Pencil guide: Pencil Buying Guide –


Choosing and Using Sketching Pencils

Sketching graphite Pencils come in a range of grades, from 9B to 9H, that describe the tone of the line that each pencil will produce. The H stands for hard and the B for black. The harder pencil leaves less graphite on the surface resulting in lighter mark-making. The pencils classed as B, on the other hand, are softer and leave much more graphite on the surface. Hence, the marks are blacker. For both types, the higher the number, the harder or blacker they are. There are also HB pencils, which fall in the middle of the scale and are used as much for writing as drawing and F pencils which are firm.

 A selection of Faber Castell and Creatacolor Graphite Pencils

There may be a tendency for many users to press too hard on their pencil in an effort to increase intensity causing the paper to suffer. It is, therefore, important to use the correct pencil for the effect required. For deep, dark shading use a grade from 3B upwards. For a very light mark – such as for when you are suggesting an outline for a watercolour – use a grade around the 2H mark. Use various grades in a drawing to give a range of mark-making to achieve depth and interest.

It is also important to use an appropriate surface. Pencils can be used on smooth papers and Bristol board as well as textured paper such as watercolour and ingres papers but it should be noted that the different grades will achieve different effects on the different surfaces. Experiment first to see which combination of grades and papers will get the best results you wish to achieve.


Detail from Hampton Court Palace by Peter Taylor Ward

Pencils are the most versatile of drawing media because of the variety of marks that can be made. Marks can be subtle and delicate or bold and vigorous. A few bold strokes can capture movement whilst tonal shading can define form. A great characteristic of pencil is that line and tone can be combined in one drawing.

When executing a line drawing, the look of a line depends on several factors. These are the grade of the graphite used, its sharpness, the pressure applied, the speed with which the line was drawn and the texture of the paper. There are no rules governing this – it all depends on your style of drawing, the subject matter or atmosphere that you are seeking to create.

Tones can be achieved in a number of ways. The classic technique goes back to the time of Silverpoint and involves drawing closely juxtaposed lines that become lighter and fainter as they move out of shadowed areas into lighter ones. Other methods used to express tone include cross-hatching – two layers of crossing lines – dots and smudging the graphite with fingers, stumps or rubbers. Interesting tonal areas can also be achieved by rubbing the pencil over paper that has been laid on a textured surface.

For detailed drawings, erasers can lift any errors. For sketching, however, rough lines and random marks can add to the piece and so rubbers should not be over used. Some artists, however, create very interesting pieces just using a rubber. Having laid down a base of tonal areas, the form is picked out by the careful removal of the pencil allowing the image to emerge from the darkness.

The Grades Chart showing the differences between pencil grades from 9H to 9B

The determining factor in a pencil grade is the ratio of binder to graphite with the blacker grades having more graphite and the harder grades having more binder. The above chart shows the characteristics of each graphite pencil grade. The pencils used for the chart are the Cretacolor Cleos range.

The top line shows juxtaposed lines applied with varying pressure from some pressure to very little pressure demonstrating the tones that one grade can achieve.

The next line shows cross-hatching. It is worth noting that every pencil used to make the chart was sharpened to the same fine point and that the apparent difference in thickness of line is due to the amount of material that is transferred. It is a common error to think that the grades relate to the thickness of the lead but this is not the case.

The third line shows shading that has then been smudged downwards with a finger. The softer, blacker grades transfer more graphite to the surface so there is more material to smudge. A hard pencil has less of the ‘active’ ingredient, graphite, and more binder. As can be seen on the chart, the harder the pencil with the higher number, the less material is transferred to the surface. This makes the harder pencils great for plotting out the composition of a watercolour as there is less graphite to mix with and muddy the watercolour applied over it. But if you require a darker line, do not choose a very hard pencil and try to apply a lot of pressure as this will only damage the surface. Instead choose a slightly softer/blacker pencil with a lower number.

The Blacker side of the range of grades has a greater ratio of graphite to binder as the number goes up. This makes the Bs the common choice for pure pencil drawing. Again, if a blacker tone is needed, choose a higher number and do not try to apply a lower numbered grade with greater pressure that may only act to damage the paper.

