Diego Fazio, who is also known as DiegoKoi especially on social networking sites, is a self-taught pencil artist who succeeded in quickly developing his technique to finally achieve amazing results. He started his journey as an artist by drawing the Koi, which is included in his name, and then moved to drawing portraits. He pays attention to the small details and focuses in his drawings on shades in addition to the faces and eyes of his subjects because they have the ability to express silent emotions to the viewers. DiegoKoi’s work has been displayed in several exhibitions all over the world and he has won many awards for his hyper-realistic drawings that are more than stunning.
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Many artists swear by Staedtler’s range of drawing pencils. Their Mars Lumograph is known for its consistency and lack of breakage, making them great for detailed work. They also erase cleanly, meaning you won’t be left with stray smudges on the paper. Staedtler’s standard set provides 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H drawing pencils, making it extremely versatile. “I’ve been using Staedtler Lumograph professionally for over 30 years and in that time I’ve found no better,” says artist and art educator Mike Sibley. “I even give them away at my workshops.”
If you want to learn more about drawing portraits professionally, then you have to take a look at the creative and stunning pencil drawings that are created by Kelvin Okafor. In order to create these photo-realistic drawings and achieve this perfect level, Kelvin Okafor has tried for many years to develop his technique and improve his skills. Kelvin Okafor’s fame started to increase after receiving several awards in 2012 and 2013. In May 2014, Kelvin Okafor’s first solo show took place to allow more people to enjoy his drawings. His story appeared on BBC and other media which has made him more famous.
Being woodless, these Cretacolor offer a pretty unique experience. Not just in their look: they erase more easily than a wood pencil, have a satisfying weight in your hand and are great at shading, though less effective if you want a simple, crisp line.
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The Cumberland Pencil Company has been making some of the best pencils around since 1832, and it shows in the quality of its Derwent brand. These pencils, which are sold individually and in sets, make smooth, easy lines on the paper. They’re ideal for bold line drawings as well as freestyle sketches, and you can select the set that suits your artistic style.
Once you understand the type of lines you can expect from your pencils, it’s easy to mix and match to put together a graphite pencil set that will cover your needs as an artist.
Buy a set of 12 Lyra Rembrandt Art Design pencils for £10.77/$USD14.28
Do you have the best pencils for your next project? Whether you’re a professional artist or you’re still learning how to draw, it’s important to have the right tools to hand for the type of work you’re doing.
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Best Drawing Pencils for Professionals and Beginners Who Love to Sketch
Derwent is well known for making good quality, reliable pencils. Procolour is its latest range of colouring pencils, released in 2017. The pencils themselves feel substantial, with a sturdy circular shaft. The leads aren’t too waxy or too brittle and have a high pigment level for wonderful gradation of colour, even with a light touch. We gave them four and a half stars in our Derwent Procolour review.
Monica Lee is a Malaysian pencil artist who is passionate about creating photo-realistic drawings using her graphite pencils. The main reason behind Monica Lee’s success and the creative drawings that are presented by her is focusing on details which makes us think that what is drawn is a photo of a real object and not just a drawing. In addition to drawing animals, birds, portraits, products and people, Monica Lee is also creative in digital painting using Photoshop to finally present to us amazing work. Colored pencils are also used by Monica Lee to make her drawings more impressive.
Dirk Dzimirsky is a professional artist who has the ability to create stunning hyper-realistic drawings and paintings as well. He focuses in his drawings and paintings on the fine details, light and shadow to create impressive artworks and allow the viewers to enjoy discovering the silent emotions and dramatic feelings of the subjects depicted in his artworks. Dirk Dzimirsky’s work has been displayed in several exhibitions that exist in different countries all over the world such as Tokyo, the United States and Europe as well which shows his unique ability to create fascinating artworks that look real.
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This set of watercolour pencils is named after the famous German artist Albrecht Dürer. These are very carefully made using only the highest quality materials, including vibrant pigments and a unique binder medium, and boldly claim to offer over 100 years of fade resistance. These pencils are perfect for both drawing and painting techniques. They come in tins of 12, 24, 60, and a full range of 120 watercolour pencils, and are a solid choice for any artist.
