What types of pencils are there?


The moment you enjoy drawing, you will have to deal with different types of pencils. There are very many different pencils to be found. Because of this, many people also wonder exactly what types of pencils there are. After all, this can sometimes be tricky to know. 

Pencils can be found for any age. For example, there are pencils designed specifically for children. These tend to be somewhat smaller pencils. Also, in most cases, these can be a bit cheaper. There are also pencils for adults. In particular, these can be found in many different shapes and sizes. 

What is a pencil?

A pencil is originally made of lead. This is also where the name pencil comes from. A pencil used to contain a kind of lead rod. Nowadays, however, they are no longer made of lead. This is because lead is a toxic metal. However, today they are made from a combination of graphite and a type of clay. Graphite is a natural pigment that is non-toxic to humans. This also makes it possible for children to use a gray pencil. 

The mixture of the clay and graphite in a pencil is baked in a special kiln. The hardness of a pencil is determined by the ratio of clay to graphite. The more graphite there is in a pencil, the softer the pencil is as well. Therefore, a hard pencil is made of little graphite and a lot of clay. 

Gray pencils

You can find many different gray pencils. Many people don't really know the difference between these pencils. However, this is fairly easy to explain. This is because most pencils have an H or a B. This usually includes a number of numbers. 

Here the H stands for a hard pencil and the B stands for a soft pencil. The number behind this indicates the gradation. The higher the number, the harder or softer the pencil is. This also helps you determine which pencil is best to use in which situation. 

There is also a middle ground between hard and soft. This is also indicated by HB. These are the pencils most commonly used. In fact, HB pencils are used in offices and classrooms as a gray pencil. This is a mixture of a hard and a soft pencil. 

Soft pencils are mostly used by artists. This is because this is what they do best. This is because a soft pencil is good for sketching or creating shadows in a drawing. It is also easier to use soft pencils to fill entire areas on the paper. 

Designers, architects and technical draftsmen usually use hard pencils. This is because they are suitable for drawing tight lines. Therefore, the moment you need to draw a sharp and tight line, it is best to choose a hard pencil. 


You can find many different types of colored pencils. Color pencils actually work the same as a gray pencil. The difference between these is actually that with a colored pencil there are also different colors that you can make use of. 

A colored pencil is made from the same kind of clay used in gray pencils. This clay is then mixed with a type of pigment. The pigment gives a pencil its color. The more pigment is added, the more expressive the color of the pencil is. 

The amount of pigment in a pencil also determines how hard it is. This is because more pigment causes a pencil to be fairly soft. This works about the same as the graphite in a gray pencil. However, pigment also gives a stronger color to the pencil. 

Different colors of colored pencils

The moment you are looking for colored pencils, this can still be quite difficult. This is because there are very many different colors of colored pencils. The moment you are looking for a particular color, it can be relatively easy to find it. However, this is not so with other colors in most cases. 

Most manufacturers of colored pencils have around 100 different colors. This ensures that there are many different colors that you can make use of. The nice thing about pencils is that there is often a difference per brand. This means that you may like one brand of pencils better than another. 

If you go for some more expensive pencils, only high-quality pigments are actually used. This ensures that they are strong and penetrating colors that give off strong color and stand up well to light. 

With cheap pencils you still sometimes have the danger of the pigment in the pencils fading at some point. This is because in that case the pigment in the pencils is not very good. As a result, you end up with colors that fade due to the UV radiation in the light. 

The advantage to good pencils is that they are also not easily removable. For example, it is not possible to get rid of them with an eraser or with water. Therefore, the moment you want to get rid of these colors, it is necessary to do so with turpentine. 

Different types of colored pencils

When you talk about colored pencils, there is no general kind that are used. This is because there are many types of colored pencils that you can make use of. In most cases, the major difference between pencils is how the pigment is mixed into the filling of the pencil. 

Wax pencils

Wax pencils are pencils that you will encounter the most. This is because all colored pencils on which it is not otherwise stated are wax pencils. The inside of wax pencils are made of a kind of hard wax. You will also notice this when you draw with wax pencils for a while. 

The moment you draw with wax pencils and do so for several layers, you will find that you have to deal with a layer of wax on the paper. Once there is a layer of wax on your drawing, it is no longer possible to add more color. This is because it means the color is already optimized on the paper. 

Oil pencils

Some pencils are also made oil-based. With these pencils it is quite possible to work with multiple layers of color. This is because there is a relatively high amount of pigment in these pencils. This also allows you to get more color on the paper quickly. 

The advantage of oil pencils is that it is possible to build up the colors in multiple layers. Furthermore, it is relatively easy to blend the colors. This allows you to use two colors to create a different color. Because of this, these pencils are widely used by artists. 

An oil pencil contains a relatively high amount of pigment. This also makes them hard pencils. However, this also ensures that the point stays sharp for a long time. In fact, the color that comes off is very expressive. This also makes it unnecessary to press hard on these pencils. 

The disadvantage of oil pencils is that they are relatively expensive. This is because a lot of pigment is used in these pencils. Especially if high-quality pigment is used, the price can quickly go up. This is therefore something you need to take into account. 

Pastel pencils

Pastel pencils are very soft pencils. This also makes it possible to create a soft effect with these pencils. However, because the pencils are so soft, it is easy to break them off. For this reason, it is also important to handle these pencils carefully when drawing with them. 

