What are the best graphite sketching pencils? is a question I am sometimes asked.
You often hear drawing pencils being referred to as 'lead' pencils. There is in fact no lead present in any pencil. The material is graphite which is a carbon and completely safe to use. Graphite is naturally shiny. However this shine can be reduced if the graphite is applied with a layering technique. Lighter pencils can be used in the initial layers followed by darker pencils.
Graphite pencils are graded according to their degree of hardness and blackness. 'H' for hard and 'B' for blackness. 'HB' is the bridge between the two grades. When first starting to draw, stick to the 'HB' and 'B' grade pencils. You can progress to the harder ones later if you decide to have finer detail in your drawings. Pencils that display an 'F' are pencils with very fine points for people who require more detail. They are slightly harder than the other grades and therefore hold their tip for longer.
Everybody can draw. You just have to be able to hold a pencil . Sometimes, when people decide to start drawing, they make the mistake of buying too many products and feel obliged to use them all in trying to include everything they see in their picture. They go out looking for the perfect view. If they are indoors, they often try to draw an entire room with all its contents. These would be truly daunting tasks for any artist. When you start to draw, keep it simple. Drawing is all about light and shade. Get the shading right and your pictures will instantly take on a three dimensional look. When starting out, keep away from figure drawing, portraits, and over complicated architecture. There will be plenty of time for these later. If we get a nose on a face a centimetre too far to the left it will look very strange. If we get a tree a centimetre too far to the left, nobody will ever know!
Always buy the best quality art materials you can afford. Cheap materials, although good for the bank balance, will not give you pleasing results.
You do not need a huge quantity of graphite pencils to start drawing. In addition to the everyday HB pencil, a 2B, 6B and an 8B will be quite sufficient.