The Best Pencils for Writing & Drawing

Whenever I think about creativity, I’m reminded of Maybelline’s commercials: “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline” in that sultry voice. Working on your hobby takes practice, dedication, and time. It also takes some quality supplies, which is why I’ve rounded up the best pencils for writing and drawing below.

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If you’re wanting to start an art hobby this year or maybe just want a fun way to relax, here are a few supplies to get you started on journaling or drawing.

The Best Pencils for Writing

Nothing is more satisfying than the first touch of a pencil on a brand new notebook. Those glorious first scratches of writing, of possibility on a notebook speaks of all the potential opportunities that are to come. Or maybe those first few writing strokes causes you the greatest anxiety as you “mess up” a brand new notebook.

I have felt both emotions as I write in a journal and they’re both fun in their own way!

Yasmin at Desk with picture frames behind her | article is about the best pencils for writing and drawing

Yellow Pencils for the Nostalgia

I’m a sucker for pencils that remind me of my childhood. That usually includes a few yellow pencils or the Paper Mate mechanical pencils that defined my middle school experience.

Ticonderoga is a well-known, classic pencil brand. I love how well their pencils sharpen, plus their pencil tips don’t break easily when you’re deep into a writing session.

Paper Mate is another pencil brand I love. These mechanical pencils are my favorite to use because the button to increase the lead tip is right by your thumb which makes it super easy to keep writing.

Ticonderoga | Pre-Sharpened, 72 pack

Paper Mate | Mechanical Pencils, 4 pack

Black Pencils for the Aesthetic

If you’re currently binge-watching Wednesday or adore the dark academia look, then these are the black writing pencils for you. None of that bright yellow paint ruining your moody desk aesthetic. These black pencils offer both function and fashion.

Ticonderoga Pencils are a classic brand. They have great quality pencils with smooth writing and their pencil tips rarely break for me. Blackwing is another amazing pencil brand. They are well-known for their unique pencil design that includes a rectangular eraser.

Ticonderoga Pencils | Black

Blackwing | Matte Black

Pre-Sharpened Black Pencils for the Dark Academia Aesthetic

Listen, you’re in a hurry. You don’t have time to sharpen pencils because you’re too busy taking notes on your latest noir read. I get it, which is why these pencils are black and pre-sharpened.

Paper Mate | Black Pencils, 12 pack

Staedtler | Black Pencils, 36 pack

Pre-Sharpened Black Pencils with Storage

If you need some black pencils with a storage case, then these look absolutely amazing! They come pre-sharpened as well so you can dive into your work ASAP. The wood of the pencil, the eraser, and even the metal bit all come in black!

Notsu | Black Pencils, 4 pack with storage case

Journals & Notebooks

With all these amazing new pencils, you have to get a new journal or notebook to try them out with, right?!

These are some of my favorite notebooks, whether you want to bullet journal, keep a diary journal, or just need a place for writing random thoughts and ideas.

Eccolo is one of my favorite brands for notebooks and planners. They have a variety of notebooks covers to choose from, whether you want something inspirational, geometric, or simply a classic color.

The Standard Issue No. 12 notebook from Designworks Ink has my heart. The colors they offer are gorgeous! But the design behind this notebook??? Chef’s kiss. This notebook has a pencil holder elastic in the front, a plastic tab with shapes you can trace for bullet journaling, and the pages come with a date section so you can easily date them throughout the years!

Eccolo | Large Lined Notebook

Designworks Ink | Standard Issue No. 12

Notebooks with Closures

If you want a notebook that stays securely closed through natural disasters, these notebooks are it.

This Eccolo notebook comes with

Eccolo | Hardbound Journal with Ribbon

Eccolo | Velvet Hardcover Journal

Journals with Reflective Prompts

If you’re looking to reflect throughout the year, these notebooks come with prompts so you can dive deeper into mindfulness.

This Eccolo notebook comes with

Eccolo | Guided Journal with Prompts

Eccolo | Guided Gratitude Journal

The Best Pencils for Drawing

If you’re looking to dive into an art hobby or simply want a way to relax, these are the best pencils for drawing or coloring.

Pencil Sets for Drawing

If you’re wanting to dive into various graphite types for pencils, a graphite pencil set is your best bet for your art kit. Beginning with a graphite pencil set allows you to try different degrees of hardness so you can find the one you like best when drawing.

These sets can also help you experiment with shading and new drawing techniques using each degree of hardness. Want to try sketching? Try a light hand with a 2H pencil then go back in with a 4B or 6B pencil to draw over the lines you want to keep in the final image.

Faber-Castell | Graphite Sketch Pencil Set

Prismacolor Premier | Graphite Drawing Pencils

Colored Pencil Sets for Coloring

Maybe you’ve been sketching or drawing for a while and you’re ready to finally add some color! These sets have a wide range of colors that will help bring your drawings to life.

Prismacolor and Faber-Castell are both well-known artist brands and they provide a variety of sets for all kinds of mediums. If you need an even greater variety of colors, check out their stores for more products.

Faber-Castell | Goldfaber Color Pencils, 24ct.

Prismacolor Premier | 72-Pack Color Pencils 

Skin Tone Colored Pencils

If you’re working on portrait drawings or work with skin tones quite a bit in your art, here are a few skin-tone-focused color pencils sets to bring your art to life.

Prismacolor is a well-known artist brand with a wide variety of colored pencil sets. You could find

Prismacolor Premier | Color Pencils Portrait

Black Widow | Skin Tone Colored Pencils, Light Tones

Black Widow | Skin Tone Colored Pencils, Dark Tones


If you’re going to spend your time trying out new materials, it can be helpful to have a variety of sketchbooks for each material. It can also help you narrow down what kind of paper you like to work with! This paper pad sampler has a few different paper variations so you can get a feel for what different paper types feel.

Sketching & Drawing Sampler Paper Pads

Sometimes all it takes is some pencils and a journal or sketchbook to make our lives more meaningful and mindful.

Whether you’re getting started on a journey of self-care or looking to relax by drawing to wind down, I hope this list of the best pencils helps you get started.

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The Best Pencils for Writing & Drawing

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