Last updated: August 18, 2021

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Welcome back to Monederosmart! This time we will talk about the pencil, a cylindrical instrument made of wood and graphite, used for centuries to write and draw. Discover all the options that this fantastic accessory offers you!

We will tell you about the main characteristics of pencils, including their different varieties, models, formats, sizes, strokes, textures, colours, uses, and qualities, so that you know all their functions and advantages when choosing the best pencil for you.

We will also discuss those aspects that you should take into account before buying this product, the different costs, and the shops where you can buy it. Don't miss any detail, as this information will be of great help to you in making the best choice.




Summary

  • Pencils are cylindrical wooden tools used for drawing and writing. They have a lead or graphite inside, which, when sharpened, is responsible for drawing the strokes that are then written on sheets of paper.
  • Pencils are differentiated from each other by certain letters that indicate their type of stroke, thickness and intensity, among other aspects. Each of these types of pencils is indicated for a specific use according to each need and personal taste.
  • Before purchasing pencils, it is necessary that you take into account certain factors, such as their formats, materials, varieties, and cases, among other aspects, so that you can make the best purchase choice.

The Best Pencil: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about pencils

The main purpose of this buying guide is to inform you about the most important features of the product you are interested in buying. Therefore, we will tell you about the main characteristics of pencils, including their advantages and those aspects that are not so beneficial.

Pencils stimulate imagination and creativity. (Photo: klimkin / pixabay.com)

What are pencils and what are their advantages?

Pencils are long, cylindrical wooden writing tools with a lead or graphite inside. This lead protrudes from one end of the pencil when it is sharpened, and allows words or drawings to be written on the paper.

Pencils can be black or coloured, with thin or thick strokes, softer or stronger, longer or shorter, wider or narrower, and so on. There are also different qualities and brands of this element, which differ from each other mainly by the variety of shades, the precision and sharpness of the lines, and their resistance.

Among their many advantages, pencils stimulate creativity and imagination, improve fine motor skills, are easy to use, practical to carry, allow the development of artistic skills, and express oneself through them, among many other benefits.

Advantages
  • They are practical and functional
  • They are comfortable to use
  • They stimulate imagination and creativity
  • They improve fine motor skills
  • They function as an effective means of expression
Disadvantages
  • The lead often breaks
  • They can stain the paper
  • Good quality ones are quite expensive

B pencils, HB pencils, or F pencils - what should you pay attention to?

By means of certain letters, you can find out certain characteristics of black pencils, such as the type of lead they have, their intensity, thickness, etc. Here we will tell you about them so that you can find out what they mean.

B pencils. The letter B comes from "Black", which in English means black. These pencils are quite soft, so they are used a lot in artistic drawing to shade and blur paints evenly, always taking care not to stain the sheet.

H pencils. The letter H stands for "Hard". This numbering of pencils is characterised by having a low amount of graphite, so the strokes are usually very fine. They are widely used in technical drawing and architecture to draw very precise lines.

F pencils. These pencils are an intermediate point between the previous compositions, i.e. they are not completely hard, but not very soft either. Their use is more related to the particular needs of each person, as they are more versatile.

B pencils H pencils F pencils
Texture Soft Hard Medium
Graphite composition High Low Medium
Uses Shaded drawings Line drawings Adaptive
Strokes Thick Fine Medium Medium
Colour intensity High Low Medium

What are the gradations of pencils?

As mentioned above, the letter of the pencil determines the hardness, thickness, and intensity of the lead, among other aspects. The letters B and H also have a wide range of shades which are indicated as B1, B2, B3, B4, etc. or H2, H3, H4, etc. The higher the grade in B, the softer the lead, and in H, the harder it is.

How much does a pencil cost?

There is a wide range of pencil prices, because there is a large assortment of this product, in which quantities, sizes, qualities, and brands vary. In the following paragraph we will tell you what the approximate costs are so that you have a reference when buying.

In the market you can get basic pencils (usually 4 units) for only 20 MXN. The larger and higher quality pencils range between MXN 100 and MXN 300, approximately, and the professional ones cost from MXN 500 to MXN 1,500 or more, depending on their characteristics.

Where to buy a pencil?

There is no home without one or more pencils, since it is a product that is very much a part of everyday life; therefore, you can easily find them in shops such as Bolex, Office Depot, and Lumen, among others, where you will find a great variety.

You can also get a wide assortment of pencils on the internet, through websites such as Amazon, Ebay, Linio and Mercado Libre, among others. Buying online also gives you the extra benefit of ordering from home, where you can also receive your order.