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Adonna Khare is an award winning artist who focuses more on large-scale carbon pencil drawings. She is the winner of the 2012 ArtPrize competition, which is the largest art competition in the world. She received her Masters of Fine Art from California State University and her work has been featured in different national and international shows, magazines and social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. She tries through her drawings of animals to tell stories and convey certain messages which are usually associated with the life that we live, different events and the people with whom she communicates.
Proving once again that artists do not have time to waste, one of the most common reasons to praise Staedtler’s Lumograph is that it has the grade on all sides. On top of that, the lead is soft, sturdy (not many frustrating breakages here) and consistent.
Available in different sets filled with a wide variety of grades, both beginners and professionals swear by Derwent. You can select between soft, medium, and hard sets depending on your subject matter and people note that the pencils are easy to sharpen to a point, as well as a flat shape. This allows for detailed work, as well as shading. And the hexagonal shape makes them easy to grip.
3D painting artists like Ramon Bruin, Alessandro Diddi and Fredo represent a highly technical form of art that we rarely see on Bored Panda. The tools they use are simple – just pencil and paper. With a whole lot of practice and dedication, you could draw something like this too.
Palmonio’s range more than lives up to the Blackwing brand name
Buy a set of 24 Derwent Graphic Graphite Pencils for £16.50/$USD18.14
If colour is your thing, you can’t go wrong with this budget set
Faber-Castell 9000 Graphite Sketch Pencil Art Set (set of 12)
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As an alternative to using a pencil for sketching and illustration, have you considered experimenting with graphite powder? Cretacolor’s powder is made using a special deep-firing method to produce a dense, rich charcoal. The graphite powder produces luminous light and dark shades of grey, it slides easily, smudges, blends, and rubs off like chalk. Fixative must be used on the final artwork and is suitable for wet or dry techniques on paper or canvas. For some inspiration on how to use this medium, take a look at artist Kelvin Okafor’s spectacular portfolio of drawings.
For a good value, you can’t beat Lyra Art Design Pencils. The graphite is rigid enough that it works for technical drawing, and with 17 different grades available, there’s no shortage of shading you can accomplish. One reviewer writes, “The finest pencils for drawing. High-quality graphite that is smooth and easy to blend. A wide variety of hardness for all your artwork needs.”
A go-to tool for any artist, designer or doodler, owning one – or two, three, four or more – great pencil is crucial. It is the very first stage in the creation of any great work: the pen may be mighty but the pencil your trustworthy friend that erases any mistakes from memory. Phew.
While 3D art is not really new, the craft came back in style quite recently. For centuries the artists shied away from realistic paintings so that they can express the life behind the boundaries of ‘realness.’ Now that technologies enhance our ‘realness,’ the depiction of life as is using the 3D drawing technique comes back with gusto.
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Woodless pencils may cost a bit more, but they generally last longer than the typical wood-encased pencils. Cretacolor woodless pencils are perfect for shading and the graphite in them is water-soluble, allowing you to create soft washes over the page. Creatacolor’s kit also comes with a kneaded eraser and sharpener, giving you all the tools you need in one box.
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The Faber-Castell Grip 2011 mechanical pencil has won several design awards and its popularity is well deserved. Drawing with this wonderful mechanical pencil comes second nature thanks to a perfectly sized triangular barrel. The raised rubber dots allow for a firm and comfortable grip, ideal for precise drawings. This pencil comes in a range of different colours (as well as the blue shown above, there’s silver and black available), all with a handy extra-long twisting eraser and 0.7mm HB lead.
Marco Mazzoni is a portrait artist who received a bachelor’s degree in painting from Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. He depends in creating his drawings on using colored pencils only without resorting to any other traditional mediums. He is obsessed with the surrounding beauty of nature and this appears in his work as he focuses more on drawing birds, animals, butterflies, plants and flowers. In addition to flora and fauna, Marco Mazzoni’s drawings feature the female herbalists of Sardinia during the 16th-18th century. Marco Mazzoni’s work has appeared in several galleries not just in Italy, but in the United States and throughout Europe as well.
Figuring out the best pencils to bring your sketches and designs to life can appear challenging, but much of it comes down to personal preference. Once you get the hang of which brand you prefer, you can mix and match different pencil grades in order to expand your sketching capabilities. You’ll see that much of what we suggest are pencil sets, which allows you to experiment with a wide variety of lines and shading, but each brand will also sell their pencils individually once you need to restock.
