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The Best Lightest Drawing Pencils for Sketches

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There’s nothing worse than pencil stains and indents that won’t go away. When you’re doing a pre-sketch for a drawing, painting, watercolor, or more, you want the lightest pencil that won’t leave a trace behind. 

9H pencils are the lightest drawing pencils you can get because they have the hardest lead. The H stands for hard and 9 is the highest level that these pencils reach. This is why 9H pencils are the best for sketching.

Of course, not all drawing pencils are made the same. One 9H pencil might be better than another, even if also labelled as “9H.” Make sure to get the best 9H drawing pencils that do what we want them to do, erase and disappear forever.

Even though 9H pencils are so great for sketching, they can be tricky to find at times. Even my favorite pencil brand Faber-Castell, who makes some of my favorite pencils (even vegan ones that are super awesome) don’t carry 9H pencils. I’m not exactly sure why, but 9H pencils are sadly underappreciated in the pencil manufacturing world.

vegan colored pencils and drawing pencils
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So, instead of sending you on a wild goose chase for 9H pencils of your own, I’ve collected a list of some of the best (and only, to be honest). Here are my top choices of drawing pencil brands that make amazing 9H pencils for you to use for sketching.

Derwent Graphic 9H Pencils

Derwent is a top notch art brand that makes high quality drawing pencils. While a lot of companies stop their pencil packs before they reach 9H, that’s not the case with Derwent. You can buy a pack of hard drawing pencils from Derwent that range from B-9H.

Now that we’ve brought up “B,” let’s talk about what these pencils do and how they differ from “H” pencils.

derwent graphic drawing pencils
Check out Derwent’s set of hard drawing pencils on Amazon!

The Difference Between H Pencils and B Pencils

A pencil labeled with the letter H stands for hard lead, while a pencil labeled with the letter B stands for black lead. B pencils are softer than H pencils and range from HB, which is the hardest B pencil, to 9XXB, which is the softest B pencil.

In between the H pencils and the B pencils is the F pencil. The F stands for “fine point” and is harder than the Bs, but softer than the Hs. 

Like I said, if you get the Derwent set of hard pencils, you’ll get pencils ranging from B-9H. This includes an HB and an F.

If you’re in the market for a 9H so that you can sketch without fear of leaving marks, getting the whole range of H and F pencils is a good idea. They’re all hard enough to make them good for sketching, but having a wide range of them will give you more flexibility as you work.Who doesn’t love choices, right?

Staedtler Mars Lumograph 9H Graphite Art Drawing Pencil

Staedtler Mars is the company that makes my favorite erasers, which are actually my go-to erasers for tackling stubborn colored pencil marks. Aside from their classic and amazing erasers, they also make great 9H pencils.

Staedtler Mars is a neat brand because they make high quality products for both artists and students. Nothing like using a protractor one minute and then a 9H the next, all while sticking to the Staedtler Mars name and having them be high quality. 

I used Staedtler Mars  all throughout my childhood as an artist and a student and still love them today, not just for nostalgia sake. They make great products.

staedtler mars drawing pencils
Check out Staedtler Mars’ 9H pencils on Amazon!

Dainayw 24 Piece Drawing Pencil Set

If you’re on a budget and want a lot of pencils for your money, you’ll want to check out this Dainayw 24 piece drawing pencil set. In the art world, it’s common to get what you pay for. It’s often better to cough up some extra money to make sure you get good quality materials that actually produce beautiful work. 

Well, this Dainayw set is low cost, while also being great. If you read the reviews, you’ll see that a lot of people like them. Quality-wise, you’ll do better with the Derwent or Staedtler Mars, but you’ll also pay more for them. Decide what your budget is and what your drawing needs are and pick the right product for you.

dainayw drawing pencils
Check out Dainayw’s 24 piece pencil set on Amazon!

Hilitand 24 Piece Drawing Set

Hilitand is another brand that offers a 24 piece pencil set that goes all the way up to 9H. They’re about the same price as the Dainayw set, but don’t have as many raving reviews. They don’t have bad reviews; they just have fewer reviews in general. 

Again, if you want a lot of pencils and don’t want to spend a lot for them, a 24 piece pencil set is a great idea. 

hilitand drawing pencils
Check out Hilitand’s 24 piece pencil set on Amazon!

Honestly, that’s about all of the 9H pencils you’ll find on Amazon. No joke. For being such great and useful pencils, I’m not really sure why they aren’t more widely available. But, luckily, I did the searching for you and there are at least a handful of good choices to choose from. 

If you’ve ordered your 9H pencils and now want the best shot of using them to their full potential, grab a free trial of Skillshare. Yes, you read that right; Skillshare has a free trial that gives you access to all of their amazing art classes. 

To say that I’m a fan of Skillshare is an understatement. I’ve learned SO much from their classes and actually learned almost everything I know about digital drawing with Procreate from Skillshare. Like, from zero Procreates skills to making full on Procreate art. Thanks, Skillshare!

If you want to take your own art skills to the next level, click here to grab your own Skillshare account and take advantage of their free trial. Believe me, you can learn a TON in two months. No cost; no risk; all art.

However you decide to use your new 9H pencils, just make sure to make some great art.