The rise of digital art tools hasn’t quite overshadowed the humble pencil and sketch pad for drawing anime and manga. Drawing the traditional way can tend to be easier if you’re not well-versed in the digital world or if you’re just starting out drawing in general.
For beginner anime artists, the one question that always pops up is:
What are the best pencils for drawing anime? The best pencils for drawing anime are comfortable, sturdy, and smooth so you can create clean lines. They should come in several shades so you can add value to your drawings and should also be easy to blend for shading.
We already know the overwhelming number of pencil brands out there and how it gets confusing for anyone starting out with anime drawing to pick one out of the hundreds of brands. Luckily we got you covered.
This article provides a pencil buying guide for your anime and manga drawings. We go deeper into the details of choosing the right pencil for drawing anime and also recommend the best brands that guarantee you a successful start.
Choosing Pencils for Drawing Anime
The majority of people will tell you that any pencil can do the job, but that is not entirely true. While practice most definitely leads to perfection, your pencil choice can also motivate or frustrate your efforts.
Therefore, you should choose your pencils meticulously. Try and keep the following things in mind when selecting pencils for drawing anime.
What could be more upsetting than a pencil that just keeps breaking? Opt for a high-quality, sturdy pencil that doesn’t break or crack every time it falls or a little pressure is applied.
You also want to pay attention to the type of wood. The best wood sharpens uniformly and doesn’t splinter. Cedar pencils are often of the highest quality. Basswood is suitable too. And if you really want to extend the life of your pencils, you may want to invest in a high-quality long-point sharpener as well.
Some pencils draw terribly and literally screech across the pad. This kind of resistance can not only be frustrating to work with but also leave wavy, heavy, and broken lines on your paper.
If you’re drawing anime or manga, you’ll be drawing a whole lot of clean lines, so the best pencils for drawing anime glide across the paper, leaving smooth and even lines in their wake.
Any physical discomfort you feel while drawing will translate to your drawing. Find ergonomic pencils that are comfortable to hold for a long time without causing fatigue. You may also want to invest in an artist’s chair if you tend to draw for long periods of time.
There are three common shapes for the shaft of a pencil, hexagon, round, and triangular. Thick triangular pencils tend to be the most comfortable and easiest to grip. You can also just buy pencil grips to make your pencils more comfortable.
4. Type of Pencil
You can use any pencil type for your anime drawings: traditional wooden pencils, woodless, or mechanical pencils. The pencil type will not directly impact how you draw your anime; it’s really a matter of durability, budget, and personal preference.
Mechanical pencils, for example, are very convenient and provide a consistent tip weight and thickness. They do not require sharpening and, as a result, last longer than wooden pencils and also save you time.
On the flip side, they are more costly than the conventional pencil. So if you need 5 or 6 different shades, you might end up spending a fortune. Sometimes the mechanics of the pencil might also fail.
For these reasons and because we wanted to offer sets with several shades, we’ve only included traditional wooden pencils in our roundup.
5. Color and Shade Range
As an anime artist, you need a collection of pencils that produce various shades for outlining, shading, and other effects. It goes without saying that you’ll be looking to purchase a set of pencils and not just one.
You have to check that there’s a reasonable assortment of soft shades for sketching and deeper shades for shading and outlining.
If you’re a newbie, go for HB or anything between 2B and 2H. You can experiment with more shades as you gain skills and confidence.
H and anything lower is rigid, light in intensity, and produces very crisp and precise lines. It is suitable for very light sketching that you intend to erase, especially if you make lots of mistakes. You can fix it fast and cleanly.
Anything above 6B up to 9B is too dark and will smear when erased, creating a mess.
6. Graphite Vs Charcoal
There are mainly two types of pencil cores: graphite and charcoal. Graphite pencils are lighter than charcoal and more common.
Charcoal pencils are ideal for specific techniques that experienced artists use, such as smudging or shading to add dense tones or depth, while graphite produced a cleaner look.
