by | Mar 12, 2021 | Crafting, Z

Last Updated: Oct 19, 2021 @ 10:21 am.

What are the best drawing pencils? Whether you're a beginner looking for a pencil kit or a more experienced artist looking for charcoal pencils, we've got you covered. We tried out 9 brands of drawing pencils to find the best bets. We also asked our parent readers for their favorites. Here are the ones we'd recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!


Finding the Best Drawing Pencils: Tips & Advice

Let’s talk the best drawing pencils!

If you are new to drawing, drawing pencil kits are a good place to start—but they can be somewhat intimidating, we know.

Here’s a quick 411 on buying drawing pencils:

• Many kits have both graphite and charcoal pencils—these are used for various depths of shading.

• Pencils and hardness. Pencils are graded according to how hard they are, usually with a number and letter. For hard pencils, they range from 8H (the hardest) to plain H. For softer pencils, you’ll see grades from B to 8B (softest).

• What is a sketch stick? Also called blending stumps or paper stumps, these sticks are made of cotton fibers with two pointy ends. Sketch sticks are used to shade and blend graphite and charcoal. To keep a sketch stick sharp, use sandpaper.

• Grey and white erasers—what’s the difference? You’ll note that many kits come with two types of erasers—one is grey (also called a kneaded eraser) and the other is white. The grey ones are slightly sticky and help lift graphite off the paper when you make a mistake. They don’t damage paper like a pink eraser. White erasers are vinyl and used to remove pencil lines that can be difficult to erase. Why white? That way they don’t change the color of the paper if you need to vigorously erase!

Ok, now that you’ve got the lay of the land, here are the pencil kits we’d recommend.

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Best for Beginners

Easy on the wallet
If you want to give drawing a try, this is a good place to start—we liked the good selection of pencils (both charcoal and graphite) plus a sketch stick and sharpeners.
$8.32

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Best For Variety

Excellent gift idea
We loved this kit's blending tools—easy to use, even for beginners. Also nice: canvas case, 2 erasers and even three sketch sticks. Caveat: no sharpener included.
$19.98

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Best For Rough Sketching

Pre-sharpened = ready to go!
This 14 graphite pencil kit comes in a metal tin (nice touch) and is easy on the wallet. Very good quality pencils that are smooth to use.
$6.99

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Best Large Kit

Canvas pouch easy to carry
Yes, this 29-piece kit is comprehensive: we loved the 18 pencils plus craft knife and even 3 paper stumps. Great starter kit—and there are even extra slots to add more pencils.
$12.99

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Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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