This beautiful metal drafting pencil is truly one of the best pencils for pros. It features a hexagonal body and a circular cross-hatch metal grip.
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 any age.
Choosing a good title for your art is important. It says something about what the drawing or painting means to you as an artist and gives the viewer some clues about approaching the piece.
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).
(And once you’ve picked your pencil, why not pair it with a designer notebook?)
Tools of the experts: Eva-Lotta Lamm20 phenomenally realistic pencil drawingsDrawing techniques: 7 fundamentals of pencil drawing
Never assume that the viewer will be familiar with the scene. Even ‘famous’ monuments might be unfamiliar to young people or people in other countries.
If colour is your thing, you can’t go wrong with this budget set.
Admittedly, there are only so many ‘Standing Nudes’ that you can do before your catalog becomes confusing. You can combat this by using unique features in the title or subtitle – details such as the model’s name, date/time, medium, pose, or location.
Still life drawings can be rather tricky to title. Keep it simple.
For a much more reasonable price, this set of hexagonal design pencils from Lyra 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.
Avoid cliche, unless used for irony.Be appropriate to the scale and spirit of the piece.Don’t be pretentious.Give your viewer information without stating the obvious.State the obvious if you must, to identify the piece.
Shorter is generally better. Let the art do the talking.
Furthermore, the pencil comes with a handy extra-long twisting eraser and 0.7mm HB lead.
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.
Scroll down to see our pick of the very best pencils for artists and designers – so whether you already know the fundamentals of pencil drawing or you’re just learning, you can be sure you’ve got the right pencil in your hand.
Studio nudes given a melodramatic title can seem pretentious, so be careful. Your best strategy is to take a leaf out of Francis Bacon’s book and give a descriptive title.
Do you have the best pencils for your next project? Whether you’re a professional artist or you’re learning how to draw, it’s important to have the right tools to hand for the type of work you’re doing.
Albrecht Dürer pencils are made using high-quality materials.
The best mechanical pencils The best pencils for drawing The best pencils for colouring The best watercolour pencils
The Graphite Line 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 pencil, but we suspect that once you’ve tried it, you won’t want to use anything else.
For less developed still life works or studies, your title can be descriptive without stating the obvious. Consider using time, season or mood as part of the title.
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.
If you find yourself putting such a drawing on show, don’t be pressured to give it a fancy title that might be incongruous with the nature of the piece. Instead, identify the drawing with a name that includes theme or subject, medium, and date.
As an alternative to using a pencil for sketching and illustration, have you considered using graphite powder? The Cretacolor Charcoal Powder is made using a special deep-firing method to produce a dense, rich charcoal. Develop large-scale drawings or mix with water and a binding agent for additional tonal effects.
Colours are easily blended on all art surfaces to form an infinite variety of hues and shades. Their thick leads resist breakage so you may get as dramatic as you dare.
Sometimes the location doesn’t matter, but often people want to know if those familiar mountains are the ones they know, so let the title tell the viewer where the landscape is.
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This pencil set is suited for students and entry-level artists. Soft, thick cores create a smooth colour laydown for superior blending and shading. The pencils are a true art medium with thick, soft leads containing brilliant permanent pigments that are smooth, water-resistant and lightfast.
Revealing personal knowledge or connection is interesting: ‘Oak Tree on Grandpa’s Farm, Ontario’ tells the viewer something about the artist. too.Often the title can pick up on irony, contrast or drama in the scene: ‘Midsummer, Greenland’ for a frosty northern landscape, or ‘Waiting for Rain, Mildura’ for a parched Australian paddock.
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, 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.
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.
If you are interested in formal design, let the viewer know to stop at the surface: ‘Design in Blue and Green’ or ‘Pattern No. 2 – Squares’ informs the viewer not to look for deeper meaning.If your work is communicating a concept, give the viewer a clue into your thinking.
Titles such as ‘Reading Beckett – May Be’ or ‘Quantum Mechanical Headache’ are going to help your viewer understand and appreciate your work far more than ‘Untitled Number 1’.
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.
These pencils, which are sold individually and in sets, make smooth, easy lines on the paper, making them ideal for bold line drawings and freestyle sketches.
By all means be more creative, but do watch out for cliche and sentimentality.