There is a wide variety of pencil models, adapted to different uses. (Photo: sweetlouise / pixabay.com)

Buying criteria

In this last section of the article we will talk about the factors that you should take into account when buying pencils, because among so many different models and qualities, it is likely that you will not know which ones to choose. This information will help you to make the best purchase choice.

Materials

The material par excellence for the manufacture of pencils is wood, and this can come from different trees, or be combined with other materials, etc. Below we will talk about the variants that you can find in the manufacture of this product.

Different woods. According to the species of tree, the quality of the wood of the pencil will vary, which is usually obtained from pines, junipers, and lime trees, among others. Incense cedar is the most valued of all, as these pencils (generally for professional use) are of excellent quality.

Wood and plastic. Wooden pencils are often wrapped in a protective plastic film to make them stronger and safer, as they can sometimes splinter. Some also have plastic caps for the safety of children.

Plantable wood. Plantable, or eco-friendly, pencils are made from the same wood as their conventional namesakes, but with the difference that one end contains a seed. When the pencil has completed its useful cycle, what is left of it is planted in the ground and a plant will grow according to the seed.

There are different qualities of wood, which influence the resistance of the pencil. (Photo: Free-Photos / pixabay.com)

Format

The format is an important factor to consider when buying a pencil, especially if you are going to use it for a long period of time. Here are the two most common pencil formats and their characteristics, so that you can choose the one that works best for you.

Round pencils. Round pencils are the most common and most commonly used. They do not usually have relief, so they do not hurt the hand by constant use; however, they are quite slippery and uncomfortable to make drawings that require a more precise fit.

Hexagonal or triangular. These are pencils with hexagonal or triangular reliefs, as their name suggests. The advantage of these formats is that they have a better grip, do not slip from the fingers, and allow a better displacement, although after a while they can generate calluses or skin lesions.

Types of coloured pencils

In the comparison table, we have discussed the letters used in black pencils to indicate the type of lead, thickness, intensity, stroke, etc. We will now detail the characteristics and applications of the two most popular types of coloured pencils.

Watercolour pencils. These pencils are usually used at a professional level, as their cost is higher, depending on the brand. Once you have painted with them, you can pass a wet brush over them, obtaining a very nice effect, similar to watercolour.

On the other hand, these artistic pencils come in a wide variety of shades and designs, offering multiple functions of use. They are usually sold in specialised bookshops, although you can get them in commercial shops, but almost always in smaller quantities.

Student pencils. If you like to paint but don't want to spend a lot of money, or if you use pencils for a more practical purpose, a good option are the so-called student pencils, which have less range of colours, but they fulfil their function perfectly.

Within this type of pencils there is a great variety of qualities and prices, so you can find a wide range of possibilities, among which there are products of recognised brands of excellent quality, resistance and durability.

Variety of colours

The colours are the most striking thing about pencils, and you can find different varieties and quantities of shades on the market, depending on the different models. Here we will tell you what the presentations of this product are usually like.

Professional pencils. Professional or artistic pencils usually come in boxes or batches of 72 units, which include a wide range of shades. There are also models of 120 and up to 150 pencils with a huge range of colours to create beautiful drawings.

School pencils. In the case of pencils for school or student use, the variety of shades is more limited, as they usually come in boxes or batches of 6, 12, 24, and 36 colours at the most. They are much cheaper than professional pencils, but serve a more practical and concrete use.

You can find a wide variety of pencil shades. (Photo: JarkkoManty / pixabay.com)

Pencil cases

Pencil cases allow us to organise our pencils better and keep them in good condition for longer, and they are less likely to be lost if they are kept in a safe place. Here we will tell you about the different types of pencil cases for your pencils.

Cardboard pencil case. The cheapest pencils usually come in a cardboard box that doubles as a pencil case. The reality is that this system is not the most recommendable, as it tends to break quickly (sometimes at the first attempt to remove the pencils) due to the fragility of the material.

Plastic case. Although plastic pencil cases are not usually of excellent quality, at least they are much more resistant than cardboard, and due to their rigidity they allow the units to be more contained. They also have recesses to accommodate each pencil.

Metal case. Metal cases offer the best results, as they are more resistant, can withstand being moved from one place to another, and prevent the pencils from being damaged or lost. Professional brands generally have metal cases, which are therefore more expensive.

You also have the possibility to buy individual pencils and place them in an adaptive pencil case. These units are usually cheaper than the ones that come in a box, and you have the possibility of replacing one or more colours at a time, depending on the shades you like or need.

(Featured image source: Jambulboy/ Pixabay.com)

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