Don't Waste Your Money is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Drawing Pencil Set - 2020

Last updated on November 2, 2020
Best Drawing Pencil Set

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to.Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Drawing Pencil Sets

Show Contents
Our Take
  Best All-Purpose

H & B Complete Drawing Pencil Set, 40-Piece

H & B

Complete Drawing Pencil Set, 40-Piece

Overall Take

Sweet ValueThe 40-piece portable art set, which comes with a traveling case, is perfect for beginner artists or students looking for the complete package.

  Best for Versatility

MARKART Professional Drawing Pencil Set, 14-Piece

MARKART

Professional Drawing Pencil Set, 14-Piece

Overall Take

Sketching EssentialsIdeal for sketching, doodling and drawing, the set is suitable for producing fine, detailed illustrations and textured shading.

  Great for Beginners

Castle Art Supplies Complete Drawing Pencil Set, 40-Piece

Castle Art Supplies

Complete Drawing Pencil Set, 40-Piece

Overall Take

Take With YouThe travel-friendly kit has all of the essential graphite, pastel and charcoal pencils for drawing, shading, blending and sketching.

  Basic Starter Set

AmazonBasics Sketch & Drawing Pencil Set, 17-Piece

AmazonBasics

Sketch & Drawing Pencil Set, 17-Piece

Overall Take

Everything You NeedThe all-in-one kit is excellent for those looking for a straightforward set of pencils for doodling or sketching out ideas.

Avatar
Guide written by Patricia Kaowthumrong
Last updated on November 2, 2020

Pencils, one of the most essential tools of human written communication, are also universal tools for sketching, drawing and shading.  Drawing pencils are produced in several different graphite grades, allowing the user to produce everything from fine lines to textured shading. The grades can range from 4H to 12B, with B-grade numbers indicating the graphite’s level of blackness or softness and H-grade numbers indicating its level of hardness. Pencils with a higher H number will create cleaner, lighter tones that are less susceptible to smudging, while pencils with a higher B number produce richer, darker tones that are ideal for shading.

Pencil sets include a collection of varying lead grades, so you can use different tones to create depth and dimension. Gauging your volume of usage is the first step to determining which pencil set is right for you. For example, if you just need pencils for stretching out ideas or causal doodling, a 40-piece art set may not be necessary. Those kits, which can include items like charcoal pencils, multiple erasers and sharpeners, and shading tools, are better suited for more complex art projects.

The Best Drawing Pencil Sets

1
  Best All-Purpose

H & B Complete Drawing Pencil Set, 40-Piece

The pencil set includes 12 sketch drawing pencils, six charcoal pencils and rods (mild, medium and hard variations), two erasers, two sharpeners, one metal art knife, one double-headed pencil extension, two solid paper pens, four willow branches, five chalk paint brushes and sandpaper.

Features


Specifications

Brand
H & B
Model
2
  Best for Versatility

MARKART Professional Drawing Pencil Set, 14-Piece

Each graphite pencil in the 14-piece set varies in hardness from 4H to 12B, enabling both broad strokes and precise lines. The non-toxic, pre-sharpened pencils are made with lightweight basswood, and the strong core minimizes broken points.

Features


Specifications

Brand
MARKART
Model
3
  Great for Beginners

Castle Art Supplies Complete Drawing Pencil Set, 40-Piece

The 40-piece set has 12 graphite pencils, four pastel pencils, three charcoal pencils (soft medium, hard varieties), one soft graphite sketching pencil, two paper blending stumps, a pencil extender, four charcoal willow sticks, three charcoal sticks, three graphite sticks, one pencil sharpener, one two-hole sharpener, and two erasers (kneaded charcoal and plastic).

Features


Specifications

Brand
Castle Art Supplies
Model
4
  Basic Starter Set

AmazonBasics Sketch & Drawing Pencil Set, 17-Piece

Get six graphite pencils, three charcoal pencils, one sketch stick, four charcoal sticks, one pencil sharpener, one charcoal sharpener and two erasers (plastic and kneaded) in this kit, which allows you to experiment with a variety of tools for an affordable price. While it doesn’t come with a case, you can easily fit everything in a small bag.

Features


Specifications

Brand
AmazonBasics
Model
9
  Durable Pick

MISULOVE Professional Drawing Pencil Set, 12-Piece

The 12 pre-sharpened pencils offer a core range of hardness for the pencil artist, from 12B to 4H. The eco-friendly products are easy to sharpen and erase, and work well on most mediums, including paper and sketch books and pads. The set is a prime addition to any art set.

Features


Specifications

Brand
MISULOVE
Model

Our Drawing Pencil Set Buying Guide

Pencils, one of the most essential tools of human written communication, are also universal tools for sketching, drawing and shading.  Drawing pencils are produced in several different graphite grades, allowing the user to produce everything from fine lines to textured shading. The grades can range from 4H to 12B, with B-grade numbers indicating the graphite’s level of blackness or softness and H-grade numbers indicating its level of hardness. Pencils with a higher H number will create cleaner, lighter tones that are less susceptible to smudging, while pencils with a higher B number produce richer, darker tones that are ideal for shading.

Pencil sets include a collection of varying lead grades, so you can use different tones to create depth and dimension. Gauging your volume of usage is the first step to determining which pencil set is right for you. For example, if you just need pencils for stretching out ideas or causal doodling, a 40-piece art set may not be necessary. Those kits, which can include items like charcoal pencils, multiple erasers and sharpeners, and shading tools, are better suited for more complex art projects.

DWYM Fun Fact

  • In the late 18th century, French inventor and artist Nicolas-Jacques Conté created the mixture of clay and graphite used in modern pencils. In 1870, English philosopher and theologian Joseph Priestley uncovered the erasing properties of rubber, leading to the development of modern erasers.
  • How do pencils and erasers work? The graphite center of the writing and drawing tool mingles with paper’s fiber particles erasers remove the markings using sticky polymers that adhere to the graphite.

The Drawing Pencil Set Tips and Advice

  • Pencils with a hexagonal casing have well-defined edges that make them easy to grip, giving users superior control. They also won’t roll off your work surface as easily.
  • Look for pencil sets that are made from non-toxic, eco-friendly materials.
  • For beginner sketchers, some artists recommend using H-scale pencils as a foundation for your drawings, then finishing with darker B-scale pencils.
  • Gripping the pencil as close to the point as possible will give you more control but will produce heavier, darker lines.
  • To avoid smudging your work, place an extra piece of paper under your hand and consider using a blending stick for smoother shading.