Types of pencil and uses

Types of Pencils and their uses in drawing.

There are different types of pencils and their uses in drawing. It ranges from graphite to charcoal. Pencil is popularly known as the simplest artistic media with several forms. You can use almost any of the different types of pencils that are available for your drawings.

Pencil and shades

These include the Standard Graphite Pencils which is the commonest. There are also different types of Standard Graphite Pencils. They are usually labelled in the ranges of H, to B; to show their Hardness or Softness. The different types of pencils and their uses in drawing all depends on the artist.

Graphite Pencil

Graphite pencil

Graphite Sticks Pencils are made up of solid sticks of graphite. They can produce thicker and bolder lines; blocking in shadows and dark tones on a large space on drawing paper. Very essential for drawing.

Pencil shades are ordered by their softness/hardness.The higher the number by H, the harder the lead of the pencil and the higher the B the softer.

Charcoal pencil

White charcoal pencil

Charcoal Pencil cores are made of compressed charcoal. It is soft and produces deeper and richer blacks. Charcoal pencils are very good for impressionist drawings and quick sketches. In terms of charcoal there are different types of pencils and their uses in drawing. There are two main types of charcoal pencil i have come across; according to colours they are white and black charcoal.

These charcoals can be further categorized into:

1. Soft

2. medium

3. Hard


Coloured Pencil

Colour pencil

Most artist utilize coloured pencil with milder lead than general classroom pencils. These leads are made of wax and help while setting colors on drawing paper. There are different types of coloured pencils.

Watercolour Pencils are colour-based. The lead effectively dissolved when brought in contact with  water. In this way, you can add isolate measures of water to your lines for more intensity. watercolour pencils can be mixed with color pencils.

How to Sketch

Basically, the way you perceive life around you influences your art. To learn how to draw, you have to get a pen or pencil. But foe beginners; stick However with pencil,  for easy correction.

If you are an absolute beginner you can start drawing basic shapes and from there, move to simple object like  jugs, cups, buckets,  etc. When you understand the concept of shapes and lines  you  can go on to difficult subjects. Over here are resources that will aid you to improve your knowledge on drawing, and also aid you to  improve your speed and accuracy when you sketch.


The different types of pencils and their uses in drawing are  dependent on the requirement of the drawing. If the drawing consists of the darker subjects (e.g. night scene, crow) then it is preferred to use soft pencils to get the required darkness. If the drawing consists of lighter subjects (e.g. clouds in daylight) and line figures, then it is preferred to use hard pencils.

Use of hard pencil

Hard pencil (9H-H) are used for drawing outlines and sketches; normally used in technical drawing, this is because technically drawing is more of outlines than shading. Artist finds this handy for outlines/ sketch. You’ll get very light shades using these pencils because a small amount of lead is fed into paper. These lines are easily erasable. So, the preferred pencil range for drawing brief outlines and for filling the lighter shades of drawing is the H range of pencils.

Use of Soft pencil

The softer pencils (B-9B) are used for drawing darker parts of the drawing. They’re artistic pencils because they are for shading. These pencils have soft leads which mean more amount of lead is fed into the paper. The more lead is fed, the darker the shade you get on the paper.

When sketching it’s advisable to use the lightest pencil.  This is to make you work neat;  mistakes can ruin your work if you start with dark pencils or heavy strokes.

Professionally speaking i’ll advice you to start with light tones before moving to dark tones. If the subject’s tone is similar to 4b pencil tone.  start shading with hb and gradually move to 2b and 4b.   Every subject are composition of both light dark tones. For more understanding of tones you can check out the article on Types of shading techniques.

Hope this article was helpful. Feel free to drop a  comment if you’ve got questions or contribution.

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