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Graphite, Ebony, Jet Black, & Smooth Drawing Pencils, What to Choose for Your Drawings

Updated on September 19, 2012

Your Pencils, the Potential they Hold!

Hello, fellow art students, and yes, I did say fellow art students, because I feel I will be a student of drawing for the rest of my artistic life. You can always improve your skills. I'm going to go through different pencils and show you what they can do and where they are a good choice. Some artists work exclusively in pencil and do an amazing job with this medium.

HB pencils: good for fine line work and detail work, would be good for a scientific drawing or any drawing that requires clean lines lines, does not smudge easily. These are in the mid range of pencils. You can use a kneaded eraser and if you still need to erase out more, try a Staedtler Mars Eraser to remove all of the lead from the paper.

  • A rule of thumb: the harder the lead, the finer and lighter the line and the harder you have to press to get a dark value (the lightness or darkness of a color or of the black of a pencil). I have mentioned HB pencils first here because they are commonly used and resemble a No 2 pencil.

A 9H pencil is very hard and has a very light line. Very good for fine detail work.

A 6H, 4H and 2H pencils are still hard, but as you go lower in the number range, you can get darker values because the leads are getting softer.

Now we will go to the B grade pencils; these are much softer and are made for deepening your darkest values in you drawing without too much of a struggle. They do smudge easily, though.

2B pencil is slightly softer than an HB

4B pencil is slightly softer than the 2B

6B pencil is softer than 2B and 4B; good dark tones here

EB pencil is one of the softest along with EE; very soft and grainy, would be great for darkest tones in animal fur or a dark tone in a still life composition where you want to show the difference between the darkest darks and the lightest lights.

Try all of these pencils and try different subjects; please do not be intimidated by the myriad of artist materials out there, they are great to experiment with.  In my next hub, I will be talking about papers.  Good luck and keep drawing!


Drawing Supplies - Where to Get Them!

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    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image
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      thoughtfulgirl2 6 years ago from East Coast

      Thank-you, Hipprintz, glad you found the article useful!

    • profile image

      Hipprintz 6 years ago

      Great information for aspiring artists! Thank you!