What is the best Brand and Pencils to Sketch?
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Thread: What is the best Brand and Pencils to Sketch?

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    What is the best Brand and Pencils to Sketch?

    Hi guys,

    I'm thinking to buy some pencils to sketch in real paper, for now I'm only sketching in the computer, using Photoshop and Tablet, and I think that some knowledge in Pencil and Paper will be very cool, for doing sketches, I'm think to get some Derwent Pencil, the box, this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Derwent-Graphi...6596922&sr=1-1

    I don't know wich one is the best for sketching, Derwert, Staedtler, Faber, and wich ones I should get, like 2H, HB, 2B.

    And, erasers too, anybody knows some cool eraser?

    Thanks, and sorry for the noobish thread.

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    Everyone has their faves I'm sure - mine are Berol Turquoise from 2B-8B. I like kneaded eraser, pink pearl, and there is a great little micro-eraser stick - I believe by Sanford but I forget. Go to a good drafting and art supply store and you'll find it.

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    Personally I prefer Steadtler 2H and 2B. I use a kneaded/putty eraser and of course a sharpener. This is all. But, as Jeff has stated, everyone will have different preferences. Experiment and discover what works out best for you.

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    I've had bad experiences with Derwent's, cheap wood made sharpening with a knife difficult.

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    As everyone's said, it's up to personal preference. Buy some different ones and try them out. Range wise, to start off with just get 2H-2B, and maybe a 6B.
    Personally, pencil brand doesn't matter much to me. For erasers, I find Staedtler is the only one I like.

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    Pencils: any set with a range of hardnesses. Wood should be slightly springy but also firm and not brittle. Doesn't have to have an eraser on the end. Also get a couple mechanical pencils. One with thick lead and one with thin. Good for doing clean drafts and don't need sharpening. If you want to be fancy you can get a drafting pencil. I have one but don't really like it. It's just a plastic pencil (instead of wood) with a replaceable lead. You have to sharpen them too. Brands really don't matter unless someone here knows for sure a certain brand has shit quality. There is no magic answer. The professionals use the same brands and the students. The 2B, 2H, etc refers to the hardness. Get a good range. Numbers followed by B are soft, numbers followed by H are hard. Softs are for heavy lines and shading. They're messy and organic. H is for clean and light lines.

    Erasers are the same way. You need a hard plastic eraser (the rectangle white ones). You need a rubber gum eraser (brown and kind of transparent). And you need a mailable eraser (gray and can be molded like clay).

    You might also want to look into vine charcoal. It's a staple of the art student and good for large studies.

    Get newsprint and/or regular white paper. Get a large pad so you can learn to use your whole arm.

    And before you ask, get some pens. I like the drafting pens. They come in different sizes and last a while as long as you take care of them. I would get some ball points too just so you can experiment with them.

    Prismacolor markers are shit in my opinion. Most of them didn't work new out of the box. A lot of them have dried up and they're just so damn expensive.

    I have two sets of prismacolor colored pencils, they're alright I guess. Both were given to me so I can't complain. They seem better than crayola.

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    What the hell, regular old Ticonderoga #2 pencils still cover most of my needs...

    But I do have some fancier ones I like as well - Ebony pencils, and usually some variety of brown pencil, and woodless pencils in various sizes and hardness (those are nice), and a few big graphite sticks. And Venus Midnight for really black lines.

    And stick erasers. I love me some stick erasers. The kind shaped like pencils or pens, sometimes with a plastic handle and sometimes with a wood handle. You can get pink rubber ones or white plastic ones, white plastic is less abrasive and kinder to your paper, but I usually have both kinds just in case. (No specific brand, just whichever brand I can find when I'm shopping.)

    And I'm partial to Strathmore's sketchbooks, the paper is usually a decent weight with just enough tooth but not too much. And they can take a fair amount of abuse.

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    Personally I do not feel the brand of pencil matters alot. Maybe that is because I haven't tried really bad ones.

    I use a kneaded eraser. I believe brand does matter but I don't quite remember the brand I use.

    Oh, although told many times not to, I use a sharpener

    For lineart and sketchbook doodles, I use a mechanical pencil with 2B blue lead.

