The best graphite pencils for sketching and drawing

Maybe we’re biased, but there’s a unique beauty to drawing pencils that isn’t matched by your everyday writing pencil. Usually painted in a pleasing color and engraved with their name and rank, they make a striking figure in a box art. Of course, you can’t judge a drawing pencil (only) by its beauty. They come in a variety of grades: B pencils contain more graphite, so they make dark, soft marks, while H pencils contain more clay, which results in harder, more precise lines. A good set of designs will include a range of notes that transition smoothly from one to the next. In advance, find top-notch options to get your sketching and sketching off to a good start.

Brought to you by the world’s oldest and most widely circulated art magazine, ARTnews Recommends helps you choose the best choice for you from products in hundreds of art and craft supply categories. Our offerings are based on intensive research, interviews with artists and artisans, and the accumulated experience of the site’s editors and writers. We provide reliable and helpful advice on materials for artists ranging from beginner to professional.

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1. Faber-Castell Graphite Sketch Wooden Pencil Set

The Castell 9000 pencil has a cult following and a long history: it was allegedly launched by Count Alexander von Faber-Castell himself in 1905. Loved for all the right reasons: smooth lead, smooth transitions, seamless wooden casing, the pencils are staples. in many studios. The hardest pencils avoid scratching thanks to finely ground graphite and clay, and even the softest pencils last a long time. This set of a dozen pencils comes in a nice green box, with grades 8B to 2H. And if some pencils in your set wear out faster than others, you can purchase the 9000 pencil in any hardness individually.

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Buy: Faber-Castell Graphite Sketch Wooden Pencil Set

2. Staedtler Mars lumograph pencils

The casual draftsman may not need the wide range of values ​​provided by Staedtler, ranging from a very soft 12B to a very hard 10H, but the serious artist will appreciate that Staedtler has both softer and harder pencils than most other high quality pencils. lines. These pencils are sturdy, consistent, and smooth, and the hexagonal body keeps them from rolling around on tables.

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Buy: Staedtler Mars Lumograph Pencils

3. Prismacolor Premier Turquoise Graphite Sketching Pencils

This line of pencils from Prismacolor is known for its softness and ease of erasing. They show up very well on vellum, making them a favorite for sketching and design work. Graphite, which leaves a subtly shiny line, will also not show once you mark on it. We’re also fans of the solid core, which doesn’t crumble and is a cinch to sharpen. This set comes with 12 pencils in grades 4B to 6H to accompany you in your sketches from start to finish.

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Buy: Prismacolor Premier Turquoise Graphite Sketching Pencils

4. General’s Kimberly Graphite Pencil Kit

For a durable and reliable set, this made in the USA option should not be overlooked. The pencils feature a dense Ceylon graphite core and treated cedar casing to withstand good pressure, perfect for those just starting their journey with graphite. Softer pencils are dark and strong, and all resist the shine that some graphite pencils can have. In addition, the marks are easy to erase. This set includes 8B to 4H grade pencils, a pencil sharpener and a latex-free eraser.

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Buy: General’s Kimberly Graphite Pencil Kit

5. Koh-I-Noor Progresso Woodless Graphite Pencil Set

Woodless pencils are just a core of lead – usually thicker than your standard pencil – coated in a protective lacquer. They offer a number of advantages over wooden pencils: you get more product so your pencils last longer, and because more lead is exposed, they’re great tools for shading. They are also said to be better for the environment, as they save the trees. However, they have a major drawback compared to wooden pencils: since they do not have a shock-absorbing casing, they are much more fragile. In other words, these pencils might not be ideal for your travel bag. To stay in the studio, Koh-I-Noor’s Progresso pencils are our favorite because they use high-density graphite that lays silkily on the page and deposits pigment without streaking. This set comes with 12 pencils, with two each of HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B and 9B.

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Buy: Koh-I-Noor Progresso Woodless Graphite Pencil Set

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