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 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. Artist Kelvin Okafor is an avid user of the product, and his portfolio of drawings is spectacular.
The best watercolour pencils11. Staedtler Karat Aquarell watercolour pencils
Because we take our art seriously, it’s easy to go a little over the top. We’ve all seen it – the bored nude sitting in a cold and poorly lit studio, titled ‘Summer Reverie’. Or an artificial arrangement of crockery titled ‘Afternoon Tea’. Possibly worse is the complex and mysterious abstract piece with the unhelpful name of ‘Untitled’.
The cushion point mechanism allows the sliding sleeve to give slightly under pressure to reduce lead breakage while writing. The pencil includes a clip and eraser under the cap. It’s a fantastic mechanical pencil suited for layouts and typography.
This set 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 they offer over 100 years of fade resistance.
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.
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 ideal for any artist.
‘Winston’ – simply the pet’s name’Ch. Doogie Zanbern of Prague’ – the full pedigree name’Branford at Central Park’
If colour is your thing, you can’t go wrong with this beautiful set of colouring pencils from BIC Conté. These high-quality art instruments have a wood-free, synthetic resin design, which make them completely splinter-free should they break.
The Faber-Castell Grip Mechanical Pencil has won several design awards and has become deservedly popular. This wonderful pencil feels second-nature thanks to the perfect-sized triangular barrel covered in raised rubber dots, which allow for a firm and comfortable grip.
‘Figure Drawing 23′ for the basic naked model’Torso – Graphite Pencil’ or ‘Seated Figure in Charcoal”Red-Haired Model with Pomegranate’ or something similarly descriptive’2-hour Pose Number 1”Sarah Jane with Drapery”David in the Conservatory’In a pinch, a little humor – ‘Boredom Sets In’.
There are good reasons to have reservations about major pieces going untitled, yet, there is sometimes a good reason to. Artists may wish to let a work ‘speak for itself’ and not impose a ‘text’ upon the image (and the viewer). Then again, the very ‘untitled-ness’ of it — the absence of a label — may be in itself important.
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Here’s a tricky subject. Pets can evoke a lot of emotion for people, and so we too often give pet portraits overly emotional names that can come across as very saccharine. Once again, simplicity is usually the best approach in this case, unless you are working with an image that tells a very strong story.
Quite often, artwork really doesn’t need a title. This is particularly true of smaller sketches, studies, and preparatory works. Many sketches are simply that, working sketches that have no intention of standing on their own as a work of art.
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.
‘Landscape Sketch, December 2001”Untitled Figure Study”Domestic Scene”Sketchbook Page – Hands”Study from Rembrandt – Two Philosophers, National Gallery’
Simple: ‘Still Life 1985’ or ‘Still Life – Color Study”Fruit Bowl’, ‘Found Objects’, ‘Spring Blooms’ depending on the objects’Katie’s Favourites’ or ‘Autumn in the Kitchen”Conversation’, ‘After the Argument’ or ‘Too Late’ for metaphorical pieces.
The best mechanical pencils 01. Rotring Rapid Pro Drafting Pencil
Creative still life setups will give you more opportunity to give them interesting titles, with natural ‘slice of life’ arrangements offering a ‘story’ more than something artificial. Applying some thought to your still life arrangement, creating a deliberate mood or theme, will be helpful when it comes to choosing a title that is integrated with the work.
Palmonio’s range more than lives up to the Blackwing brand name.
If you’ve drawn a sad zoo lion, for heaven’s sake don’t name the drawing ‘King of the Jungle’ unless you are after irony. If you’ve drawn a magnificent wild lion, don’t call him that either – the cliche is too painful. ‘London Zoo Lion’ or ‘Lion, Kenya 2000’ are simple but adequate titles.
With a little thought, you can avoid a confusing or off-putting title and find a good fit for your art and your audience.
These are a reliable brand and a great option for beginners or more advanced artists. We gave these five stars in our Staedtler watercolour pencil review.
The best pencils for drawing and sketching03. Palomino Blackwing pencils
Unless you want to make your art as obscure (and many artists do), the title of an abstract image is particularly important. Often the title is the only key to the art other than the piece itself.
Illustration The best pencils: colouring, drawing and sketching The best pencils: colouring, drawing and sketching