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    Seems like a good thread to ask...does anyone else run into a problem with grit in their pencil graphite? I usually come across it when shading, feels like there is a tiny piece of sand in the graphite, just feel this scratching sensation without much graphite going down. I've used Derwent, Sanford, and Royal and have had the same problem with each, which is why I primarily use mechanicals now where I've found the graphite to be perfectly consistent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    What the hell, regular old Ticonderoga #2 pencils still cover most of my needs...

    But I do have some fancier ones I like as well - Ebony pencils, and usually some variety of brown pencil, and woodless pencils in various sizes and hardness (those are nice), and a few big graphite sticks. And Venus Midnight for really black lines.

    And stick erasers. I love me some stick erasers. The kind shaped like pencils or pens, sometimes with a plastic handle and sometimes with a wood handle. You can get pink rubber ones or white plastic ones, white plastic is less abrasive and kinder to your paper, but I usually have both kinds just in case. (No specific brand, just whichever brand I can find when I'm shopping.)

    And I'm partial to Strathmore's sketchbooks, the paper is usually a decent weight with just enough tooth but not too much. And they can take a fair amount of abuse.
    Agreed on the #2 pencils. thats mostly what I use and I have a bunch of fancy art pencils that go neglected in their favor.

    However, exactly which strathmore sketchbooks are you talking about? The only one's I've gotten have fallen apart in a few hours in my bag and the paper is rather...thin.

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=206799
    ^you should check out my sketchbook^
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    Quote Originally Posted by amaranthblossom View Post
    However, exactly which strathmore sketchbooks are you talking about? The only one's I've gotten have fallen apart in a few hours in my bag and the paper is rather...thin.
    For taking out with me on sketching jaunts, mostly these: http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_p...cfm?Item=37036

    Or pretty much the same thing but bigger:
    http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_p...cfm?item=24434
    http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_p...cfm?item=37033

    Basically the 400 series in general... I've dropped them in the lake before and had them get rained on and generally thrown them around and they hold up fine.

    I also like these drawing pads for more finished stuff, but they're not as sturdy:
    http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_p...cfm?item=36183
    http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_p...cfm?item=36161
    The paper in those is a decent weight and the smooth variety takes ink well (I like regular for pencil) - ALTHOUGH - occasionally they start to become unbound, which is annoying. (Only the 24 sheet pads seem to do this, and only sometimes - it's sort of random. The 100 sheet pads never have this problem.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    For taking out with me on sketching jaunts, mostly these: http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_p...cfm?Item=37036

    Or pretty much the same thing but bigger:
    http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_p...cfm?item=24434
    http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_p...cfm?item=37033

    Basically the 400 series in general... I've dropped them in the lake before and had them get rained on and generally thrown them around and they hold up fine.

    I also like these drawing pads for more finished stuff, but they're not as sturdy:
    http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_p...cfm?item=36183
    http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_p...cfm?item=36161
    The paper in those is a decent weight and the smooth variety takes ink well (I like regular for pencil) - ALTHOUGH - occasionally they start to become unbound, which is annoying. (Only the 24 sheet pads seem to do this, and only sometimes - it's sort of random. The 100 sheet pads never have this problem.)
    I'm not sure, but Strathmore may offer perforated books that may be vulnerable to "shearing" forces in book bags that lead to page detachment.

    Me? I always look for non-perforated books from Canson or Strathmore with a light tooth.

    I mean, you wouldn't buy a novel with perforated pages, would you?

    When I'm buying a book, sketch or otherwise, I want something that'll stay together!

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    I'm currently very happy with my Tombow pencils. Mostly I use 3H, 3B, and HB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    I'm not sure, but Strathmore may offer perforated books that may be vulnerable to "shearing" forces in book bags that lead to page detachment.
    Um, yeah, Strathmore does have some perforated series (I forget which exactly), those wouldn't be good for lugging around...

    The 400 series isn't perforated, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Um, yeah, Strathmore does have some perforated series (I forget which exactly), those wouldn't be good for lugging around...

    The 400 series isn't perforated, though.
    I think some of that recycled stuff might have the perfs. (Maybe some 400 with the green covers)?

    All the 400 I see available seems to have the light tooth, which I like. But, allegedly, there's supposed to be a smooth variant.

    But, 400 series is a a 60 pound paper-- pretty durable stuff!

