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Pencil drawings depend mainly on graphite pencils that have different shapes and manufacturers, though some artists use graphite and other pencils, such as charcoal pencils in the same artwork. Generally, the materials used in pencils vary from graphite pencils, charcoal pencils, carbon pencils, colored pencils, and watercolor pencils.

Before we dig into some of the most amazing pencil drawing artwork, let us learn some fun facts about pencil drawings that some of us already use without knowing the rule behind it.

Pencil Grades

One of the important factors that help artists to create realistic pencil drawing effects is the hardness of the pencil. Many of us see the letters HB or BB carved on the pencils, but only a few really know what they mean. The letters refer to the pencil’s grading which ranges from “H” for hardness to “B” for blackness. There is also “F” for Fine, which refers to pencils that can easily be sharpened.

The range of pencil hardness to softness includes 20 grades, which are 9H, 8H, 7H, 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H, F, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B, and 9B. Where the 9H is the hardest pencil and 9B is the softest. Each of these pencil grades has the capability to produce a specific range of shades at different hand pressures. So, many artists prefer to use a specific range of pencils in their drawings.

Pencil Drawing Techniques

Through a quick look at the pencil drawing artwork below, you can notice a difference in how each artist uses the pencil. Even in the same drawing artwork, some artists mix two or more drawing techniques. Although a pencil is a very simple tool, you can create multiple effects with it using your imagination, talent, and experience. Generally, there are four main pencil drawing techniques, which are described briefly below:

Smooth Shading

In this style, the artists draw the lines softly and gradually produce smooth shades that hide the pencil lines. This technique can be done using different pencil grades, but generally soft pencils can give you more dramatic and realistic effect. Soft pencils can help you add darkness to the artwork unlike hard pencils.

Cross-Hatching

This method uses hatching to create the contrast between light and shades. The artist starts to draw cross-hatched lines with different density based on the light and the shadows in the artwork. For example, the artist draws fewer cross-hatched lines to reveal the white paper in the lightened areas and increases the hatches to make it dark in the shadow areas.

Circles and Scribbles

In this technique, small circles and scribbles replace hatches. This technique can produce a more artistic look and feel as it adds a texture to the artwork.

Contour Lines

Unlike the above, the contour technique uses simple and clear lines to create the object and give it volume. For example, the artist can use the lines to create curves or edges. After reviewing these pencil-drawing facts, the question that comes to mind: What is the secret behind people’s attraction to pencil drawing, even in the age of the digital world? It may be because of the dramatic effect of black and white drawings, or the ability to create amazing artwork using hand-drawing and simple drawing tools. Share your ideas with me and if you think pencil drawing still has the same grace it used to.

While you think of an answer to this question, I would like to share with you some super realistic pencil drawing examples that can give you a preview of the techniques we have discussed in this article.

Anne Teubert





Henrik Moses





Mark Stewart





Diego Fazio