Mechanical Pencils Can be a Very Useful Addition to Your Drawing Tools.


When I first discovered mechanical pencils for drawing, I thought...

Why didn't I think of this before?

Mechanical pencil how do I love thee, let me count the ways...

  1. I love how you never need to be sharpened.
  2. I love the fine line that you draw with ease.
  3. I love the variety of hardnesses in the leads you can use.
  4. I love the way you fit in my hand.


Enough of that. You get the point don't you?

I use a mechanical for about 90% of the time when working on a project. It's so nice to not have to break my focus to sharpen a pencil while doing fine detail on a project. I just “CLICK”, and away I go.

There are more than enough styles to choose from that you'll have no problem finding one that fits you perfectly.

The price gap for these pencils is pretty wide. At your local department store you can get a pack of them for less than $5. If you want to treat yourself you can get a real beauty for over $200...OUCH!

Of course it's personal preference as to what features you might want in your M.P., but here are some things you' might consider when looking for your new friend:

  • What size lead do you want it to have?
  • How does it feel in your hand?
  • How much do you want to pay?
  • Where do you want the lead advance located on the pencil?

I know... decisions, decisions

Just stay with me here.

I'll give you my recommendations and then you can decide on your own preferences.

I tend to use a 0.5 size lead.

There is a smaller size, but I worry about breakage with such a small lead. The 0.5 is especially useful for fine detailed work.

Here are the common sizes available:

  • 0.3mm / 0.35mm
  • 0.5mm
  • 0.7mm
  • 0.9mm / 1.0mm
  • 1.18mm / 1.1mm / 1.2mm
  • 1.3mm
  • 1.4mm
  • 2 mm
  • 3.15mm / 3.2mm
  • 5.6mm

I suggest that you try out the different sizes over a period of time...but remember that you will have to purchase a different mechanical for each size lead.

Mechanical pencils come in
a nice variety of hardnesses:

6B, 4B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 4H

You could have a separate pencil For each different grade of graphite. Just make sure you label them, or color code them in some way so that you don't forget which pencil has which lead in it...

That can be a pain, I've been there!.

When you go looking for your mechanical it might be hard to test drive it at the store, what with it being encased in its packaging and all. So I'll give you some of the things that I consider when buying my mechanical pencil.

I'm old... and getting older.

OK, maybe not that old, but with every passing year the pain in my hands gets worse. I now tend to choose mechanicals that are thicker than what I have used in the past.

This of course is not an issue with everyone, but it may be something to think about.

I like the pencils with the lead advance on the side, and above the grip area.

I personally don't like having to stop and change my grip to push the top of a pencil to get the lead to advance.


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