The moment you start mixing the colors of pastel pencils with each other, the colors become a lot less expressive. This is why the pencils are not always suitable for mixing with each other. Furthermore, there are also reasonable instructions for use with pastel pencils. 

For example, pastel pencils are best used on grainy paper. This is because here it is possible for the color to be better absorbed by the paper. This is because the pigment of the pastel pencils does not stick to the paper as quickly. By using grainy paper, it is a lot easier for the pigment to adhere to the paper. Pastel pencils can look very nice on colored paper. 

Because pastel pencils are slightly harder than pastel crayons, it is possible to use them to add details to drawings you have made with pastel crayons. However, it is important to work from light to dark. This ensures that the darker shades stand out above the lighter ones. The moment you do this the other way around, you run the risk of ending up with one big stain and no longer seeing any details. 

Holbein pencils

Despite being a brand of pencils, Holbein pencils are actually a distinct kind of pencils. This is because the pencils are made from a mixture of wax, oil and grease. This combination makes for an interesting way of drawing. 

This is because the combination of wax, oil and fats makes you get a kind of creamy pencil. The advantage of this is that they are neither too soft nor too hard. Many draftsmen therefore like to use Holbein pencils. 

Holbein pencils also have an interesting other way they can be used. This is because it is also possible to buy a special kind of solvent for the pencils. This makes it possible to use the pencils as a watercolor as well. 

Watercolor pencils

Watercolor pencils are actually a category unto themselves. This is because watercolor pencils are colored pencils that have a special type of emulsifier added to them. This allows watercolor pencils to dissolve in water. This allows the pencils to be used for many different purposes. 

The moment you want to buy watercolor pencils, the first thing that is important to consider is the quality of the pencils. This is because with better quality there is also more pigment present. The pigment should also be of a good quality. This is because if this is not the case, you may run into a number of things. 

Thus, you then end up with watercolor pencils that are not lightfast. Lightfast in watercolor pencils means that the pigment does not slowly but surely migrate away from the color. The moment light hits the pencil, UV light also hits it. UV light allows the pigment to disappear if it is not a quality pigment. Over time, this can cause the entire drawing to fade. This, of course, is a waste of the drawing you created. 

Ways to use watercolor pencils

There are several ways in which watercolor pencils can be used. For example, the first way is to make a drawing with the pencils. The moment you have made this drawing, then you can wash it by going over it with a damp brush. 

It is also possible to moisten the paper first. If you then start drawing on the paper with watercolor pencils, you will get a different effect than if you go over it with a damp brush. This can also come out very nicely if done correctly. 

Furthermore, you can choose to sand off a bit of the tip of a watercolor pencil with a sandpaper. In fact, this makes it possible to use a spray bottle to spray some water on it. This will give you a nice effect on the paper. 

It is also an option to choose to set up colors on a palette. Then you can pick them up with a brush. This allows you to use watercolor pencils in the same way as paint. If you handle it the right way, this can come out very nicely. 

The moment you want to experiment with watercolor pencils, it is also possible to choose a combination of these techniques. This again can give a completely different effect. However, it is important to watch carefully which ways you combine and in which order you do this. After all, one way can sometimes blur the other a bit. This is something you always want to avoid. 

Watercolor pencils quality

The moment you want to buy watercolor pencils, you will find out that there are several pencils you can choose from that you can buy. However, not every pencil is of a good quality. Therefore, this is something that is important to consider. After all, the moment you work with watercolor pencils, it is important to have the right quality. 

Therefore, there are some things you can look out for when you want to buy watercolor pencils. This is because when it comes to pencils, it is not wise to just buy the cheapest pencils. For some beginners this might be an option, but in general it is better to spend a little more money on the pencils you buy. This is because it assures you of the quality. It is very important to consider the quality of the pencils. 

Watercolor pencils can be found in different price ranges. However, this does not directly imply that the more expensive pencils are better than the cheaper pencils. In fact, with pencils it is very important to consider your personal preferences. For example, you may prefer to work with pencils that are cheaper. After all, what matters most is quality.

You can tell the quality of watercolor pencils by a number of things. First, you can tell by the amount of pigment put in them. The more pigment found in watercolor pencils, the higher the quality as well. However, the quality of the pigment is also important. This is because not every pigment has good quality. In fact, some types of pigment do not have good quality at all. Therefore, this is something you should look for when buying watercolor pencils. 

Art grip pencils

Most pencils are made with a hexagonal shape to grip them. For many artists, this is the ideal way to hold a pencil. However, there are also a number of other shapes of pencils. For example, there are also art grip pencils. 

These are pencils with a triangle instead of a hexagon. The moment you use these correctly, it is possible to have very pleasant pencils. Many people think of a triangle as an ergonomic design. This means that you can draw with it longer without getting tired of your hands. In fact, with traditional pencils you do have this danger. 

Furthermore, art grip pencils are also equipped with a kind of non-slip layer. This layer allows you to hold the pencils in a comfortable way. This also gives you a firmer grip on the pencil. This makes it easier to draw precision. Therefore, if you want to draw a steady, tight line, going for these types of pencils can be a good choice over the traditional pencils usually used. 

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