Best Pencils For Drawings – The best pencils that you can use!

Dear artist,

In my first blog I talked about “Best Drawing Paper” this time the topic is “Best Pencils Drawing” in the last blog I talked about different kinds of paper. So I think the next step in the learning process is talking about pencils. There are some much different types that you can lose your focus very fast. But which ones are the best? I think you already know the answer! You learned it in my last blog. There is no best one, but of course there a some very good ones that can help you to improve.

Graphite or Charcoal

Graphite and charcoal pencils are very different. In the next paragraphs I want to talk about the following topics to explain you some importing things: Sharpening, Shining, Darkest Tones, Disturbing particles in the pencil, recommendations and the possibility to mix graphite with charcoal.


Sharpening Pencils

It starts with the sharpening. !You will learn how to sharp both kinds of pencils in my next article! A beginner maybe could ask: “What is difficult in sharpening a pencil”. Believe me, it is one of the hardest parts! Especially when it comes to soft charcoal pencils. I never thought that until a great artist showed me how he sharps his pencils. He told me that his sharpening takes a big part of the time during a drawing. To make it short, charcoal breaks much easier than graphite. I will explain you much more about that in the next blog!

How to sharp



Another difference is the shining of the graphite. When you move a graphite drawing in the light it will reflect the light very strong. Some artists don’t like that look and don’t use graphite pencils as a consequence. You can try to avoid the shining effect of the graphite drawing by drawing very soft, layer by layer. The more you press the pencil on the paper and the paper texture, the more it will shine, but even if you draw very soft, layer by layer, you can’t avoid the shining of the graphite completely. On the other hand you can make almost everything you want with charcoal pencils and they normally won’t shine. Of course that doesn’t mean that you should press very strong with them, because you don’t want to break them and you shouldn’t destroy the paper texture.


The Darkest Tones

In my opinion you can go much darker with the charcoal pencils than with the graphite pencils. Furthermore, there are also pencils with black stone (filtered paste) in it. With these pencils you can create a completely dark surface without shining! Of course you have to make it layer by layer to reach the darkest possible tone. In the upper part of my drawing I started with the first layers. In the part under the arm you can see how dark you can go! I love it! There is so much contrast.

Darkest Pencil

I am sure you want to know which pencils I use to go that dark. Like always I will share it with you. 🙂

It is the Pierre Noire 3B Pencil from Conté a Paris. You can use this one for the darkest parts:

Conté à Paris Pierre Noire 3B Sketching Pencil

You should also check out the Pierre Noire set with HB and 2B Pencils:

Conté à Paris Pierre Noire HB and 2B Drawing Pencils (Pack of 2)


Disturbing Particles

Where is light there is always shadow! So let’s talk about the disadvantage of the dark charcoal pencils. When you draw with them, you often realize that there is something like a sand corn at the tip. In this case you should immediately stop drawing on your picture and make some extra strokes on an extra paper until it goes away. This happens quiet often with charcoal pencils and can be a very irritating. Sometimes you also have some particles in graphite pencils, but not that frequently. Sometimes the particles in charcoal are that big that you have to sharpen a bit to fix it.


Mixing Graphite with Charcoal

This is what I do in my drawings. I mix graphite with charcoal. For the dark parts I use Pierre Noire Charcoal Pencil from Conté a Paris. You can find the link in the paragraph “Darkest Tones”. For the mid tones I use standard charcoal pencils from Conté a Paris. They are a bit easier to sharp than the Pierre Noire (You can get crazy when it breaks very often :D).

Here the Link for the Charcoal Pencils:

Conté à Paris Round H Carbon Sketching Pencil

For the brightest and very soft parts I use graphite pencils. You can use them for example when you want to darken down a highlight, which is not completly white. There are a lot of good graphite pencils on the market but I prefer Rembrand Pencils from Lyra and Farber Castell 9000:

Lyra Rembrand:

LYRA Rembrandt Art Design Drawing Pencils, Set of 12 Pencils, Assorted Degrees (1111120)

Farber Castell 9000:

Faber-Castell 9000 Art Set 12 x Pencils


Start with graphite pencils

If you are a complete beginner you should start with the graphite pencils first, because they are much easier to handle and to sharpen. If you directly start with the charcoal pencils you could lose motivation because they break so often and it is hard to get a sharp tip.

I recommend you starting with the graphite. When you have some experience and feel ready for the next step, you can start with the charcoal or with mixing charcoal with graphite.

But this is ART, so do what you want and enjoy drawing! 😀



If you have any questions or comments I am more than happy to answer them.


All the Best



Please note that I receive compensation if you use my links, and eventually I may earn enough to buy a pencil or two 😀





  1. Rudy says

    “Wow this page is really cool! I hope you upload a lot of new drawing lessons soon”

    1. admin says

      Thank you very much Rudy, I hope my drawing tutorials will help you to become a great artist! 🙂

  2. Adama Ruberic says

    I love this site. As recommended i bought the conte a noire pierre noire and lyra set. The pierre noire is my fav now. Necessary topics for drawing are explained. I am looking forward for more

    1. admin says

      I am happy to hear that :). I also love the Pierre Noire pencils! I hope you will have a lot of fun with them. I will upload free drawing lessons every week now. I hope you make good progress! See you soon 🙂


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