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These CarbOthello pastel pencils offer the level of quality we expect from STABILO. The 24-pencil set includes a decent spectrum of colours, and the pencils sharpen very well. The pencils’ dry stroke is perfect for blending, but the fun really starts when you begin adding water – you can create some particularly interesting results by working in wet areas with dry pencils. This is a great mid-level set of pencils, but might be a bit advanced for beginners. Read our full CarbOthello pastel pencils review.
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Faber-Castell is a German brand known for high-quality art supplies, and the Faber-Castell 9000 Graphite Sketch pencils are no exception. The brand makes sets with a variety of grades included or you can purchase single packs of pencils in each grade. Known for their consistency and durability, they sharpen easily and don’t often break. Plus, Faber-Castell’s handy tin makes the pencils highly portable. It’s no wonder they are an artist favorite, no matter the style or skill level.
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For a much more reasonable price, this set of hexagonal design pencils from Lyra’s Rembrandt range is the ideal way to unleash your shading skills. The full Rembrandt Art Design set covers 17 grades from 9B to 6H, and this box features a good, representative sample, enabling you to really get creative with your shading. Each pencil is encased in pure cedar wood and packs an ultra-fine graphite lead that’s also suitable for more rigid technical drawing techniques.
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Once you know what type of artwork you need the pencil for, you need to understand the different grades of graphite pencils. Even though we often refer to lead in pencils, there is actually no component of lead used in them. Whereas colored pencils are made with wax and pigment, graphite pencils are a mixture of graphite and clay. The combination of these two components allows for smooth strokes, but graphite pencils will give different lines depending on how much clay is present. Generally, the more clay in the pencil, the harder the pencil—and lighter the stroke—will be.
Buy a set of 12 Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils for £10.05/$USD18.93
Buy 15 Caran D’ache Graphic Line pencils (plus accessories) for £179.99/ $USD205.20
The HB scale ranges from 9H, a hard pencil that leaves fine, light marks, to 9B, a soft pencil which a high ratio of graphite that leaves bold, dark marks. While every manufacturer gives each pencil a designation on the scale, it’s all relative within a given brand, so remember that a 6H pencil from one manufacturer might give a slightly different stroke than a 6H pencil from another.
Don’t be scared by the price. Caran D’ache is for serious sketchers looking to up their drawing game. As Switzerland’s only pencil maker, the brand has carried out exacting studies to get things just right, making them the favorite of many artists. This gift set will get you 15 graphic pencils, 3 water-soluble graphite pencils, plus accessories. Some say they are the best drawing pencils on the market, and that once you try them, you’ll never go back.
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Already have a great pencil? Read our features on the best pens, smart pens and styluses (for Android or iPad)
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Once you use them and dive into pencil luxury, you might not be able to go back.
Ileana Hunter is a talented artist who decided to learn how to create realistic pencil drawings on her own without resorting to any drawing classes. She focuses in her work on drawing portraits and celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Marilyn Monroe, the Duchess of Cambridge, Grace Kelly and more. All the materials that she uses for creating these stunning drawings include Mars Lumograph pencils (2B-6B), mechanical pencils, tortillion, smooth Bristol board and a putty eraser for highlights. Finishing minimal drawings for Ileana Hunter requires 1-2 days while the full detail ones require a few days to be completely finished.
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This beautiful Rotring Rapid Pro metal drafting pencil is truly one of the best pencils for pros. It features a hexagonal body and a circular cross-hatch metal grip, as well as a full metal body designed to balance the weight. The cushion point mechanism allows the sliding sleeve to give slightly under pressure, reducing the risk of lead breakage while writing. The pencil also includes a clip and eraser under the cap. It’s a fantastic mechanical pencil for designing layouts and typography.
In the United States, we commonly think of the number 2 pencil, which is standard for schools and test taking. The American number scale for pencils ranges 1 to 4 (including 2.5), but the rest of the world uses a different grading scale. Most manufacturers use the HB scale, where “H” stands for hardness and “B” for blackness. A standard number 2 pencil corresponds to HB on this scale.
