Best Sketching Pencils For Beginners

A pencil to an artist is like a weapon to a soldier. The battle on the canvas is a failure if you don’t have one loaded in your arsenal. Using the right weapon can indeed create history on a sheet of paper.

It doesn’t matter if you are a pro or a beginner in sketching. You need to have an equal amount of enthusiasm to bring about classic works. But for the starters, it takes a lot more to get familiarized with a range of drawing-tool types.

Here we have listed the best sketching pencils for beginners so that you can get started today. Keep reading till the end, lest you miss the right one for you!

Top 5 Best Sketching Pencils for Beginners – Editor’s Pick:

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Things to Consider before Buying Sketching Pencils for Beginners

Well, before you get into adding the tools to your cart, take a deep breath! Here are some of the key factors you need to consider before buying a set of drawing pencils.

  • Breakage-Resistant Leads

The last thing you want while you are painting is to find your lead to be broken. We often put a bit of pressure on the lid for some reason. If the nib is not breakage-resistant, it’s not going to withstand that pressure and break down. Find the one with the most capacity to withstand such pressure.

  • Lightfastness

Lightfastness refers to the level of how a dye is resistant to fading. It’s a common problem for regular drawing tools that the colors seem to fade away after a while. The more lightfastness you get, the better it can retain the dye.

  • Wooden Body

Yes, except for mechanical ones, most of the nibs are covered by the wooden body. Still, some wood-built pencils are not quite sturdy. For example, regular wooden ones will not be as strong as basswood-bodied ones. So consider this.

  • Non-Toxic Color

If you are a true painter, you may be spending a lot of time with your drawing tools. Most of the pens use normal colors that may harm your health if consumed or entered inside your body. So the best painting set should come with a non-toxic solution.

  • Color Coding

It gets a lot easier to identify and differentiate individual drawing pens when named and numbered accordingly. You can easily pick the one you need just by looking at the number on the tail side of it.

Top 12 Best Sketching Pencils for Beginners

Although art comes from the mind of the artist, a well-functioning tool can enhance the magnitude of the creation. We dug down deep to find the most useful drawing pencils and listed down 12 of them. Here’re the in-depth reviews of the 12 top-performing painting pens.

1. Prismacolor 92885T Premier

Prismacolor has been producing state-of-the-art painting tools for the past 75 years. That says a lot about their 36-blend of the drawing set. This set comes with 36 different vibrant shades that you can use to illustrate magic on your canvas.

The softcore of the set is mesmerizingly charming. You get both thick and creamy core inside it. It’s perfect for shadowing and drawing down layers. It’s going to last long on the canvas as the pigments are impressively natural. Just lay your imagination on it and create as vibrant shades as possible.

Blend colors from 36 different shades and create new layers on your board. Rescue yourself from the nightmare of breaking the nib. The thick and strong core of the pencil is going to resist any kind of breakage and damage. No matter how much pressure you put on it while you paint, it’s not going to break.

You can get an adult drawing book with the set for you to practice some advance drawing stuff. And you can use it to expand your sketching skills to take your painting talent one step further!


  • A total of 36 vibrant colors
  • Thick and creamy softcore
  • Breakage-resistant nib
  • Smooth painting experience and lightfast sketching speed
  • It comes with a drawing book for practice


  • The nib can break if sharpened for a long time

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2. Castle Art Supplies 72 Colored Set

With 72 different shades, the 72 Colored Set of the Castle Art Supplies is going to be the perfect choice for any artist. Even for beginners, this one is just the one that you can use to step into the professional world.

Its silky smooth, velvety lid allows you to create more shades than you can imagine. With a proper paper or canvas beneath it, it’s impossible to control your creativity!

One of the main complaints the artists make is that most of the pencils nowadays doesn’t retain the shade in an exact form. The nib or lid looks vibrant, but when you rub it on the canvas, the dye may fade or become lighter.

But that’s not the case for this drawing set. You can effortlessly transfer the vivid color from the pen to the page you are sketching. And you can see no difference in the shade at all.