The 5 Best Pencils for Drawing Anime
The overwhelming variety of pencils can make it extremely difficult to choose the best one for your anime drawing. Well, we already searched high and low and came up with the following list of the 5 best pencils for drawing anime based on quality as well as performance. Have a look!
|1.||Prismacolor Premier Graphite Pencils||14 graphite pencils, eraser, sharpener, file|
|2.||Castle Art Supplies Graphite Drawing Set||20 pencils, erasers, sharpeners, blending tools, case|
|3.||Arteza Professional Drawing Sketch Pencils||12 graphite pencils, ethically sourced|
|4.||Derwent Graphic Pencils||24 pencils, 9H to 9B, durable, tin case|
|5.||Faber-Castell Creative Studio Art On-The-Go Set||12 pencils, sharpener, eraser, case|
1. Prismacolor Premier Graphite Pencils
When it comes to providing high-quality art supplies, the excellent reputation of Prismacolor has always been unmatched.
These premium quality pencils produce the most astounding results when drawing anime. They are sturdy and lay down great.
You get 14 graphite pencils in three different styles; 7 wooden graphite pencils, 4 woodless graphite pencils, and 3 water-soluble graphites. There’s also an eraser, a sharpener, and a board file.
Prismacolor’s range of shades is adequate to fit the needs of any beginner who wants to hone their anime and manga drawing skills. Whether you need to blend for smooth shading or create sharp lines for cell shading, this set’s ready for it.
There’s everything for both light and dark coverage ranging between 6H and 8B. The pencils have a beautiful turquoise finish over the wood that makes them really attractive and they come in a lovely metal tin.
2. Castle Art Supplies Graphite Drawing Set
This Castle Art pencil set is for the serious anime artist looking to unleash their artistic side. It is so comprehensive and more than just a pencil set.
It provides the broadest range of pencil types such as pastels, charcoal, and graphite pencils.
There are 20 pencils in total ranging between 5H and 8B. There are lots of accessories too, including erasers, sharpeners, pencil extenders, and blending stumps.
Everything comes in a superb quality zipper case that pops up for easy retrieval of the pencils. We would buy this set just for this classy case alone, as it keeps things perfectly neat and organized.
The Castle pencil set has everything you need to try unlimited techniques for your anime drawings. You need nothing else shy of a drawing pad. If you’re looking to raise your anime drawing game some notches higher fast, this is the set you need as your drawing partner.
3. Arteza Professional Drawing Sketch Pencils
The brand name Arteza never disappoints when it comes to quality art supplies. This particular pencil set provides an assortment of 12 graphite pencils between 6B and 4H.
The set is ideal for a range of applications, including drawing, sketching, outlining, filling blending, and texturizing your anime sketches and drawings.
Performance-wise, the pencil spreads smoothly, sharpens easily, and lasts, thanks to the tough breakage-resistant bonds between the wax and lead.
The icing on the cake is that the wood is also certified as sourced ethically by the FSC. What could be better than a fantastic quality pencil that is also ethically produced and safe for you and the environment?
4. Derwent Graphic Pencils
If you’ve had to deal with scratchy pencils that leave a lot of graphite dust behind, then Derwent will be a huge upgrade.
From a brand that generations have trusted in providing professional quality pencils, you can only expect the best pencils for anime drawing.
The set has an incredible selection of pencils in 20 degrees between 9H and 9B. That’s about every degree of hardness and blackness and the broadest range in this review.
However, they do have sets that are specifically hard, soft, etc, for your preferences. You can do anything from deep-toned smudging to the most refined crisp lines.
One of the best things about this set that stood out is that they put two of each of the most essential pencils, which are HB, 2B, 2H, and 4B. So you can keep your ideas flowing even when one of your favorite pencils runs out.
The craftsmanship is solid, and the core is resilient against breakage. It sharpens well and is durable too. The pencil is hexagonal in shape, with the H’s measuring 2.2 mm core and the B’s measuring 3.5 mm core.
Derwent pencil set is a very versatile, professional, and full range set for beginners and professional anime artists alike. It comes with a tin case for storage.
5. Faber-Castell Creative Studio Art On-The-Go Set
No drawing pencil review would be complete without Faber Castell popping up somewhere.
This 15 piece graphite pencil set is the most basic yet comprehensive pencil set for anime drawing. You get 12 graphite pencils, a sharpener, an eraser, and a simple case.
The pencil’s core is made using a strong glue technology that is break-resistant. Laying them down is a breeze, they sharpen well and evenly and have every color grade the entry-level artist needs.
You get a total of 8 degrees of hardness which is concentrated mainly on the staples. There are two of each of the following: 4B, 2B, HB, and 6B, and one of each of the following: 4H, 2H, H, and B.
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