Paul Cadden is one of the best pencil artists that can be found in the whole world. His creativity and unique ability to create hyper-realistic pencil drawings are highly responsible for making him ranked here on this list. With Paul Cadden, you can enjoy the stunning beauty of the portraits and landscapes that are drawn creatively, uniquely and accurately. He takes us to another world, in fact the same world in which we live but not seen or simply ignored. His drawings represent the reality accurately with focusing on the depicted subjects and details to encourage us to pay more attention to the world in which we live and to appreciate different things around us but are usually ignored. Although Paul’s drawings are usually based on photographs, stills and videos, they may contain additional elements to achieve the level of hyperrealism.
Keep in mind that most artists use more than one type of pencil. In fact, many manufacturers sell drawing pencil sets that come with a selection of graphite pencils in different grades. This will allow you to switch between tools depending on the requirements of a particular image.
Albrecht Dürer pencils are made using high-quality materials
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If colour is your thing, you can’t go wrong with this beautiful set of colouring pencils from BIC Conté. These high-quality coloured pencils are made of synthetic resin rather than wood, which makes them completely splinter-free should they break. But this is definitely not a case of style over substance, as these pencils also boast a 3.2mm pigment-based lead, providing smooth, even and consistent coverage for artists of all types.
No, you haven’t misread that price. And yes, that’s the correct picture. The Caran D’ache Graphite Line gift box really does come with fewer than 20 pencils, plus graphite sticks and accessories, at a price that would make even Jeff Bezos blink, but what you’re paying for here is top-quality graphite. The Graphite Line range has been carefully developed and perfected in the Geneva workshops of Caran d’Ache to explore all the different shades of black and deliver thick and thin lines, gradation, flat-wash, blurring and watercolour effects. It’s an insanely expensive set of pencils, but we suspect that once you’ve tried it, you won’t want to use anything else.
Cas, or Artistiq as she is commonly known on social networking sites, is one of the most creative pencil artists not just in Canada, but in the whole world. Cas is interested in drawing portraits and focuses in her creative work on drawing her favorite celebrities in addition to other movies and TV characters to find many of those whom we all love such as Jennifer Lawrence, Katy Perry, Kristen Stewart and more celebrities whom we know. To create these stunning drawings, Cas uses traditional and digital mediums.
Watercolour pencilsThe best watercolour pencils11. Staedtler Karat Aquarell watercolour pencils
Staedtler claims to have invented the colouring pencil, so it should know a thing or two. These watercolour pencils come in sets of 12, 24, 36 and 48 (the price here is for the 24 tin), they have high-pigment, break-resistant leads and a good quality wooden shaft that sharpens well. Of course you can use them dry, or add water for extra fun. Staedtler is reliable brand and this is a great option for beginners or more advanced artists. We gave these five stars in our Staedtler watercolour pencil review.
And that’s where we can help. In this guide, you’ll find the best mechanical pencils, drawing pencils, colouring pencils and watercolour pencils for all budgets.
Japanese manufacturer Tombow is known for their high-density pencils, meaning they sharpen easily and the point stays longer. The Mono pencil is known to run a bit dark and is virtually smudge-proof. The dark lines of the Tombow Mono can almost mimic inks, making it a favorite of artists who focus on linework and tracing.
Smooth, easy to use and soft, graphic pencils are a Derwent staple. They are ideal for crisp, detailed work with an easy-to-hold hexagonal barrel – though the grade is only printed on one side, which can get annoying – and beautifully a dark line. Plus, they blend wonderfully.
Scroll down to see our pick of the very best pencils for artists and designers. These are the tools you need to create the best pencil drawings (and once you’ve picked your pencil, why not pair it with a designer notebook?).
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We’ve rounded up our favourite of the many – way, way too many – pencils available. Whether you want a great shading tool or a technical line-maker, we’ll put the ideal pen at your fingertips. So, pencil in some pencil shopping, why don’t you?
These are the best coloured pencils for students and entry-level artists. Soft, thick cores create a smooth colour laydown for superior blending and shading. The Sanford Prismacolor Premier pencils are a true art medium with thick, soft leads containing brilliant permanent pigments that are smooth, water-resistant and lightfast. Colours are easily blended on all art surfaces to form an infinite variety of hues and shades. Their thick leads resist breakage so you can be as dramatic as you dare.
