Adult Colouring Course

Pencil Types










We thought we would include a little segment on basic pencil types for when you do have a go at drawing your own mandalas or even just doodles.


There are lots of different pencil types out there and it can be somewhat confusing! Lets break it down: Basically there are two graphite (lead) grading scales which are used to measure the hardness of the pencil.


Softest Lead Pencil = 9B - For thicker black lines.


Hardest Lead Pencil = 9H - For faint lines.


Most pencil cores are made of graphite mixed with a clay binder which leaves grey or black marks that can be easily erased.


From hardest to softest: 9H | 8H | 7H | 6H | 5H | 4H | 3H | 2H | H | F | HB | B | 2B | 3B | 4B | 5B | 6B | 7B | 8B | 9B.


HB stands for - Hard & Black.


The images shown here are the preferred pencil choice for our artist. You can get an idea of hardness and blackness for a variety of pencil types from the image below.

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How to Hold the Pencil? - Different Pencil Grips.

The Tripod Grip The most common way of holding a pen or a pencil. Although it might be the common way of holding a pencil, many people are not doing the tripod grip correctly. The correct way to make a tripod grip is to position the pencil applying equal pressure between the side of the middle finger, the tip of the index finger and the thumb. This is demonstrated in the video above and can also be applied to some colouring techniques.

Do not grip the pencil too firmly. Holding a pencil too tightly or too lightly will limit your flexibility in drawing because the fine-motor skills are weakened.

The index finger rests on the tip of the pencil which shows the lead while the top must be pointing toward the shoulder. Check if the thumb and the underside of the forearm are in a straight line.

The most important and apparent advantage of this type of grip is that a person can write more quickly and easily. The correct grip maximizes one’s motor skills, which are needed for drawings.


Extended Grip The extended grip is a variation of the tripod grip. The tripod grip is still used, but you will hold the pencil at bit further at the end or near the top of the pencil. Because your control is at the other end of the pencil, small movements of your hand make larger effects on the other end.


Underhand Grip Another variation of the tripod grip is the underhand grip. This is another relaxed way of holding a pencil. This grip is best suited for broad sketching. The pencil is positioned in a ‘V’ with the middle and index finger controlling the movement. Using this type of grip will help you make firm lines and small linear details.


Overhand Grip For sketching, most artists use the overhand grip. The aim of the overhand grip is to have a relaxed grip on the pencil but not too relaxed that the grip would not be secure. You can draw sitting or standing, make sure that your arm has full range movement. Shading is easier with the overhand grip.