Pencil Drawing using Faber Castell HB, 2B and 6B pencils on Fabriano Extra White Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper.

How to Draw Realism | 4 Key Fundamentals

Updated: 25 Jun 2021

Pencil drawing is monochromatic, meaning that it has a single hue (gray), but with different brightness values (from very light gray to very dark gray).

To get realistic results when drawing with pencils, start by drawing the form accurately. Then, brightness values are the key. Meaning, how dark or light each area is. In addition, edges and transitions are super important.

While there are many factors when it comes to drawing realism, here I will focus on the most important ones.

The 4 key factors for realistic pencil drawing are:

  1. Precision Drawing
  2. Brightness Values
  3. Edges
  4. Transitions


At the end of this tutorial, you will find some practical drawing tips.

Precision Drawing

Each object or figure has distinct characteristics and a unique form. Therefore, in order to produce a realistic result, the craft of drawing must be precise.

In order to draw in an accurate way, we need to understand what we are looking at, and to remember that we draw what we see and NOT what we know.


When drawing in perspective (a set of guidelines for drawing in a realistic way), objects are subject to foreshortening.

In the following example, we know that the top part of a candle is round (circle), but when we draw what we see (when drawing a side view), the top part of the candle is actually elliptical:

Opposite phenomenon occurs when looking from above. The candle’s long cylindrical body becomes shorter due to foreshortening:


In perspective, objects that are in front of the observer will look smaller as they are farther away.

Because they are in front of the observer, they will keep the ratio between width and height, meaning there will be no distortion, the object will look the same only smaller.

On the other hand, objects or surfaces along the line of sight will be distorted (meaning, foreshortened).

The reason is the observer angle of sight. The more a surface is in the direction of our sight, the shorter it will be.

To get a deeper understanding on foreshortening, read my guide on how to draw objects from imagination.

How to draw accurately:

Drawing is done in a two-dimensional way, on a flat paper. We disregard the third dimension, which is depth, and look at objects in a 2D way: width, height and angles.

Use your pencil to see the angle of any line you choose to draw.

Do the the same for complex drawings, like portraits.

In the next example, I paid attention the the angle of the eyes.

There are many techniques to draw accurately.

In my guide on how to draw accurately from observation, you can learn the techniques I teach my students, which help them produce super accurate drawings.


When two people look at an object from a different angle, they will draw it differently. The same happens with our eyes. Each eye looks at an object from a different angle. To draw accurately, close one eye when you are using a pencil to measure its dimensions and angles.

Look at some coloring pages on your screen and try to reproduce them.

Drawing the form (structure) accurately, is the most important part of realistic drawing.


Learning to draw accurately from observation is crucial for drawing realism.

It will give you the freedom to draw any subject or style.

After you master drawing anything in proportion, you can deal with the other factors of drawing realism.

Understanding brightness values is essential, and I will cover it next.

Realistic pencil drawing of a mink

Brightness Values

What are brightness values?

Brightness values or values are how light or dark any area of the drawing is.

Brightness values ​​play a crucial role in creating the illusion of depth and three-dimensional forms on a two-dimensional surface.

What is pencil drawing?

Pencil drawing, at its most basic form is putting graphite particles on paper.

To do that, we use pencils.

Pencils come in different hardness levels. Hard pencils will only put a little amount of graphite particles on a paper, resulting in a lighter/brighter value (H levels for hardness).

On the other hand, soft pencils will put a big amount of graphite on a paper, which result in a darker value (B levels for blackness).

How to use a pencil?

For any type of pencil, the amount of pressure applied while drawing determines the brightness value. More pressure will create a darker value and less pressure will create a lighter value.

It is recommended to use a number of drawing pencils with different darkness levels for different brightness values.

Sharp pencils are suitable for small details. For smooth transitions, sometimes, it is useful to use non-sharp pencils.

For a list of materials that I use for drawing, visit my essential pencil-drawing supply review.

How to practice?

