• 10 Best Drawing Pencils UK 2022 | Mechanical Pencils and More 1
  • 10 Best Drawing Pencils UK 2022 | Mechanical Pencils and More 2
  • 10 Best Drawing Pencils UK 2022 | Mechanical Pencils and More 3
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10 Best Drawing Pencils UK 2022 | Mechanical Pencils and More

Whether you're putting together the basics of your artist's kit or simply looking for a sketching tool to get some ideas down, the humble drawing pencil is a must-have. Because they are both easy to use and erasable, pencils are usually the go-to for creative people for drawing out a sketch, sculpture or design plan.


The greatest thing about drawing pencils is their accessibility. Used by professionals and beginners alike, they are also widely used by children both in and out of school hours. We've created this guide to help you get your hands on the best of the bunch for shading, detail, sketching before painting and more from the likes of Derwent, Caran d'Ache and Moleskine. 

This Article's Contributors

mybest Editing Team
  • Last updated: 02-02-2022
Table of Contents

Compare the Best Drawing Pencils

For those after a quick look, here is our Top 5:

  1. Derwent - Graphic Medium Pencils for £11.39
  2. Moleskine - Graphite Drawing Pencils Set for £12.98
  3. Nicpro - 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Set for £6.99
  4. Caran d'Ache - Graphite Line for £17.49
  5. Derwent - Water-Soluble Sketching Pencils for £8.50

For a more in-depth look at the comprehensive top 10 selection, make sure to read on to learn more about the different types of drawing pencils available and understand how our ranking was determined.


This article's chosen EC site price listings are reflective of its publishing date.

Image
1
Derwent Graphic Medium Pencils 1

Derwent

2
Moleskine Graphite Drawing Pencils Set 1

Moleskine

3
Nicpro 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Set 1

Nicpro

4
Caran d'Ache Graphite Line 1

Caran d'Ache

5
Derwent Water-Soluble Sketching Pencils 1

Derwent

6
LYRA Rembrandt Sketching Set 1

LYRA

7
YSLON Professional Drawing Pencils Set 1

YSLON

8
Amazon Basics Sketch and Drawing Pencil Set 1

Amazon Basics

9
STAEDTLER Noris Pencil Assorted Grades 1

STAEDTLER

10
uni-ball Kuru Toga  1

uni-ball

Name

Graphic Medium Pencils

Graphite Drawing Pencils Set

2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Set

Graphite Line

Water-Soluble Sketching Pencils

Rembrandt Sketching Set

Professional Drawing Pencils Set

Sketch and Drawing Pencil Set

Noris Pencil Assorted Grades

Kuru Toga

Features

Trustworthy Drawing Pencils From a Classic Brand

High-Quality Pencil Set Made in the UK From FSC-Certified Wood

A Metal Lead Holder With All the Refills You Need for Drawing

An Artist-Level Range With All the Black Shades You Need

Water-Soluble Pencils That Can Be Used Both Wet and Dry for Different Effects

An Assorted Pack of Superior-Quality Sketching Pencils

A Professional Set That Includes the Full Range of Shades

A Set For Artists of All Skill Levels

A Great Budget Option for Kids and Adults

A Revolutionary Self-Sharpening Mechanical Pencil

Price£11.39£12.98£6.99£17.49£8.50£10.40£7.99£6.65£2.25£11.99
Type of Pencil(s)Regular pencilsRegular pencils made with FSC woodMechanical pencilRegular pencilsWater-soluble pencilsRegular pencilsRegular pencilRegular pencilsRegular pencilMechanical pencil
Pencil Grade(s)6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H6B, 4B, 2B, HB, HHB, 2H, 2B, 4B, 4H refills9B, 7B, 5B, 3B, HB, 2H8B, 4B, HBWhite pastel, sepia, sanguine, black pastel, charcoal, carbon8B, 7B, 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H-2B, B, HB, H, 2HHB refills
Set Quantity1251666121752
Extras IncludedMetal tinMetal tin60 refills, eraser, sharpenerMetal tinMetal tin, sharpenerMetal tin---24 refills, 5 erasers
Link

How to Choose Drawing Pencils in the UK

Key Points to Consider

  1. Select Between Regular, Mechanical, or Water-Soluble Pencils
  2. Choose a Grade in Relation to the Preferred Hardness of the Pencil

1. Decide Between Regular, Mechanical and Water-Soluble

1. Decide Between Regular, Mechanical and Water-Soluble

If You're Looking for a Pencil That's Easy to Use and Cheap, Choose the Regular Wooden Graphite Pencil

When you think of a regular drawing pencil, graphite encased in wood is the most common type that will probably come to mind. Though widely known as "lead", you might be surprised to learn that there actually isn't any lead in a drawing pencil at all!


Most drawing pencil cores are made from graphite powder mixed with a clay binder, creating a drawing material that is resistant to moisture, ultraviolet radiation and natural ageing. Graphite is produced in various grades according to the softness or hardness of the material, allowing you to create different effects in your work.


A wooden pencil is the kind most of us will be looking for when it comes to sketching, drawing and creating artistic plans. Wooden graphite pencils are usually extremely budget-friendly and simple to use – making them the most popular choice.

