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Watercolor Pencils Watercolor Pencils

 A pencil is a writing or drawing instrument consisting of a thin stick of pigment (usually graphite, but can also be colored pigment or charcoal) and clay, usually encased in a thin wood cylinder, though paper and plastic sheaths are also used.


Pencil Types

According to the material used to make them

  • Graphite pencils. These are the most common types of pencils. They are made of a mixture of clay and graphite and their darkness varies from light grey to black.
  • Charcoal pencils. They are made of charcoal and provide fuller blacks than graphite pencils, but tend to smudge easily and are more abrasive than graphite.
  • Pastel pencils
  • Grease pencils, also known as China markers. They write on virtually any surface (including glass, metal and photographs). The most commonly found grease pencils are encased in paper (Berol and Sanford Peel-off), but they can also be encased in wood (Staedtler Omnichrom and Apsara Glass Marking).
  • Watercolor pencils


Grading & Classification

Many pencils across the world and almost all in Europe are graded on the European system using a continuum from "H" (for hardness) to "B" (for blackness), as well as "F" (for fine point). The standard writing pencil is graded HB.

A set of pencils ranging from a very hard, light-marking pencil to a very soft, black-marking pencil usually ranges from hardest to softest as follows.

9H 8H 7H 6H 5H 4H 3H 2H H F HB B 2B 3B 4B 5B 6B 7B 8B 9B
Hardest Medium Softest

Derwent produces twenty grades from 9B to 9H for its Graphic pencils and Staedtler produces nineteen from 8B to 9H for its Mars Lumograph pencils. The main reason for such wide range of grades is to provide artists with a full range of tones from light grey to black. Engineers prefer harder pencils which allow for a greater control in the shape of the lead. 

The various graphite pencil grades are achieved by altering the proportion of graphite to clay: the more clay the harder the pencil[13][14][15]. Two pencils of the same grade but different manufactures will not necessarily make a mark of identical tone nor have the same hardness[16].

Coloring Pencils are those with a colored lead, and are generally the same color as the lead.


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