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Choosing Pencils & Pens for Art and Design

As an ink-drawing or pencil artist it’s essential that you choose the best tools to produce the best results, and whilst your personal preference or the type of artwork you create will influence your choice of pen or pencil, there are few staples that should be present in every studio.

Pen Types


  • Ball Pens


Ball pens are a cheap choice and available in many different colours in all stationary shops. They can produce exceptional results, making them perfect for fast artists who rely on free flowing ink to keep up with their artistic flow.

For more experimental artists, there are also a range of different nibs you can choose,  for example a  firm steel split nib is a great all-rounder, whilst calligraphy nibs are more specialised and take a while to find one you are comfortable with, and a copperplate writing nib offers a softer solution that lets you create a more varied effect.


  • Bamboo Reed Pens


Bamboo pens are an acquired preference as they produce broad definite lines, and the pens don’t hold much ink. This makes them more suited to minimalist artists, who prefer to give an impression rather than extensive detail. Another point is thart as the ink runs low it produces different textures and effects – so they can take quite a while to get used to, but produce great results once you’ve mastered the technique.


  • Artist’s Pens


Fibre tip markers, such as the one from Faber-Castell are a wonderful way to get precise, crisp lines and beautiful colour quickly. You can buy fibre tip markers in a variety of nib sizes and brush tips, ensuring you’ll find something to suit your drawing style and artwork.

Pencil Grades

Choosing the right grade of graphite pencil for your designs can be tricky if you aren’t used to the different effects, but once you’ve learned the differences you can produced detailed and deep artwork that allows true expression of your creativity.

The grades range from numbers 2 to 9, and will be following by a ‘H’ to indicate the graphite is hard and produces a lighter tone, or a ‘B’ if the pencil is softer and darker. There’s also a middle ground of ‘HB’ and an ‘F’ for finepoint pencils. The most common pencils for drawing, include:  

The 2H

A very hard lead pencil that makes thin light marks, making it ideal for detailed artwork and initial, non-permanent drawings.

The 6B

A very dark, soft pencil which is great for expressive drawing and fast sketching.

The HB

This is the pencil you would have used in school! The lead is the perfect medium between hard and soft led, making it a great all-rounder.

The 2B

This pencil is much softer than a HB pencil and produces fine, dark lines making it is great for outlining drawings, or adding in darker shading.

Finding the right stationary for ink and graphite drawings can take a lifetime, and even if you think you have the perfect tools for the job, it’s always worth experimenting when you come across something new.  


The team at Banaman supply bespoke promotional pens and pencils, printed with your company’s details, making them the perfect giveaway item for potential or existing clients.

Not sure what you need? Call one of our friendly advisors on: 0800 086 2840