H for the initial sketch…but then if im actually finishing it in pencil its good to have an HB, 2B, and maybe a 4B for the dark parts…but i like to shade with pens and grey markers personally.


For general purpose drawing, assuming you only want to carry one pencil, you won’t be able to beat an Eberhard Faber “Ebony”. It’s thicker than your average, every day, yellow pencil. If you want to lay down some serious graphite, that extra thick lead will go a long way. As stated above, get a kneaded rubber eraser, they rule. If you can carry a few pencils, get a range of leads as stated in numerous posts above, but stiil get that Ebony, it can’t be beat for shading. I really love those things on some heavy rough paper.

Unless you are drafting, I’d stay away from mechanical pencils, IMHO.


KOH-I-NOOR all the way baby!! If you love yourself and love to draw then you need to get yourself a good Koh-I-Noor mechanical pencil.

The feel of a good mechanical pencil in your hand is like running your hands along the curves of a beautiful woman or sitting behind the wheel of an expensive car.:drool:



I know…I’m exaggerating a little bit, but these things really do kick butt:thumbsup:


I bought my first set age 15. A set of Derwent as well, in a craft store.


The Rotring 600 is awesome too, all metal. They look and feel like a chunk of airplane.



Rotring !!:drool:


Brings back good memories:love:


Kneaded eraser rules for drawing. Once you find out all the stuff you can use it for (besides just erasing) you’ll never be able to work without it.

Personally i’d recommend at least 4-5 different grades. It depends a lot on your style of course, but i like to use soft, dark pencils for foreground and lighter pencils for background. It gives a good sense of depth to the image.



Not necessarily this but pencils in that style. To me, they give the big lead feel of a wood pencils but feel better in the hand like a mechanical pencil.


I use 4-5 grades as well, lighter pencil for background, a mid grade for middleground and a darker pencil for foreground. For washing I find a fountain pen works very well, because it bleeds with water. A 2B is a good general pupose pencil, and if you going to work with just one that would be it. I would recommend making sure your pencil is properly sharped so you can make broad tones and thin line strokes. Carry a pocket knife to sharpen if you are out and about.


Originally posted by Tex3D
The feel of a good mechanical pencil in your hand is like running your hands along the curves of a beautiful woman -Dave

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm, you need a girlfriend…lol!


Originally posted by Gentle Fury
Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm, you need a girlfriend…lol!


You have NOOO idea d00d!:annoyed:


But then again it is a really great frikkin pencil!:shrug:


oh wow, i am going to print all this out and take it to my local art shop…

thanks for all of the suggestions everyone! i really appreciate it!

With any luck, i will be posting my work, so we shall see how the art progress goes :wink:

Thanks again everyone!


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