The pencils are covered in a strong and sturdy wooden body. Using premium basswood make these some of the finest one out there. It’s easy to sharpen and smooth to cut down. Moreover, a silky-smooth coating makes it easier to have a good grip on it.


  • A range of 72 different colors
  • Silky-smooth velvety lid for better sketching
  • No dye loss from the pencil to paper
  • Strong basswood body for safety
  • Silky-smooth coating for perfect grip


  • No color name or number for identification

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3. Zenacolor 120 Colored Set

This 120-shade set from Zenacolor addresses the imagination of every adult. Let your inner artist set free with the rich and vibrant shades with this three-layered dye set.

Apart from the fact that you get 120 different shade options, you get a functional coloring number for easy identification. Every single pen is given a number for easy identification of it.

It has a thick and strong 3.3 mm lid that is one, sturdy nib, we must say! And it is so thick that it hardly breaks when you put a bit of pressure on it while you are breaking your imaginations free on your canvas!

Thanks to its robust graphite body, it is pretty resistant to such damage. These pencils are wrapped in durable basswood for optimum strength and security. It’s hard to break into pieces and quite smooth to sharpen. The silky outer core, coupled with the top-quality wooden body, makes sharpening the easiest thing to do.

On top of all, the shades used in this set are ASTM certified. Meaning these colors are not only high in quality but also non-toxic and safe for health.


  • A staggering 120 different dye combinations
  • 3 mm thick core that resists breakage
  • ASTM certified non-toxic colors
  • High-quality basswood body for smooth sharpening
  • The number for each pencil for identification


  • The trays are quite unstable to keep the pencils organized

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4. ARTEZA ARTZ-8072 72 Color Pencil

Shading, layering, or detailing – no matter what purpose you need a dye tool for, you have to check out the Arteza ARTZ-8072. For many of the expert artists, this one should be the best drawing pencils for artists. A rich range of 72 vivid colors makes a perfect set of tools for any beginner.

Its 4 mm lead is a classic example of thick and bold painting nib. And its thickness lets it glide through the paper without being challenged. The smooth movement leaves the perfect illustration on the canvas that you long for. And the waxed lead with greater thickness makes it strong enough to resist any damage or breakage.

Every single pencil is labeled with name and code. Now, you can find out the dye you need without searching for it. Just identify the number and name from the top-notch organized tin box!

Working with dye doesn’t mean you need to compromise your health. Unlike most cheap-made drawing pens, this one is free from toxic chemicals and elements. If it’s you or your kid using the tools, it doesn’t pose any threat to the health of any of you. Enjoy the non-toxic shades to let loose your talents on the canvas!


  • Thick 4 mm lead for break-free drawing
  • Waxed lead for smooth shading
  • Toxin-free for the safety of health
  • Name and code labeling for identification
  • 72 different shade options to choose from


  • It’s difficult to sharpen it smoothly

Buy on Amazon

5. Prismacolor Premier 3597T Set

If you are looking for a handy set of tools with rich pigments and shades, the Prismacolor 3597T has to be the option. You can get it by 12, 23, or 24 piece set – whichever one you need.

It comes with a softcore that is both thick and creamy. No matter how hard you go with the nib, it’s still going to leave an impressive mark of illustration on your paper.

The vivid, natural colors produced by the pencils are going to last long. It has a high rate of dye retention that leaves no difference between the shade of the nib and the applied shade on the canvas.

A thick lid means you are to face a lesser breakage problem than its peers. It’s not unusual to put excessive pressure on the nib while you are at the pinnacle of your creation, but not to worry! This lid has a high breakage-resistance to prevent sudden nib-break.

And it comes with an adult painting book that adds to the excellence of this package. You can practice on the book to sharpen your drawing skills one step ahead!


  • Three sets feature 12, 23, and 24 pieces of pencils
  • Thick and strong nib
  • Lead resists sudden breakage
  • Lightfast drawing to prevent discoloring
  • Additional adult painting book for practice


  • If not carefully sharped, the nib area can break

Buy on Amazon

6. Castle Art Supplies 120 Color Set

From the 72-piece set to 120-piece set, the Castle Art Supplies doesn’t seem to lack the commitment. Its 120-piece set comes with the same quality and pigmented colors that layer, blend, and shade quite professionally.