Know your tools! Practice on creating gradual transitions in brightness values for each pencil grade you use.

That will help you determine how much pressure to use for each different brightness value and how dark or light you can go with each pencil grade:

Brightness values can be altered using a kneaded eraser.

By gently tapping on a drawing surface, the kneaded eraser will collect graphite particles and therefore result in a lighter value.

How to determine brightness values?

Observation is the key to identifying the brightness values ​​of any object or image.

Each part of the drawing should be examined to see if it is darker or lighter than the object you are trying to draw and then corrected accordingly.

In addition, it is important to pay attention to the range and variety between the darkest areas and the brightest:

  • If the range or difference between dark and light areas is small, the drawing may appear flat.
  • When the range between dark and bright areas is large, the drawing will be noticeable and will have volume and depth.

In other words, there should be enough contrast between dark and bright parts of the drawing in order for it to look rich and intense.


Sometimes when looking at a complex object, especially with colors (or texture), it is hard to see how dark or light each area is.

To solve this problem, squint while observing, in order to lose focus.

When both eyes are partly closed you can focus on brightness values and disregard other distractions.


Try drawing your hand. Start by marking the drawing paper, so you can always put your hand back at the same place.

Unless you are using a table lamp, difference in brightness values will be subtle and therefore, it is a great practice to master values.

Arguably, the hardest form of drawing is portraiture.

It is critical to be accurate both in drawing the form AND in brightness values.

Portrait pencil drawing, Alin


As opposed to comics drawing that is characterized by contour lines, which surround the figure, in realistic drawing with a pencil (or in any other way), there are no lines at all.

The edge of an object is where its shape or surface ends. It can end in a sharp way or in a soft way, but it is not a line!

Some objects, like fur or cloth, will have soft edges while other objects, like rocks or furniture will have hard edges.

Edges vs outlines

To draw a soft edge is to create a gradual transition (gradient) in brightness values, from dark to light.

Depending on climate conditions and distance, far away objects might have soft edges.


Use lines only as guidelines to draw an accurate form. Draw them lightly, so they are easy to erase if needed.

How to draw soft edges:

There are many ways to draw soft edges (gradient from dark to light), depending on the effect you would like to achieve.

Hereby, three recommended ways:

Methods to draw soft edges

If you are not around your drawing equipment, you can always use a dry paper (like paper towel) or cloth to smooth edges.

Soft edges with toilet paper


It is not recommended smudging a pencil drawing using one’s finger. It can transfer body oils or sweat to the paper sheet.

Using soft edges for far away objects, will create a sense of depth.

Pencil drawing example:

Soft edges for far object to add depth

Shadows and reflections:

In many cases, shadows and reflections will have soft (or less defined) edges.

Less defined edges for reflections


When drawing with a pencil, it is important to pay attention to brightness values (how dark or light each area is) and edges (how each area or surface ends, either with a soft edge or a hard edge).

In addition, pay attention to transitions.

On a certain surface, areas, which are closer to a light source, will be lighter and areas farther away from the light source will be darker, meaning the surface will have a gradual transition in values.

Therefore, it is important to see the brightness values of a particular surface compared to other surfaces, but also the transitions of values ​​within the surface itself.

Pencil drawing example:

Portrait pencil drawing, Sharon

In the next example, I used transitions in brightness values to draw the folds in the neck area.

Rhinoceros pencil drawing


Every part of each drawing will have transitions. An area with no transitions will look flat and unnatural.

Drawing Tips

Where to start drawing?

If you are right-handed, start drawing from the upper left part of a paper sheet and gradually move to the lower right.

For left-handed artists, it is recommended to start at the upper right part of the paper.

In this way, the palm can rest on the blank surface of the drawing-paper and not smear what has already been drawn.

Drawing from left to right

Where to put the light source?

If you are right-handed, place the lighting on the left side, so that the palm will not block the source of light, and you can see little details while drawing.

If you are left-handed, place the lighting on the right side.

Wildebeest pencil drawing

How to hold a pencil?

