Which Type of Pencil is Best for Sketching?

It can be very overwhelming when you first start to sketch because there are so many opinions and “right” ways to do things out there, that you can easily get lost. So in this guide, I will give you an overview of the different grades of pencils, what to use them for and what the individual grades actually mean. Weh you are done reading this article you will know everything, that you need to know about pencil grades and what to use them for!

So which type of pencil is best for sketching? The short answer is, it depends on the kind of paper, that you are using and what you want to draw. But generally, you can use an HB Pencil or softer. So Everything between HB and 7B is fine.

So depending on the paper, that you use you should either use a softer type of graphite, like a pencil between 4B and 7B or a harder type of graphite, like a pencil grade between HB and B4.

You can easily tell what kind of pencil to use by looking at the tooth of your paper. The tooth of your paper is basically how much texture it has and how hard the texture is. The More and the harder the Texture of your paper is the more tooth it has.

If your paper is very smooth then you should use a graphite pencil, that is graded harder.

If your paper is very toothy then you should use a graphite pencil, that is graded softer.

I would not use any graphite pencil, that is graded harder than HB for sketching or drawing. You will only damage your paper when you are drawing with a harder pencil.

Which Pencil is Best for Shading?

The short answer is, you should use a softer graded pencil. Anywhere between HB and 6B is best for shading. I would generally use a softer pencil for shading, though.

When it comes to choosing the right pencil grade for shading you can choose pretty much the same steps as I mentioned above.

Look at the texture of your paper as described above. If the paper has a lot of texture, then you should use a softer graded pencil for shading.

If it has a smoother surface then you should use a harder graded pencil.

Generally, I would suggest using a softer pencil for shading, though.

What is the Difference Between HB and 2B Pencils?

The short answer is, Graphite Pencils are graded with Numbers and Letters. The Letters indicate if the graphite is hard or soft and the numbers indicate how hard or soft a pencil is. So an HB Pencil is harder than a 2B Pencil meaning more graphite will be left on the page by a 2B pencil making the lines darker and easier to smudge or smear.

So every graphite Pencil is graded with Numbers and Letters. The Letters are H, F, HB, and B. H being the hardest grade and B being the softest grade.

The Letters H and B also have numbers, that further indicate how hard or soft they are. The higher the number, the softer or harder they are.

So a 2H Pencil is harder than a 1H graphite Pencil and a B2 Pencil is softer than a B1 Pencil.

A Pencil, that is graded F is a little harder than an HB Pencil and this pencil is easy to sharpen to a very fine tip.

The HB pencil is a pencil, that is graded exactly between H and B. So it is harder than B but still a little softer than B.

The softer a graphite Pencil is, the more graphite it will leave on the page with each line. So for drawing you generally use a softer pencil, because it is easier to control, to erase and a softer pencil tip will not damage your pencil easily.

Which Pencil is Darker HB or 2B?

As I described above, graphite pencils are graded in a system, that consists of letters and numbers. This grading system shows in one look how soft or hard the graphite of the pencil is.

So the short answer is, an HB Pencil is generally lighter than a 2B pencil because a 2B pencil is softer and will, therefore, leave more graphite on the drawing surface with each line than the HB pencil.

Contrary to popular belief a 2B Pencil does not have more “black” in its graphite core than an HB Pencil. It is simply softer and therefore darker than a harder graded pencil.

What Does the HB on My Pencil Stand For?

The HB on your pencil is the designation of a grading system wich will show how hard or soft the graphite core of your paper is. HB is Medium Hard and is commonly used for writing. If a Pencil is graded B it is softer than an HB grade and if it is graded H it is harder than an HB pencil. the Numbers next to the Letter just mean how soft or hard the Pencil is.

GRADECHARACTERUSED FOR
9BVery Soft– Drawing
– Shading
– Sketching
8BVery Soft– Drawing
– Shading
– Sketching
7BVery Soft– Drawing
– Shading
– Sketching
6BVery Soft– Drawing
– Shading
– Sketching
5BSoft– Drawing
– Shading
– Sketching
4BSoft– Drawing
– Shading
– Sketching
3BSoft– Drawing
– Shading
– Sketching
– Writing
2BSoft– Drawing
– Shading
– Sketching
– Writing
BSoft– Drawing
– Shading
– Sketching
– Writing
HBMedium– Writing
– Technical Drawing
– Under Drawing
FMedium– Writing
– Technical Drawing
– Under Drawing
HHard– Technical Drawing
– Crafting (To mark something)
2HHard – Technical Drawing
3HVery Hard– Technical Drawing
– Very Detailed Technical Drawings
4HVery Hard– Technical Drawing
– Very Detailed Technical Drawings
5HVery Hard– Technical Drawing
– Very Detailed Technical Drawings
6HExtremely Hard– For very special purposes
7H Extremely Hard – For very special purposes
8H Extremely Hard – For very special purposes

The HB grade is basically the middle of the scala. a Pencil graded HB is softer than an H Pencil and still a little harder than a B graded Pencil.

HB Pencils are commonly used for writing. I personally don´t use them for drawing or sketching simply because it is too hard for me personally. I like softer graded Pencils like a 2B or 5B Pencil.

What is an F Grade Pencil For?

An F graded pencil is for writing mostly. It is too hard for drawing but it can be used for technical drawings. An F graded Pencil is not easier to sharpen but because it is a little harder than an HB pencil it stays sharp a little longer.

Generally, an F Graded Pencil is a little harder than an HB Pencil and it is mostly used for writing and in some rare cases for drawing.

Do I Need all Pencil Grades to Create a Good Drawing?

Absolutely not. It is important to test different pencils and know the differences between them but you don’t need to use all pencils in the grading systems to create an awesome drawing.

I personally only ever use two or three different pencils per drawing. For most of them I actually only use a 2B pencil.

When you plan to draw I would stick to the softer graded pencils just because they are better suited for ost drawings, that you want to create.