The moment you take the pencil in your hand, you can effortlessly separate it from the rest. Its velvety nib can create magic on the canvas with its smoothness and softness.

You don’t have the luxury of losing the dye on the canvas over time. To prevent the drawing from discoloring, the set comes with a lightfast technique. No matter how long you keep the painting exposed, the painting will be as vibrant as new.

And the color you see on the nib is going to match exactly with what you rub on the paper. Most experts share a concern over this issue, but that’s not the case for this set!

It doesn’t matter if your nib is a top-quality one unless you hold it in a robust wooden body. That’s why Castle Art Supplies does take care of it. The nibs are placed inside a strong premium quality basswood. This keeps the pencil safe from breaking down accidentally and lets it sharpen easily as well.


  • Numbering and coding for the pencils
  • Smooth lid for resistance-free drawing
  • Premium basswood covering
  • Lightfastness to prevent discoloring
  • Waxed nib for smooth shade transfer


  • No color naming for identification

Buy on Amazon

7. Royal & Langnickel SPEN-12

If you are into sketching, you better look out for the SPEN-12 set by the Royal & Langnickel. This 12-piece set comes with all the essential tools that make your sketching work easy as pie.

It includes 12 graphite sketch-pen featuring 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, and 6B. A perfect combination of the best drawing pencils for portraits! These are mostly used for expert sketch-artists to create mesmerizing sketch-arts. You can use different ones with unique thickness to take your sketching to the next level.

Made from top quality graphite, the nibs are pretty strong and robust. If you need to sketch over and over again for a longer period, these will be there to get your back.

From small detail to broad shading, you can use these tools for all the superb finish that you need to end up drafting a classic work! These pencils are enclosed in a sturdy wooden body that prevents these from breaking down. Again, it makes it easier to sharpen up!


  • Sturdy and robust nibs for sketching
  • 12 different black, sketching pencils
  • Wrapped in a durable wooden body
  • Graphite-made lead for excellent drawing
  • Breakage-resistant to prevent breaking


  • The set lacks a few softer ones

Buy on Amazon

8. Faber-Castell Grip Silver Mech Pencil

Not everybody is comfortable with the regular pencil type. For those of you who like to explore something new, introducing the mechanical pen from Faber-Castell.

This sleek and impressive tool comes with an excellent design that does grab the attention at the very first look. The silver color look on the pen-size pencil takes this one to a newer horizon.

Its 0.7 mm tiny lead lets you effortlessly write for hours! If you are trying it our for your drawing or sketching, it should be an excellent choice for leaving the finest details.

Faber-Castell has designed this one with a functional ergonomic triangular shape to let you hold on to it comfortably. On top of it, there are numerous dots on the body for you to have a non-slip, strong grip on it. Twist the head for a built-in eraser to pop up! That’s comfort and usefulness right there!


  • Ergonomic design for an easy and fatigue-free sketch
  • Dotted soft-grip zone for easy gripping
  • Twist-out useful built-in eraser
  • 7 mm thin lead for finer detail
  • Refills and erasers are available separately


  • Not perfect for thick sketching

Buy on Amazon

9. General Pencil GEN-4414

On number 9 on our list, we have the General Pastel Chalk Pencils! The GEN-4414 is a 2-piece set that proves to be truly handy. And the multi pastel chalk tools are all white and help you outline your chalk painting on your canvas. It’s essential for those of you who are into abstract painting or portrait.

One of the most crucial parts of this set is that it comes with a cedar wood body. Unlike the traditional chalk drawing, you get a smooth and mess-free painting with it. The traditional ones leave a paste-like leftover over the canvas that can stick to your hand, as well. These cedar wood pencils save you from this disaster.

You can get away with a clean hand and a cleaner canvas with these tools in use. This 2-piece set is light and handy in size so that you can carry it with you wherever you want. These will fit perfectly in your drawing bag with other regular sketching tools.


