“Kill Your Artist Block” Series Lesson 2 – Drawing Materials – Sketching Pencils/Sharpeners/Erasers


In this lesson, I’ll show you some of the materials I’ve found to be invaluable for all kinds of artwork. We will cover sketching pencils, sharpeners, and erasers in this lesson.


I really love pencils, and there are so many to collect, but my very favorites are the 3 pictured in the first picture here.

Image #1: 

I buy all of these favorite pencils by the box.  (sources in brackets)

Ticonderoga Pencils Size 2 and 4 – 2 is a darker, softer lead, while 4 is lighter and better for sketching under a painting.  [Amazon.com]

Blackwing Drawing Pencils – These are high quality pencils for the serious artist. They are ones I don’t use often because they are a bit expensive. They also have their own, specialized sharpener.


Prang – Affordable and high quality drawing pencils. Love these as much as any other.


Image 2:  These are various pencils I’ve collected over the years. Some are meant to write on glass, paper, and other materials. I don’t particularly prefer any of these over the others. Some of them come in boxes of different hardness or softness. In image 5, I’ve tried to show you some of the numbers these pencils come in.

HB means a hardness of point, while a pencil like 4B means a soft pencil of a certain type. Most pencil sets you can buy for drawing come in several numbers of soft or hard lead. The higher the number, the softer the lead.

Image 3: This is called a Col-Erase pencil and can be erased from a sketch after you finish inking or painting over it. It’s used for all kinds of architectural art, also.

Image 4: This pencil is called a stabilo and lets you draw on many different surfaces like paper, glass, and several others.

Image 5: If you look closely at this image, you can see the different types of pencils I mentioned earlier, such as 4B, HB, and so on.



I like many different types of erasers, and it doesn’t really matter which ones you use. The staedtler brand tends to be a bit expensive, but it rarely leaves any residue behind. I love the traditional Pink Pearl eraser (you can buy a box of 12 on Amazon.com), but it does leave little pieces of eraser behind. You can use a brush to remove them. You can find one of these brushes in a craft store, and they are very inexpensive.



I use a lot of different sharpeners for different purposes, but the one thing I will say about this is that I always use “Prismacolor” brand sharpeners for my Prismacolor brand colored pencils. They are the only ones that really seem to work. For the rest of the pencils you’ll use, you can use whatever you feel comfortable with. Some artists actually use Exacto knives because they think it preserves more of the lead to make the pencils last longer.

Do what gives you the best point. I will also note that I’ve bought several kinds of electric pencil sharpeners, but this Royal has been my favorite for not tearing up pencils like other sharpeners sometimes do.

[Most of these sharpeners I’ve found on Amazon.com or they come with a pencil set I’ve purchased]

See you tomorrow, for more discussion about materials. Soon, we’ll be sketching our first piece. Thanks a lot for following along. My wish is that you’ll find these lessons help you to feel more confident and comfortable with your artwork.

Hope to see you soon!


P.S. Here’s a great blog post by one of my favorite artists about Col-Erase pencils, their annoyances, and a solution he found at his local Walmart: The Solution to the Col-erase problem