By using the thumb, you can move the pencil body upwards and use it as a measuring device.

When releasing the thumb, the pencil will be back in place for drawing:

How to avoid smearing?

In order to avoid smearing the drawing or transfer body oils or sweat to a drawing paper, it is advisable to place a blank sheet of paper under the drawing hand, so that the palm is not placed on the drawing-paper.

Another option is to use a transparent paper sheet under the drawing hand, that way smearing is avoided and the drawing can be seen.

How to use your drawing equipment?

It is best not to press hard when drawing in order not to damage the paper sheet you are drawing on.

Draw as if you are using a paintbrush, softly and gently. You will get smooth results, and you do not need to use smoothing tools.

Use thick paper for your artworks, it is more durable. Thin paper sheets are great for practice.

I prefer paper with at least 150 g/m thickness, ideally 180 g/m or more:

Do not lean hard on paper (with any hand) when drawing, to avoid dents.

How to use a grid?

The center of a reference image is the point where the two diagonals meet.

After finding the midpoint, draw a horizontal line and a vertical line in order to divide the image into four rectangles.

If an image is large and complex, you can divide each rectangle repeatedly to have more grid lines.

Next step is creating a grid for your drawing paper, which is the same process of finding the midpoint and creating vertical and horizontal lines.

Remember that the ratio between the width and height of your drawing paper should be exactly like the reference image. You can always crop the reference image to fit the ratio of the drawing paper.

Now it is possible to draw inside each rectangle separately. Consequently, the drawing process becomes easier and more precise.

When drawing grid lines, do it gently, so they are easy to erase later!

While I rarely use grid lines when drawing, for commission drawings, especially with limited time, I use grid lines for efficiency and speed.

Commission drawing process:

I start by drawing the form accurately.

Then I pay attention to the other 3 factors (brightness values, edges & transitions).

I am right-handed, so I draw from left to right and from top to bottom:

For more tips, check out my fine art painters gallery for exclusive painting tips by professional painters.

Which paper size to use?

Realistic drawing is time-consuming.

A drawing of an animal or a portrait, on an A4 paper sheet, can last 15-40 hours.

Therefore, I do not recommend drawing on a large paper sheet.

Depending on the project, I use these paper sizes: A5 (small), A4 (medium) and A3 (large).

How to draw straight borders?

When using just part of a paper for drawing, it is useful to border it with masking tape.

When the drawing is ready, remove the masking tape, and you will have a straight border.

Pen Drawing

While there are no lines in nature or in realistic pencil drawing, pen drawing is characterized by drawing lines.

Drawing using lines

It is recommended to use a technical pen (fineliner) for drawing.

For recommended pen brands to use, visit my review on drawing pens for artists.

A pen has a fixed brightness value!

The way to create the illusion of different brightness values ​​when drawing with a pen is to create more lines in the same area for a darker value and fewer lines for a lighter value.

Brightness values using lines

If you like drawing with pens, you might like my tutorials on how to draw trees and how to draw flowers.


Since all materials are made of molecules, they will never be one hundred percent smooth.

Light travels as a wave, therefore shadows will not be completely sharp.

For these reasons, there are no lines in nature!

When drawing with pencils, it is all about transitions in brightness values and different types of edges.

That said, in art, it is possible to create realistic looking drawings, using only lines, by creating the illusion of transitions, brightness values and edges.

For an in-depth article about drawing and painting realism, visit The 8 Key Factors for Painting Realism.

To understand and add depth when drawing, visit my guide for creating the illusion of depth in art, it includes 15 proven ways to draw depth, with many examples!

While it is convenient to draw from images, I recommend practicing drawing from direct observation. Read my still life composition-drawing tutorial to see how to plan your composition.

20 top sketching tips to help elevate your skills

Gathering a smogasboard of sketching tips could empower a transformation in your creativity. As most creatives know, the fear of the blank page can be all too real, with even rough sketches feeling out of reach without some guidance. To help you along the way, we’ve collected some expert sketching tips from a wealth of seasoned artists.