  • Lightweight pencils; weighing less than 0.70 pounds
  • Easy to carry and fits into any drawing box
  • Prevents smearing on the artwork
  • No mess and paint sticking on your hands
  • Built-in eraser attached at the bottom


  • Available only in white color

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10. CYPER TOP 80-color Set

Tired of looking for something that only beginners work with? If you are, then let’s go for the Cyper Top 80 piece set. Whether you are a beginner, an artist, or even a kid who just loves to paint randomly – this is the perfect drawing set for all!

It comes with 80 different vibrant colors to choose from. Let your imagination and creativity roll out of your mind on the canvas like never before. The rich, saturated pigments will leave any artwork to be a masterpiece, for sure.

And the thick nib makes sure that you don’t stop when you are in the right mood! The break-resistant nature of the lead prevents it from breaking down. Who wants to see the painting he/she just done to fade out? Nobody! That’s why the nibs are specially produced to prevent color fade out as much as possible.

These pencils are made from high-quality wood that provides the maximum security possible. Plus, the non-toxic tool means you are in safe hands, and you can stay healthy and toxin-free!


  • A range of 80 different shade options
  • Rich, saturated pigments
  • Made from top quality wood
  • Thick nibs don’t break down
  • Packed in a well-built pack


  • No number-marking or coloring on the pencils

Buy on Amazon

11. Shuttle Art 136 Color Set

Not everybody likes to buy different paint boxes to meet their individual needs. Some look for one-pack-for-all options. For those artists, you have the Shuttle Art 136 piece set. You get 136 different drawing tools to match your desire to the maximum level.

More interestingly, these 136 color variants include 8 metallic ones, as well. The lids here are super smooth and thick for shading and shadows. Plus, the hardened nibs are quite break-resistant to keep firm while in use.

With highly pigmented colors and the softcore, you can paint nearly any shade and blend with these tools. Moreover, the vibrant options take the artwork to another level.

Impressively, the dye used in this set is non-toxic and doesn’t pose any harm to your health. So you can draw as much as you like, nothing to worry about toxicity! Smart numbering on the pencils means you can identify the tool you need almost instantly without even looking at the color of it!


  • The set comes with 136 vibrant shades
  • Break-resistant thick nibs
  • Highly pigmented color for best painting output
  • Numbering system for easy identification
  • Toxic-free for healthy painting


  • The pencils need frequent sharpening

Buy on Amazon

12. Scriptract Pencils 24 Count Set

Last but not least, we have the Scritract 24-piece set. It’s the best choice for everyone in the family. From the kids to the adults, anyone can unleash their potential through this drawing set!

You get great shading and sketching with this set. The lids are extra smooth for rolling on any type of paper. Apart from the smoothness, the leads are highly resistant against breakage and damage.

The color-vibrant you get from the pencils are strong and long-lasting. You can tell the difference as the dye lasts longer than most of the drawing pens available in the market.

Not to mention, the stunning black body look is a truly stand-out feature of it. It looks brilliant and exceptional.


  • Ideal coloring option for both kids and adults
  • Smoother lids for a better painting
  • Break-resistant nib for hassle-free drawing
  • Sleek and exceptional black body design
  • It comes in a well-managed package


  • No naming on the pencils to differentiate individually

Buy on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked queries regarding drawing pencils:

  1. What pencil to use for drawing portraits?

Usually, graphite ones are used for painting portraits. There is a range of numbers on the pencils for lighter to darker shade.

  1. Which drawing tool is best for sketching?

If you are into sketching only, you can use H or HB pencil for the best results.

  1. What type of pencil is best for shading?

For the best shading sketch, a 4B one seems to be the best one.

  1. What is a lightfast pencil?

It refers to the measurement of a color’s ability to resist fading.

  1. What is an ‘F’ number in sketching?

The letter F means that the pencil can be sharpened to a fine point.

Final Words

Although it may seem that a beginner artist can get started with any simple pen, it’s not the case in reality. You need to get a good grip on the range of painting tools that professionals use to keep yourself moving towards excellence.

Our in-depth reviews on the best drawing pencils for beginners will hopefully show you the most useful options you have. If you are still wondering which one to choose from, keep our buying guide handy!

Have a good day!

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