4 main types of drawing pencils

What are the 4 main types of drawing pencils?

Drawing pencils are essential art tools to create beautiful art. However, you may notice some are difficult to use but some are not. 

Actually, they play different roles in a masterpiece. Let’s dig deeper to get into the difference.

Types Of Drawing Pencils

Below is the summary of 4 main types of drawing pencils.

Graphite Pencils

The most commonly used pencils in the drawing are made of graphite. The lead is wrapped in wood and comes in various types of degrees. 

They are suitable for sketching and shading.

Charcoal Pencils

These pencils are made of charred wood and used for sketching and creating value. The pencils give a rich, dark black color.

Colored Pencils

These pencils are made of wax, oil, and pigments which are encased in wood. Colored pencils are good at creating details, color blocking, and mixing colors.

Mechanical Pencils

The lead in a mechanical pencil is held in a metal tube. They are ideal for precision drawing and come in various lead sizes.

graphite vs charcoal

Graphite VS Charcoal

Graphite pencils are easier to use than charcoal pencils. They create less mess and smudging. However, charcoal pencils give a richer and darker black.

So it depends on the type of effect you want to create.

graphite vs mechanical

Graphite VS Mechanical

Graphite pencils are great for sketching because they allow you to create various line widths. Mechanical pencils are perfect for precise drawings.

If you are a beginner, it is suggested to start with graphite pencils.

Pencil Grading

There is no universal grading system for pencils, but the following system generally holds true.

graphite pencils grading

Graphite Pencils Grading

The lead inside a pencil is graded from 9H (the hardest) to 9B (the softest). The harder the lead, the lighter the mark. The softer the lead, the darker the mark. 

The graphite pencils are graded from 9H to 9B. 

Here is a full range of grades: 9H, 8H, 7H, 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H, HB, F, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9B

H pencils: These pencils are the hardest and create the lightest mark. They are suitable for fine details.

B pencils: These pencils are the softest and create the darkest mark. They are suitable for bold and expressive drawings.

F pencils: These pencils are in between H and B. They create a softer mark than H pencils and a darker mark than B pencils.

HB pencils: These pencils are your standard writing pencils for general use.


charcoal pencils grading

Charcoal Pencils Grading

Charcoal pencils are made of charcoal and provide fuller blacks than graphite pencils, but tend to smudge easily and are more abrasive than graphite. Sepia-toned and white pencils are also available for duotone techniques. Source Wikipedia 

Charcoal pencils are in general much softer than graphite pencils and usually range from HB to 6B.

HB pencils are medium-hard and great for writing and linear drawing.
3B/2B/B pencils are soft and used for freehand drawing and restricted writing.
6B/5B/4B pencils are extremely soft and black and specialized for artistic purposes: sketches, studies, and drafts.

Colored Pencils Grading

colored pencil (American English), coloured pencil (Commonwealth English), pencil crayon, or coloured/colouring lead (Canadian English, Newfoundland English) is an art medium constructed of a narrow, pigmented core encased in a wooden cylindrical case. Unlike graphite and charcoal pencils, colored pencils’ cores are wax- or oil-based and contain varying proportions of pigments, additives, and binding agents. Source Wikipedia 

Colored pencils are great for adding details, blocking, and mixing colors. There is no standard grading system for colored pencils. However, most manufacturers use a numbering system from 1 (the lightest color) to 12 (the darkest color). You could check out this colored pencils set for more information.

Thanks for Reading

Feel free to share this article with your friends. If you want more drawing tips, check out more ADAXI blogs. 

Happy drawing! 



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