You’ll discover all the steps you need to begin on this page, but if you’re already sketching regularly you can jump to page 2 to understand how to build on your existing skills. You may need technical pointers, or just ways to get inspired. Either way, we’re sure to have just the thing to help you.

So prepare your sketchbook and pencils (see our guide to the best pencils and the best sketchbooks if you need new ones), and get ready to learn about sketching.

Click the icons in the top right of the pictures to enlarge them.

01. Know your pencils

There’s a big difference between 4B and 4H

Having the right pencil to begin drawing your pencil sketch is one of the most essential sketching tips. The hardness of the graphite is indicated on the side of the pencil: ‘B’ pencils are softer, ‘H’ are harder, and ‘HB’ sits in the middle – there’s a big difference between a 4H and a 4B. “I recommend starting somewhere on the H scale as a foundation and then finishing with the darker B scale,” says travelling convention artist Tim Von Rueden.

When you’re learning how to draw, it’s also worth considering using mechanical pencils alongside traditional ones. “Mechanical pencils are usually better suited for precision, while traditional pencils are great for laying down large areas of texture,” says Von Rueden. “Keep in mind that most mechanical pencils come with HB pre-inserted, which gives you only the middle range to work with.”

See the best mechanical pencils here.

02. Take control of your pencil

Tripod (top) and extended tripod (bottom) grips

“If you position your hand closer to the end of the pencil, you have more control and precision, but heavier strokes (darker markings),” says illustrator Sylwia Bomba. “Gripping further up the pencil will give you less control and precision, but lighter strokes (lighter markings).” 

For more advice, read our article on how to hold a pencil correctly. 

03. Try different mark-making methods

There are many ways to create form within your sketches

There are plenty of sketching tips and techniques to help you achieve different styles and effects. Above are some examples demonstrating different ways to create form and depth. “It’s important to experiment and find what works best for you, to not only complement but enhance your style,” explains Von Rueden. “While I prefer smoother value transitions with the pencil strokes blending in against a thin outline, you may be more partial to cross-hatching against a bold outline.”

04. Vary your lines

Shifts in the width and darkness of your lines will create interest

Use varied lines, says illustrator Rovina Cai. “Not all lines are equal. Subtle shifts in the width and darkness of your lines will create a dynamic, visually interesting drawing. Controlling the kind of mark you put down can be tricky in the beginning, but with practice you will be able to create a variety of marks that work together to make a cohesive image. Experiment with different pencil grades (from 3H to 6B) and with holding the pencil at different angles.”

05. Avoid smudging

Use an extra piece of paper under your hand to avoid smudging your work

“When shading, use an extra piece of paper underneath your hand,” advises artist Brun Croes. “This will minimise the amount your hand smudges your pencil lines. If you’re right-handed, start shading from left to right; if you’re left-handed, start at the right and move to the left.

“There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to make a clean-looking drawing that loses its brilliance and value thanks to smudging. Instead, use smudging to your advantage every now and then to smooth out shading. You can do this with several tools. I use a simple piece of tissue paper to get the job done.”

06. Control your edges

Create interest by combining different types of edges

Von Rueden uses four different sketching techniques to define object edges: thin, hard, lost and undefined. A thin and hard edges give objects solid borders. Lost edges occur when the object and background values start to blend together, so the edge is implied rather than defined. Undefined edges need to be deciphered by the viewer themselves. He suggests exploring all four types, and combining them to create interest within your work.

07. Use a blending stick for smooth shading

Create subtle shading by smudging large areas of soft charcoal (Image credit: Marisa Lewis)

It is possible to create smooth, blended effects using pencils – for example, to capture a sky. “Sometimes it’s preferable for your shading to be less sketchy and more smooth and subtle,” says artist Marisa Lewis. “Pencil lines don’t blend perfectly unless you’re very careful.” 

To avoid your initial scribbles showing through, Lewis uses a particular technique – see more art techniques here. “Use spare paper to doodle a big swatch of soft graphite or charcoal pencil, then use a large blending stick to pick up the soft dust to use for your image,” she explains. “Keep using the blending stick and adding more scribbles as you need more graphite.” You can then build up darker areas to create definition.