When selecting the perfect graphite pencil, the first thing to take into consideration is your drawing style. Technical drawing and detailed artwork with fine lines will require different pencils than those used for shading and sketching figures. Do you use dark, thick lines in your sketches or prefer lighter, thinner strokes? Understanding your personal artistic style and needs will help you narrow down the selection when searching for a good drawing pencil.
A trained artist can already create detailed pencil drawings, but when they achieve a real mastery of perspective and 3D space, their art, both literally and figuratively, reaches a whole new level. Here are some examples of 3D pencil art that look like they leap off of the page at you.
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Designer Raxenne Maniquiz on her bright, nature-rich portfolio that’s impossible to pigeonhole
Scroll down to see our picks of pencil sketches and best drawings below!
Prismacolor’s graphite drawing set is a good introductory kit when starting to sketch. It comes with seven graphite drawing pencils of different grades, as well as four woodless graphite pencils. These create beautiful, broad strokes when used on their side, and allow you to experiment with a variety of tools. As an added bonus, the pencil set includes water-soluble graphite pencils, which transform into a wash when brushed with water. All told, the drawing kit is a great way to start sketching seriously.
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These beautiful pencils are brilliant for shading, as well as more rigid drawing, both of which they perform with enchanting smoothness. Responsive and with a wide versatility between each grade, you can’t go wrong with a Rembrandt pencil. And, with its break-resistant lead, it won’t go wrong either.
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Colouring pencilsThe best pencils for colouring08. Derwent Procolour pencils
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Pierre-Yves Riveau is a great artist who lives in Nantes, France and is better known as PEZ on different social networking sites. He works as a professional painter, illustrator and graphic designer. The main secret behind PEZ’s great success is paying attention to both content and detail. The result is fascinating artworks that leave us completely stunned. PEZ’s artworks feature different ordinary subjects that are well-known to us, however they are depicted in a non-traditional and creative way to convey a certain message that is usually related to the life that we all live and the different problems from which we suffer. With PEZ, you can definitely enjoy the amazing beauty of his artworks but you may need to spend some time trying to understand what he wants to say through his artworks.
Do you believe that the stunning images which you see here are just drawings not photos?
In most creative fields, it’s impossible to get away from one important tool—the pencil. It doesn’t matter if you’re an architect, a professional fine artist, or you’re just learning to draw; a good graphite pencil is an essential part of any artist’s supplies.
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Mechanical pencilsThe best mechanical pencils for drawing01. Rotring Rapid Pro
In the pencil world, Blackwing has an impressive pedigree. It developed something of a cult following before being discontinued in 1998. In 2010, Palomino bought the brand, and the result is more than worthy of the Blackwing name. There are three main pencil options to choose from: the Blackwing (similar to a 5B), Blackwing Pearl (4B) and Blackwing 602 (3B). The leads have wax added to them, making them super-smooth to use, and create velvety dark marks. We gave them five stars – you can read our Palomino Blackwing pencils review here. The price you see here is for a set of 12, which is not bad value at all for such good quality kit.
Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Some think so. For that price, you’ve got to love these pencils and lots do. Caran d’Ache is Switzerland is the country’s only pencil manufacturer and has the exclusivity and craftsmanship to match. Each shade and grade is carefully developed and truly beautiful. Of course, they have a gorgeous finish and are made of high quality wood.
And while we’ve gone over how to select the best colored pencils, there are a whole other set of considerations when thinking about the right graphite pencil to add to your collection. In fact, you’ll probably—like most artists—wind up using several different pencils depending on the effect you’re looking for.
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People love these pencils and it’s not hard to understand why: they are wonderfully consistent, which is great when you inevitably quickly run out of them and need another pack, and also refined. And the grade is printed on all three sides of the pencil (I’m looking at you, Derwent Graphic).
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Best Graphite Drawing PencilsDerwent Medium Graphic Drawing Pencils (set of 12)
Pencils for drawingThe best pencils for drawing and sketching03. Palomino Blackwing pencils
The Prismacolor Ebony Graphite pencil, which has a 2B grading, is a beautiful choice for rich, velvety lines. Easily blendable and soft, while they won’t create jet black lines—they get close for graphite. You’ll need to sharpen often due to their softness, and many swear by them for shading that is difficult to achieve without using charcoal.