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Graphite Tips & Techniques From Faber-Castell

Basic Graphite Pencil Techniques to Get You Started!

Faber-Castell’s variety of graphite pencils allow artists the ability to create artwork with high-quality materials. Our graphite pencils are available in 16 degrees of hardness, making them ideal for all technical artistic applications such as writing, drawing, and sketching. These fundamental tips and techniques will help you get started in creating and understanding all that you can achieve with your graphite pencil.


When learning how to use your graphite pencil, it all starts with your hold. The way you hold your graphite pencil will affect your artwork. To create a light loose sketch, hold your pencil towards the end. For more exact, specific lines, hold your pencil closer to the tip for more control.


One single pencil can create lines of different depth and size based on the pressure you use when drawing. Apply more pressure to create thicker darker lines and less for lighter thinner lines.


Your graphite artwork is only as strong as the surface you create it on and the paper you choose is important to the outcome of your drawing. Paper of different weights and textures affect the appearance of your drawing. Depending on the grain of your paper, your drawing will appear more fine or coarse. 


Give your artwork depth by practicing shading with your graphite pencil. When creating graphite monochrome work, colors are represented in tonal values. Different shades of grey convey the pictorial elements’ color intensity, surface properties, and incidence of light. They give the picture life and depth.


Hatching is another great way to add tonal value to your graphite work. Different tones are achieved through overlaying and condensing the lines you are drawing. Line length and distance between the lines further vary the optical result of your artwork.


Cross-hatching consists of drawing pencil strokes in one direction followed by layering strokes on top at another angle. Similar to hatching, achieving various tonal values in your artwork is dependent on the differences in number and density of the overlapping lines.

Overhand grip

Overhand grip is a technique used when you want to quickly create large areas and fluid tonal shades. Overhand grip consists of holding the pencil at an extremely flat position in order to create extensive laydown.


The smudging technique is perfect to use with graphite when wanting to create clouds, water, or blurred backgrounds. Loosely apply graphite on the paper and smudge over a specific area to create your desired look. Smudge graphite with the help of a paper wiper or even your finger.


Faber-Castell offers a selection of Castell 9000 graphite pencils in open stock and in sets. A testament to their highest quality standards, these pencils have superior leads made of finely ground graphite and clay, resulting in a smooth and pure feel that is never scratchy. Available in 16 degrees of hardness.

Shop All Faber-Castell 9000 Sets

FC119063 Castell 9000 Design Set –  Tin of 6

Includes 1 each grades HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B and 8 B

MSRP $13.30

FC119064 Castell 9000 Design Set – Tin of 12

Includes 1 each of 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H

MSRP $22.60

FC119065 Castell 9000 Art Set –  Tin of 12

Includes 1 each of 8B, 7B, 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H

MSRP $22.60

Along with our pencils, Faber-Castell has a selection of high-quality tools that perfectly complement our graphite collection. Take care of your pencil lead by using the right sharpenerFaber-Castell erasers are also available to not only correct your work but perfect some of your graphite techniques. Lastly, we cannot cover graphite tools without mentioning our paper blender. The paper blender/wiper is our convenient tool made out of recycled paper that is used to help correct and blend graphite, pastel pencils, crayons, charcoal and color pencils.

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