08. Apply the 70/30 rule

Keep your main focal point within around 30 per cent of the image

One of the most vital sketching tips is that less can be more! The 70/30 rule helps you create effective compositions. The idea is that 30 per cent of your sketch is filled with the main focus and detail, and the remaining 70 per cent is filler. This less interesting area helps direct attention towards the main subject of your artwork. You can see the rule in action in Von Rueden’s sketch above.

09. Make it (almost) symmetrical

Keep a nice contrast going between a finished look and a more of a sketchy feel

“I like symmetrical drawings, but they often look boring all too quickly,” says Croes. “A good way to prevent this is to add some subtle changes and only keep the general lines symmetrical instead of mirroring every small part. Keeping some elements asymmetrical helps to avoid boring repetition.”

10. Differentiate different textures

Consider if the material is rough or smooth, and if it absorbs or reflects light

To show different textures within your sketch, you need to adjust your technique. “You wouldn’t want to shade skin the same way you shade metallics or fur. They each have unique properties and capturing that will elevate your drawings because of the accuracy depicted,” says Von Rueden. 

A good starting point is to consider if the texture is rough or smooth, and then if it absorb or reflects light. “A reflecting and smooth texture, such as chrome, usually has higher contrasts and prominent highlights, while an absorbing and rough texture like cotton has low contrasts and little to no highlight present,” he continues.

Next page: Advanced sketching tips to take your drawings to a new level

How to use Apple Pencil (1st & 2nd Generation): The ultimate guide

Source: iMore

As of March 2019, all current iPad models support Apple Pencil with either the first or second-generation, and your iPad truly can’t be the best iPad if you don’t use an Apple Pencil. Whether you’re starting with an entry-level iPad, taking your iPad Air everywhere you go, running professional programs on an iPad Pro, or scrolling through Apple News+ on an iPad mini, you can use one of the two generations of Apple Pencil. It has full pressure sensitivity for dynamic line thickness, tilt control for shading, palm rejection for full sketching, and works as a simple stylus if you don’t want to touch your screen.

To take full advantage of everything you can do with the Apple Pencil, you’ll need to know how to use some of the fun little extras. Here’s our complete guide to Apple Pencil, whether you’re an artist, note-taker, or professional graphics editor. Here’s how to use Apple Pencil to its fullest abilities!

Jump to:

Meet the Apple Pencil

If you’ve used a stylus on the iPad or other graphics tablets previously, you’ll find some aspects of the Apple Pencil familiar — and others very different. Here’s a crash course in all things Apple Pencil for you!

There are two different versions of the Apple Pencil: Apple Pencil (1st Generation) and Apple Pencil (2nd Generation). If you think their names are too similar, consider that they are both white and have nearly the same dimensions. But it’s important to know the difference between both generations because neither are supported on all iPad devices. The second-generation Apple pencil only works on certain iPad Pro models (and the first-generation Apple Pencil does not work on newer iPad Pro models).

Apple Pencil (1st Generation) works with:

  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • 10.2-inch iPad (7th generation)
  • 10.2-inch iPad (8th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
Apple Pencil (1st Generation)

While it may not be quite as fancy as the newer version, it’s still the only version of Apple Pencil you can use with most iPads. If you want to experiment with drawing apps or just have an amazing stylus to use with your iPad, there’s no reason not to pick one up.

Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) works with:

  • iPad Air 4
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)

With a much more elegant magnetic charging solution, better pressure sensitivity, and overall better performance, the Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) is the ultimate stylus for the iPad Pro and iPad Air 4.

How to tell the difference

Source: iMore

As mentioned in our Apple Pencil (2nd generation) review, you can typically notice the difference between the two generations of Apple Pencil pretty quickly. If you’re concerned about whether you’re selecting the correct generation Apple Pencil, the most distinguishing difference is that the 1st-generation Apple Pencil has a silver band around the top. Apple Pencil (2nd-Generation) does not.