    I'm not sure of the pound weight. But, Strathmore makes a "Drawing" series (as opposed to Sketch) which is probably even sturdier. . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    I think some of that recycled stuff might have the perfs. (Maybe some 400 with the green covers)?

    All the 400 I see available seems to have the light tooth, which I like. But, allegedly, there's supposed to be a smooth variant.
    The smooth variant of the "Drawing" series is pretty nice, actually - it's not TOO smooth, more kind of velvety than slick. But smooth enough for detailed ink work.

    But, 400 series is a a 60 pound paper-- pretty durable stuff!

    I'm not sure of the pound weight. But, Strathmore makes a "Drawing" series (as opposed to Sketch) which is probably even sturdier. . .
    Drawing is 80 pound. It's pretty sweet. I use tons of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    The smooth variant of the "Drawing" series is pretty nice, actually - it's not TOO smooth, more kind of velvety than slick. But smooth enough for detailed ink work.



    Drawing is 80 pound. It's pretty sweet. I use tons of it.
    I'm gonna have to switch over to the smooth "Drawing" for my cartoon experiments. The 400 rough really plays hell with Pigmas!

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    For cartooning (penciling) and watercolor layouts, HB pencil seems to be a pretty standard tool-- whether you're talkin' Marvel, DC, Disney, Warner Bros., or Andrew Wyeth.

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    Pretty much any 2B pencil is a good all-round pencil for sketching, in my opinion. Staedtler, Derwent, doesn't matter much. Just make sure you get a good pencil sharpener, unless you're going to use a razor, which some people prefer. A rubbish eraser can really take you out of the proverbial zone.

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    I use Faber Castell mostly, various types.
    And I have a really good cartridge eraser that's about 10 years old. I've bought several in the meantime but all have sucked compared to the one I have already. Sometimes I use a sturdy soviet era scalpel too, dunno where I got that one tho.
    But in all seriousness, is this really that important of a question that it needs a new thread every time.
    Graphite pencils don't vary in quality and feel nearly as much as coloured. Just buy a few different ones, try them out and see which you like best.

    Last edited by nofu; February 2nd, 2011 at 03:50 PM.
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    I use them occasionally but the frustration of constant sharpening to find the lead broken drives me insane, and it seems the more I pay for them the WORSE they are at breaking. So for everyday use I get disposable mechanical pencils. They get the job done. If I want to work on something with a bit of tone variation and shading I tend to get whatever is on offer when the student sale day comes to my art shop.

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    This is a good question and something I've been trying to experiment with too. Of course it's all personal, but Staedtler and FineTec Germany are my favourites so far. Now I want to figure out what makes a good sheet of sketching paper.

    Please come take a look at my sketchbook!! Figure drawings, still lives and oil painting studies! Constructive criticism always welcome! New content added:
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    I've used a lot of the brands mentioned here, mostly Faber-Castell ('cos that's what my current supply shop sells). I've noticed small differences, but nothing to make much of a difference. Though to add a name to the list, Bruynzeel-Sakura do a fairly nice pencil too.

    ...which is only my opinion.
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    This site has pencil reviews throughout. You might find some good information.

    http://www.pencilrevolution.com/

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    Thanks guys, I had to go out for a little.

    I ordered some Staedtler Pencils (4H, 2H, HB, 2B, 4B and 6B), Sketchbook from Blick with creamed color pages, some Extra Large Kneadable Erasers from Design and one Brass Sharpner

    I hope it does for now

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    The only pencils i can get around here in my country/city are Faber Castell which are damn good pencils and art tools.

    Since im getting an ebay acount soon il be able to get some other brands mentioned here.

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    Holy shit, Dick Blick just sent me an e-mail saying that the shipping tax was not 6 dollars, but 25 dollars, more expensive than the products...

    I can't find the same pencils on Amazon now

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    Not that it matters much wit a noob like me, but I tried Faber Castell and didn't like much (mainly because the color from the outside polish would stain a paper when I tried to lay the tip flat and draw).

    So, for the time being I'm using Koh-i-noor products and can't say a single bad thing about them. Plus I like the thought that I'm supporting a company founded and based and manufacturing in my country when buying them.

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    I use koh-i-noor, both pencils and watersoluble graphite sticks, really nice and pencils come in a great variety.

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