If You're Thinking of a More Durable Option That Doesn't Require a Sharpener, Pick a Mechanical Pencil

A mechanical pencil, also known as a clutch pencil, usually consists of a metal or plastic lead holder with a replaceable and mechanically extendable core made from graphite or occasionally another kind of solid pigment. If you need a compact and convenient tool for sketching on the go, a mechanical pencil is a good choice because it's durable and doesn't require a sharpener


While many people nowadays do prefer to use mechanical pencils for drawing, bear in mind that the lead in them usually doesn't have as wide a range of softness options as regular pencils. You also won't be able to create any variety in the sharpness of the point.


Check out our top 10 suggestions for the best mechanical pencils.

For a Pencil That Offers the Benefits of Watercolour Painting, Use Coloured-Water Soluble Pencil

The most popular type of water-soluble pencils are watercolour pencils that contain a blend of materials that dissolve in water, coming in a variety of shades. However, if you still want to work in the traditional grayscale of a pencil with the benefits of watercolour painting, you'll want to choose water-soluble graphite pencils.


When water-soluble graphite is mixed with water, it creates an ink wash effect, which can be spread over a surface much like watercolour paint. It mixes well with other media such as coloured pencils, but be aware that an eraser won't work once you've added water. 


Browse our favourite watercolour paints here!

2. Consider the Grade Depending on Preferred Pencil Hardness

2. Consider the Grade Depending on Preferred Pencil Hardness

Go With H Grade for Finer and Lighter Lines

An H grade pencil contains more clay in its "lead" and will create a line that is both finer and lighter than other grades. The higher the number, the lighter the lead – so a 9H pencil is the hardest and lightest available and creates no smudge at all.


H grade pencils are generally smudge-resistant and create very clean lines, perfect for outlines, technical drawings and light sketching. However, H leads are harder and more scratchy than other grades, which doesn't work for everything.

Opt for B Grade to Create Bolder, Darker Lines That Are Softer

B grade pencils contain more graphite than clay, creating a bolder, darker line. The higher the number of B pencil, the softer and darker the lead, and the more pleasantly smooth they can feel to draw with. 


A 9B pencil creates the softest and blackest graphite pencil line and B leads in general smudge easily and are easy to erase. You'll need them for intricate shading or to create texture and tonal range, as they have an almost brush-like quality. 


However, If you care about neatness and precision in your artwork, you'll want to be careful with the application of the higher numbered B pencils as things can get a little messy on the page!

Use F Grade to Draw Fine Details and Write

A fine point or F pencil can produce both lighter and darker marks without the extremes of H and B pencils. F grade pencils can stay sharp for a long period of time and they are ideal for drawing fine details and writing with.


The F grade is located in between H and HB, giving it a balance between light and dark, hard and soft. It is best used when you don't have time to consider which pencil grade to use, to quickly sketch out an idea or to add fine details to an artwork.


When it's time to give your sketches and drawings some colour, these coloured pencils will help you get a stunning finish.

10 Best Drawing Pencils in the UK

This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.

1
Type of Pencil(s)Regular pencils
Pencil Grade(s)6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H
Set Quantity12
Extras IncludedMetal tin
2

MoleskineGraphite Drawing Pencils Set

£12.98

Type of Pencil(s)Regular pencils made with FSC wood
Pencil Grade(s)6B, 4B, 2B, HB, H
Set Quantity5
Extras IncludedMetal tin
3

Nicpro2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Set

£6.99

Type of Pencil(s)Mechanical pencil
Pencil Grade(s)HB, 2H, 2B, 4B, 4H refills
Set Quantity1
Extras Included60 refills, eraser, sharpener
4

Caran d'AcheGraphite Line

£17.49

Type of Pencil(s)Regular pencils
Pencil Grade(s)9B, 7B, 5B, 3B, HB, 2H
Set Quantity6
Extras IncludedMetal tin
5

DerwentWater-Soluble Sketching Pencils

0700837

£8.50

Type of Pencil(s)Water-soluble pencils
Pencil Grade(s)8B, 4B, HB
Set Quantity6
Extras IncludedMetal tin, sharpener
6

LYRARembrandt Sketching Set

£10.40

Type of Pencil(s)Regular pencils
Pencil Grade(s)White pastel, sepia, sanguine, black pastel, charcoal, carbon
Set Quantity6
Extras IncludedMetal tin
7

YSLONProfessional Drawing Pencils Set

£7.99

Type of Pencil(s)Regular pencil
Pencil Grade(s)8B, 7B, 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H
Set Quantity12
Extras Included-
8

Amazon BasicsSketch and Drawing Pencil Set

£6.65

Type of Pencil(s)Regular pencils
Pencil Grade(s)-
Set Quantity17
Extras Included-
9

STAEDTLERNoris Pencil Assorted Grades

120-S BK5D

£2.25

Type of Pencil(s)Regular pencil
Pencil Grade(s)2B, B, HB, H, 2H
Set Quantity5
Extras Included-
10

uni-ballKuru Toga

£11.99

Type of Pencil(s)Mechanical pencil
Pencil Grade(s)HB refills
Set Quantity2
Extras Included24 refills, 5 erasers

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 2B or HB Better for Drawing?

When drawing, you want to use a softer pencil such as a 2B because it is simpler to manage and erase. A softer pencil tip will also not damage your pencil easily.

Which Pencil Is Darker Between HB and 2B?

Due to the softness and amount of graphite it leaves on the drawing surface with each line, 2B pencils are generally darker than HB pencils.

Is 2B Pencil Good for Sketching?

Yes, it's ideal for sketching as it produces a nice line quality and may be easily smudged or erased if desired.

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Written and researched by Melanie McPhail

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