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All about our first tool "Pencils"!

boy holding pencil

As an illustrator, the type of pencil you use can greatly affect the quality of your work. With so many different types of pencils on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your specific needs. In this blog, we will discuss the few types of pencils and but first, let's dig a bit of history.


The concept of a writing instrument resembling a pencil can be traced back to ancient times. The ancient Romans and Egyptians used thin metal rods or styluses to make marks on papyrus or wax tablets. These early writing tools lacked a core of graphite or lead. In the 16th century, a significant development occurred when a large deposit of graphite was discovered in Borrowdale, England. Initially, the locals used graphite chunks to mark sheep. Later, it was found that graphite was suitable for writing due to its softness and ability to leave a dark mark on paper!

In the 17th century, graphite was encased in wood and wrapped in string or leather for improved grip and stability creating a more convenient writing tool.

The 18th century saw significant improvements in pencil design. Instead of using string or leather, wooden casings made from cedar or other softwoods became the norm :)


1. Graphite Pencils:

Graphite pencils are the most commonly used type of pencils in the art world. They are available in a range of hardness and darkness grades, indicated by the letters "H" and "B." The "H" stands for hard, while the "B" stands for soft. Harder pencils, such as 2H or 4H, produce lighter and crisper lines, making them ideal for technical drawings and detailed work. On the other hand, softer pencils like 2B or 4B create darker and smoother lines, perfect for shading, sketching, and creating rich textures.

hb pencil

2. Colored Pencils:

Colored pencils offer a vibrant and expressive medium for artists. They come in a wide array of colors, allowing artists to create beautiful and intricate illustrations. Colored pencils consist of a wax or oil-based core that delivers rich pigments onto the paper with a plethora of colors at your fingertips, you can layer, blend, and mix to your heart's content. These pencils are perfect for bringing life to your artwork with their rich pigments and smooth strokes.

line drawing of pencil

3. Watercolor Pencils

Watercolor pencils are like chameleons, able to switch between colored pencils and watercolors. These pencils combine the precision of colored pencils with the versatility of watercolors. These pencils contain water-soluble pigments, allowing artists to create beautiful watercolor effects when activated with water. They can be used dry for precise lines or with water for delicate washes, blending, and layering. Watercolor pencils are a fantastic choice for artists who enjoy working with both dry and wet media

line drawing of pencil and brush

4. Charcoal Pencils:

Charcoal pencils are the rebels of the pencil world and are a favorite among artists who want to achieve bold and expressive drawings. Made from compressed charcoal, these pencils offer deep, rich blacks and a unique texture. They are excellent for creating dramatic contrasts, loose sketches, and smudged effects. One can easily blend them with fingers, blending stumps, or brushes to create smooth shadows, gradients, and soft edges.

black and drawing of graphite pencil

4. Mechanical Pencils:

Mechanical pencils, also known as clutch pencils, are sleek and precise pencils designed to give you ultimate control. No need to sharpen them constantly because they come with a refillable lead mechanism. They're perfect for technical drawings and intricate details

line drawing of mechanical pencil

Today, pencils remain a widely used writing and drawing instrument, valued for their simplicity, versatility, and ease of use. Despite the digital age, pencils continue to have a place in our lives, offering a tangible and tactile experience in an increasingly digital world. Now that you've met these fabulous pencils, it's time to explore them practically! Each type brings its own special flair to your artwork.




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