Best Pencils for Drawing and Sketching

Every job requires a tool.

A tool that is a requirement for them to complete a job thoroughly and completely. An artist is no different. Because the job of an artist is to create beautiful artwork for the world to see, an exceptional instrument needs to be selected.

One of the standards to consider for an artist’s pencil is lead grade. All pencils contain graphite. Within the lead is a mixture of graphite and clay. The grade indicates how much graphite is in a lead in ratio to the clay. The hardness of the lead makes an incredible difference in how the pencil will move across the paper. It also determines how dark or light the lines will be when drawing.

Taking advantage of the different lead grades can give an artist dimension in their work and take their sketches to the next level.

The ordinary American #2 pencils are sufficient for beginners, but true artists deserve much more. After some research, these are a few outstanding lead pencils and mechanical pencils for any artist.


Best lead pencils for drawing and sketching:


1. Palomino Blackwing pencils

These pencils will really take your drawings to the next level. Blackwing pencils have such an incredible heritage. Bugs Bunny and many other Looney Tunes characters were drawn using these particular pencils. Now back in production in 2010 after a discontinuation, a new generation is choosing this brand to bring their art to life.

This is a long lasting pencil that will keep you drawing and sketching instead of running to the pencil sharpener every five minutes. This is key when trying to keep your inspiration as you are sketching. It will keep you from starting and stopping and causing you to lose your focus.

You always hear the saying, “You get what you pay for, ” and you definitely get it here. You may be spending a little more on this brand of pencil, but it is definitely worth it. If you want a smooth writing experience, don’t hesitate to put these in your cart.

Not only are they great pencils, but you can also “give back” with them. Blackwing donates a portion of their sales to the Blackwing Foundation. It funds and develops arts and music education at the K-12 level. 

2. Lyra Rembrandt Art Design

These are great for drawing, sketching, and designing to your heart’s content. They are well-made and write smoothly and easily. There are an assortment of degrees within this set.
This brand has a legendary quality from a company founded in 1816 in the heart of Germany. When you pick up one of these pencils, you will be using the same quality pencils used by great artists for over 200 years! What a legacy.

For artist quality, these pencils smudge and blend really well creating the lights, darks, and blurred lines that you need.

Sharpening is easy and smooth with no breaks or splitting.


3. Caran D’ache Graphite Line

Looking for pencils with a better grip or an easier one to hold? This brand comes in a slightly bigger than the average pencil. They are individually colored according to degree and have extreme smoothness.

You won’t have any problems with scratchy bits of graphite, like on other pencils. The quality of the graphite is worth the difference in price.

These pencils are less prone to breaking whilst also producing lovely rich tones. They also sharpen beautifully.


4. Derwent Graphic Medium pencils

This set offers versatility. It contains 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H and 4H. This is a professional grade lead pencil that allows you to do so much in your sketching. It will bring your art to life with blending and shading.

A high quality, as expected from a Derwent product, with the graphite not breaking easily. A really smooth finish on paper and very comfortable to hold. They are very well-made and reliable.

There are many products to use with it to elevate your artistic experience. combine with other Derwent products, such as Derwent Canvas Pencil Wrap, Derwent Sketching Paper Pads, Derwent Pencil Sharpener and Derwent Battery Operated Eraser.


5. Staedtler Mars Lumograph Graphite Pencil Set

Great, premium quality pencils with amazingly break-resistant lead. Use this if you want to make clear consistent lines that you are confident of. If you are working on wanting a more professional artistic flow, these are the pencils for you.

Multiple degrees a of lead to choose from: 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H

These are great for great blending quality, good for details and everything in between. These pencils are perfection. For anyone who has ever used a ‘cheap’ pencil, you will notice immediately the difference.

The pencils are not round in shape, they are hexaganel, which personally, I find fit easier in the hand, and do not slip from your fingers.

These pencils are so smooth, writes long, and gives finally a perfect professional touch for the sketch.


6. Faber-Castell 9000 Graphite Sketch Pencil

These are the perfect pencils for any students interested in drawing and sketching.  The packaging is really small, light, portable which makes it perfect for artist on-the-go.

You don’t have to keep sharpening them because they stay sharp. They feel great in my hand and glide across the page. These pencils give a nice variance in hard and soft graphite and an overall smoother feel to drawing.

These pencils have a professional feel because of how well they can blend using a blending stump and just how great the finished drawings look after using.


7. Tombow Mono J Professional Highest Quality Drawing Drafting Pencils

The Tombow Mono J line is a great, light weight and high quality pencil for drafters.
Many artists and drafters love the pencil because it features a break resistant, high-density graphite lead core that will produce crisp drawing lines again and again.
These pencils come in these lead hardness-HB/B/2B/4B/H/2H-(2 Each Pencils-Pack of 12 Pencils)


8. Caran D’ache Graphite Line

These pencils can make the difference in the sharpness and vibrancy of your artwork.

Every artist deserves a gift like this for yourself. Treat yourself. Everything top quality and beautiful presented in the box.

The case gives the artist the versatility to follow the direction your art takes you. It it an easy on-the-go carrying case.


Best mechanical pencils for drawing and sketching:


9. Rotring Rapid Pro

This pencil is amazingly consistent. It will rarely have a lead jam due to its fixed lead guidance sleeve.

Limited Warranty: Guaranteed for 2 years from original purchase date against defects in Materials or workmanship

It is great for outlining though, as something about the weight and balance makes it very good for steady, precisely accurate lines. This is not surprising, given it was originally designed for pre-CAD manual drafting.

This is a BEAUTIFUL pencil that you want to get your hands on.


10. Faber-Castell Grip 2011

This pencil provides a good grip and is well-made. The tip retracts protecting it which is a wonderful feature.

“I love the quality of pencil. It helps me to get to the core of a thing.” Andrew Wyeth, artist