A go-to tool for any artist, designer or doodler, owning one – or two, three, four or more – great pencil is crucial. It is the very first stage in the creation of any great work: the pen may be mighty but the pencil your trustworthy friend that erases any mistakes from memory. Phew. 

We’ve rounded up our favourite of the many – way, way too many - pencils available. Whether you want a great shading tool or a technical line-maker, we’ll put the ideal pen at your fingertips. So, pencil in some pencil shopping, why don’t you?

Already have a great pencil? Read our features on the best pens, smart pens and styluses (for Android or iPad) 

Lyra Rembrandt Art Design

 

These beautiful pencils are brilliant for shading, as well as more rigid drawing, both of which they perform with enchanting smoothness. Responsive and with a wide versatility between each grade, you can’t go wrong with a Rembrandt pencil. And, with its break-resistant lead, it won’t go wrong either. 

Buy a set of 12 Lyra Rembrandt Art Design pencils for £10.77/$USD14.28

Derwent Graphic

 

Smooth, easy to use and soft, graphic pencils are a Derwent staple. They are ideal for crisp, detailed work with an easy-to-hold hexagonal barrel – though the grade is only printed on one side, which can get annoying - and beautifully a dark line. Plus, they blend wonderfully.

Buy a set of 24 Derwent Graphic Graphite Pencils for £16.50/$USD18.14       

Faber-Castell 9000

 

People love these pencils and it’s not hard to understand why: they are wonderfully consistent, which is great when you inevitably quickly run out of them and need another pack, and also refined. And the grade is printed on all three sides of the pencil (I’m looking at you, Derwent Graphic). 

Buy a set of 12 Faber Castell 9000 pencils for £9.65/$14.25

Staedtler Mars Lumograph

 

Proving once again that artists do not have time to waste, one of the most common reasons to praise Staedtler’s Lumograph is that it has the grade on all sides. On top of that, the lead is soft, sturdy (not many frustrating breakages here) and consistent. 

Buy a set of 12 Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils for £10.05/$USD18.93 

Caran d’Ache Graphite Line

 

Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Some think so. For that price, you’ve got to love these pencils and lots do. Caran d’Ache is Switzerland is the country’s only pencil manufacturer and has the exclusivity and craftsmanship to match. Each shade and grade is carefully developed and truly beautiful. Of course, they have a gorgeous finish and are made of high quality wood.

Once you use them and dive into pencil luxury, you might not be able to go back.

Buy 15 Caran D’ache Graphic Line pencils (plus accessories) for £179.99/ $USD205.20

Cretacolor Monolith woodless  

Being woodless, these Cretacolor offer a pretty unique experience. Not just in their look: they erase more easily than a wood pencil, have a satisfying weight in your hand and are great at shading, though less effective if you want a simple, crisp line. 

Buy 6 Cretacolor Monolith pencils for £14.98/$USD22.99