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  • Writer's pictureKonstantin

Best Sketching Tools For Beginners

Updated: May 26, 2020

So, you are a beginner and don't know much about drawing tools where to actually start with? I've wondered about that so much before I started to draw, so I'm writing this article to address everyone who doesn't know what's best to start with.

What should a beginner sketch with?

A beginner should always start with whatever he/she has available at the moment when they want to start drawing. A regular wooden HB graphite pencil can be found almost anywhere and is the perfect tool to start with for everybody.

If this answer was too short for you just as it is for me, you can read about different possible drawing tools for beginners, their advantages and disadvantages and which ones you should consider and which ones you shouldn't.

I. Drawing Tools In Comparison

There are a lot of drawing tools to use and they are definitely more than I imagined before I finally started drawing. Let's talk about some great tools to start with as utter sketching or drawing beginner. These are the options we'll cover today:

1. HB Graphite Pencils

2. B-Scale Graphite Pencils

3. H-Scale Graphite Pencils

4. Mechanical Pencils

These 5 options you can choose to start with when you're thinking about starting to draw and we'll now go over each one of them in detail. While doing that we will clear out what will be the best choice for every drawing beginner to start with.

1. HB Graphite Pencils

HB lead pencils are the most basic and most common drawing and writing tools you can almost find everywhere around you. At the office where I work the only wooden pencils, you can find there are HB pencils. Mostly we use another tool though but we'll talk about that in a bit.

This pencil represents the exact middle of the graphite softness scale. This makes them a great choice for almost every usage option.

That means that for you as a drawing beginner an HB pencil is probably the best choice of all of them. You have the perfect mix of binders and actual graphite to make your first sketches on a piece of paper.

2. B-Scale Graphite Pencils

You have probably seen the different letters on wooden lead pencils already at some point but maybe you don't know what they mean. Check out this article on Mac H. - Creative to learn about the whole blackness scale and what the different letters on pencils mean. You will be redirected to that page in a new tab.

So you get a quick overview of what this is all about I will quickly tell you what B-scale pencils actually are and what makes them different from their alternatives before then actually talking about how useful they are for beginners.

B pencils are characterized by being softer and making darker marks more easily than HB or H pencils. This is due to the fact that they have fewer binders such as clay for example in their graphite core than other pencils.

This makes them softer and more powdery which gives them the ability to create a wider variety of values with more ease for the drawing artist. By that, I mean that B pencils are a great way to add depth to your drawings. For this purpose 4B to 8B pencils are the best choices.

The higher the number in front of the B the softer the graphite in it.

A disadvantage of B pencils is that they are harder to erase when you exert the same amount of pressure on them as on an HB pencil for instance. If you shade with an HB pencil and for comparison reason, directly next to this with a B pencil putting the same amount of pressure on both pencils you will notice something.

The B pencil will have left much darker marks on the paper than the HB pencil will have and that makes it harder to erase obviously because you have to erase more graphite than when you're erasing an HB or any other harder pencil.

If that is enough info for you so far please shut down your brain for the next paragraphs or continue with option 4 because it's getting a little complicated now.

Little Digression:

There is one little caveat when it comes to erasing graphite AND charcoal. The fewer binders a pencil has in its core, the darker the marks get and therefore they are harder to erase. Nevertheless, if you put more pressure on a harder pencil to create marks with the same darkness level you can notice something else.

If you do this, both marks will be hard to erase but in the end, the softer pencil can be erased more thoroughly and almost entirely in contrast to a harder pencil. The harder pencil consists of a larger number of binders as you already know and this is the reason for this phenomenon.

The more binders a pencil lead core contains, the better the graphite will stick to the drawing surface. So in conclusion, you can say that softer pencils are easier to erase but more thoroughly than their harder alternatives.

3. H-Scale Graphite Pencils

So now let's finally continue with the next option of tools to start with as a drawing beginner. Little spoiler alert: I wouldn't recommend starting with this kind of pencil as a beginner. You can skip this part or read about what H pencils are and why exactly I wouldn't recommend them.

Just as we've done it with the B-scale pencils we will now go over a rough explanation at first over the H area on the blackness scale. Click on the link for all the details around the blackness scale you need. It'll lead you to another Mac H. - Creative article.

The "H area" of the blackness or softness scale of graphite pencils is characterized by contrary traits than the B area is characterized by. Here you will have a higher number of binders in the graphite core of the pencils.

This makes them a lot harder than B pencils or HB pencils and it is easier for the artist to create lighter marks with an H pencil than with a B pencil. H pencils are therefore often used to start basic sketches. The first basic outlines of a sketch are supposed to be very light so an H pencil seems to be a good option for that.

Nevertheless, I've already mentioned that I'd rather not choose an H pencil as a beginner and I'm also never recommending them to any of my creative and artistic friends who are passionate about learning to draw.

This is due to the fact that H pencils only enable you to draw using a very poor area of the whole value range. With an HB or even a B pencil, you have the opportunity to draw with a much wider variety of values depending on the amount of pressure you put on the drawing tool.

You can start your sketches just as well with an HB or B pencil as with an H pencil. You just need to adjust the pressure you exert on your pencil according to the darkness of the marks you want to create. If you let the pencil slide over the paper in a very soft way you will see, you can create light marks just as with an H pencil.

4. Mechanical Pencils

I've already announced this within the first paragraph and here comes the revelation about the office tools I use most often there and why they're worth considering as beginner drawing tools.

Mechanical pencils are the tools almost all of my co-workers including me use for writing in all departments. I haven't thought amount this for a long time but recently I've found these kinds of pencils very useful for my drawing sessions.

Mechanical pencils offer the advantage compared to all their alternatives of not wearing off that fast or not wearing off at all. You merely have to refill the pencils with extra leads you can buy online on Amazon for example.

These refill leads come in various different blackness levels which makes the mechanical pencil the almost perfect drawing tool for literally anyone.

The disadvantages are on the one hand that the lead often breaks when you drop the lead holder only a little bit too hard on the surface. On the other hand, you can only use this tool for more precise drawing types that don't require shading since this part of drawing is rather difficult with a mechanical pencil as you can imagine.

If you want to read more about drawing with mechanical pencils you can check out another article on our website that I've dedicated only to this topic. You can reach the article by clicking here. A new tab with the accurate page will open if you click the link.

II. My Overall Favorite Drawing Tools

To learn more about drawing tools in general and my personal favorites of each one of the drawing tools I'd recommend getting yourself as a pencil artist you should click here.

This will lead you to the article I've written to present to you my eight favorite drawing tools for beginners and advanced artists. It contains everything from pencils to art folders. Take a look at it and choose the right tools for your own drawing journey.

What I don't mention in this article is the fact that I recommend mechanical pencils equally to drawing beginners just as I do with common HB graphite wooden pencils.

Get my favorite mechanical pencil here. You will be directed to an Amazon shop site and if you additionally want to learn more about drawing with mechanical pencils you should check out my article on drawing with these tools.

III. Related Questions

1. What Are The 5 Basic Skills Of Drawing?

The five basic skills of drawing consist of the correct perception of edges, spaces, relationships, light & shadow, and the perception of the whole or gestalt. Knowing this huge theoretical basis as well as the 7 elements of art are key to succeed at drawing.

2. How Can I Learn Basic Sketching?

To creating sketches that will be satisfying for the artist, he or she needs to follow a few simple tips and tricks such as adopting the right mentality of not being keen on creating the perfect finished and detailed drawing or applying the best pencil grip and posture.

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