Types of Pencils You Need for Drawing and Sketching

If your kids enjoy drawing and sketching, it only makes sense to invest in high-quality pencils. What’s more, proper drawing and sketching pencils make the activity easier, encouraging the kids to explore their talents. But you may not know the type of pencil you need for drawing and sketching. Typically…

Graphite, solid graphite, charcoal, and liquid graphite pencils are the most common types of pencils for drawing and sketching. These pencils produce precise lines, high-quality tones, and enough smudging. However, other pencil types, including carbon, grease, watercolor, and colored pencils, add value to your kid’s’ drawings.

Different Types of Pencils

Pencil manufacturing has come a long way since 1795, when Nicholas-Jacques Conte invented the first modern pencil. Nowadays, there’s a wide selection of pencils for drawing, sketching, coloring, painting, and writing. But first, I’ll give an overview of the most popular pencil types and their applications.

  • Graphite: These are the most popular type of pencils for drawing and sketching because they produce highly realistic pictures. Graphite pencils feature a mix of clay and Graphite and are often classified as H or B.
  • Solid Graphite: Solid graphite pencils are incredible for drawing and sketching. What’s more, they’re also referred to as woodless pencils because, unlike traditional pencils, there’s no wood casing around solid graphite pencils. As a result, these pencils are excellent for creating artistic effects and bold lines.
  • Liquid Graphite: If your child enjoys calligraphy, they’ll love liquid graphite pencils. These pencils produce the same effect as writing with a pen and create precise sketches. In addition, you can find liquid graphite pencils in various shades, including blue, red, and yellow.
  • Charcoal: Charcoal is the raw material for these types of pencils. They produce great contrast but could be better for drawing and sketching. Usually, charcoal pencils are slightly more brittle and prone to smudging.

What Is Grading and How Does It Work?

The grading system groups pencils based on their hardness, softness, and value range. You’ll notice that pencils are marked by numbers, letters, or both. The most common letters and numbers are H, B, HB, F, 2B, 4B, 2H, 4B, and more.

Every letter has a meaning; H represents Hard, F is for Fine, and B stands for Black. On the other hand, the letters represent hardness or softness, with B representing the softer range while H indicates hardness. For example, a 4B pencil is softer than a 4H pencil.

According to this Creative Art article, drawing and sketching pencils are vast. They range from 9B, 8B, 7B, 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, HB, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H, 7H, 8H, and 9H. You’ll notice that F-grade pencils are not on the line-up, but that’s because they consist of hard lead and are darker than standard drawing pencils.

Here’s an overview of the most used pencil grades in drawing and sketching.

  • B: B-grade pencils are perfect for kids learning to draw because they’re softer and produce darker lines than H and F pencils.
  • HB: It is the most popular drawing pencil as it embodies the perfect mix of hardness and softness. The B also stands for Black, meaning you’ll achieve the perfect balance of shades and tones.
  • 2B: 2B also thrives in drawing and sketching because it creates quality lines, contrast, and a balanced smudge factor.
  • 6B: This pencil is outstanding for adding value to drawings and sketches because it builds contrast while creating different shades. It is the best for drawings that require darker shading.
  • 9B: For drawings that need extensive shading and blending, the 9B does the trick. It is the softest value range, producing rich darker shades and smudging. The only downside is that you’ll need to replace it regularly as it shrinks quickly.
  • 3H: Kids that enjoy sketching will love 3H pencils. Like most H-grade pencils, it creates light shades and lines that highlight fine details.

Should You Buy Your Child Professional Drawing Pencils?

You don’t have to buy your child professional drawing pencils because these pencils require experience and a firm grip. Moreover, there’s a wide selection of drawing pencils that work well for beginners interested in drawing or simple school assignments. For example, B-grade and 3H pencils are beginner-friendly and will produce exquisite shading and clear lines or highlights.

However, if you notice your child developing an interest in drawing, it is better to invest in high-quality drawing pencils down the line. After all, you want your child to have the best resources to enhance his or her talents.

Are Colored Pencils Necessary for Drawing and Sketching?

Colored pencils are necessary for drawing and sketching because they add color to the drawings and make the process exciting for kids. What’s more, colored pencils will improve hand-eye coordination and stimulate your child’s creativity. In addition, they’re easy to use and less messy than paint.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Drawing and Sketching Pencils

If your child is at that point where professional pencils are necessary, you need to know what to look for because there’s a wide selection of drawing and sketching pencils. Remember, not all pencils produce the best results, so check these factors before you narrow down high-quality drawing and sketching pencils.

1. Pencil Grading System

Understanding the grading system will guide your selection because every letter and number symbolizes a specific use. For example, H stands for Hard, meaning these pencils are not brittle and don’t smudge. You can create amazing outlines and clean lines with the H-grade.

Similarly, B-grade pencils improve a drawing’s texture because they’re softer and easy to erase. So if you’re getting an activity book or workbook for the little one, B-grade pencils will be ideal. In fact, it would be best if you read my article about activity books and workbooks to find books that pair well with these pencils.

2. Types of Tones and Shades

Tones and shades determine the beauty of your drawing and sketches, and each pencil produces a unique tone and shade. Therefore, before you choose a pencil, understand the types of tones and shades they create and how that factors into your drawing or sketch.

Generally, B-grade pencils create more tone and shading than H-grade pencils, but the decision depends on your artistic needs. Of course, if your kids are younger, you’ll have to decide for them.

Different pencil types used for drawing

3. The Smudge Factor

Smudging is a shading technique in drawing which helps you blend your lines faster and wider. However, if you want clean lines and precise finishing, the smudge factor will mess up your work.

So, pay attention to your shading needs when selecting your pencil. Choose B-grade pencils for drawings that require shading because they’re darker and more prone to smudging. Alternatively, go for F-grade and H-grade pencils if the artwork needs little to no smudging.

4. The Line Quality

The line quality will generally depend on the canvas choice and pencil manufacturer. For example, an H-grade pencil can create darker lines on an activity book than on an exercise book paper. Similarly, two companies will manufacture HB pencils, but one will be softer.

So, for line quality, you’ll have to incorporate research and experiment with pencils from different manufacturers before you land the best pencil. In fact, you can layer the pencils for the best results.

5. Availability

Many people overlook this point, but you need to introduce your babies to readily available pencils. This article explains why kids use big pencils and crayons, which means they get used to specific brands or pencil types as they learn to write, draw, and sketch.

Pick manufacturers who offer a variety of pencil options, including grading. That way, when your kids settle on a favorite pencil, you won’t have to move mountains to find it.

We haven’t tried any professional pencils for sketching and drawing yet, but people rave about the Mr. Pen pencils a lot. They are great for drawing, have quality lines, and are a great gift for kids who love to draw. You check the amazon price here.

There you have it. Drawing and sketching activities are fun for kids and aid their development, so it’s only right that you pick the best quality pencils. In fact, you should also read this article to find the best type of crayons for your child. After all, crayons and pencils pair well during kid activities.

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