There are some additional distinguishing features that aren’t as easily identified in pictures, but in real life, they are more obvious. Apple Pencil (2nd-Generation) has a matte finish and one flat side. Apple Pencil (1st-Generation) has a smooth, shiny finish and is completely round. The second-generation Apple Pencil has the word “Apple Pencil” written on its flat side. The first-generation Apple Pencil has a silver band. The first-generation Apple Pencil has a removable cap that exposes a Lightning connector, which is used to pair and charge the Pencil. The second-generation Apple Pencil pairs and charges magnetically and so doesn’t use a Lightning connector (It’s also about a half-inch shorter because of this).

Before you get started, make sure you know which generation Apple Pencil you have. Where there are differences in the two (like pairing and charging), we’ve included sections for each generation separately.

How to pair your Apple Pencil with your iPad

Before you can start using your Apple Pencil, you’ll need to pair it to your iPad or iPad Pro. The first and second-generation iPad Pro pair differently, so be sure you know your generation before starting.

How to pair the first-generation Apple Pencil

  1. Make sure the iPad you want to use is on and unlocked, then uncap your Pencil.
  2. Plug in your Pencil to the new iPad.
  3. When the Bluetooth Pairing Request appears, tap Pair.

How to pair the second-generation Apple Pencil to iPad Pro

  1. Make sure the iPad you want to use is on and unlocked.
  2. Place the Apple Pencil on the wide side of the iPad Pro with the magnetic strip.
  3. Tap Pair when the Bluetooth Pairing Request appears.

Source: iMore

You can now use your Apple Pencil with your iPad or iPad Pro! If you want to move your Pencil to a different iPad, follow the same steps above with the new one.

How to check the battery level on Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil doesn’t have a physical charge indicator or LED light on its cylindrical body; instead, you can check its current battery life on your currently-paired iPad or iPad Pro.

How to check the battery level of the first-generation Apple Pencil

  1. Swipe down from the iPad’s top bezel to invoke Notification Center (or turn the iPad on to view the Lock screen).
  2. Swipe right to see the Widgets screen.
  3. View the Batteries section.

    Source: iMore
  4. If you don’t see the Batteries section, you may first need to tap Edit at the bottom of the Widgets area and tap the green Plus button next to Batteries to add it as an active widget.

    Source: iMore

How to check the battery level of the second-generation Apple Pencil

Source: iMore

The second-generation Apple Pencil is even easier to check. You can follow the steps above for the first-generation Apple Pencil, or you can simply place it on the magnetic charging strip on the iPad Pro (or remove and then place it back down again if it’s currently connected to the magnetic charging strip). A notification will pop up, telling you your current battery percentage.

How to charge Apple Pencil

When your Apple Pencil hits 20%, 10%, and 5%, respectively, it will give you a charge warning. (You can also check your current battery status at any time by bringing up Notification Center.)

The first and second-generation Apple Pencil charge differently, so make sure you know your generation before reading on.

How to charge the first-generation Apple Pencil using your iPad Pro

  1. Remove the cap from your Apple Pencil. (If you’re worried about losing the cap during the charging process, you can magnetically attach it to the iPad next to the Home button.)
  2. Insert your Apple Pencil’s Lightning connector into your iPad or iPad Pro’s Lightning port.

    Source: iMore

How to charge the first-generation Apple Pencil using the Lightning adapter

  1. Remove the cap from the back of your Apple Pencil.
  2. Insert your Apple Pencil’s Lightning connector into the Lightning adapter.
  3. Plug the Lightning adapter into your Lightning cable.

    Source: iMore

How to charge the second-generation Apple Pencil

Source: iMore

For the second-generation Apple Pencil, Apple made it much easier to charge. There’s only one way.

Just Place the Apple Pencil on the wide side of the iPad Pro with the magnetic strip.

The Apple Pencil’s quick-charge technology provides users up to 30 minutes of use after a 15-second charge, but we generally recommend charging your Pencil for at least 5-10 minutes — especially if it’s under 20% — to avoid having to constantly recharge.

How to un-pair your Apple Pencil from your iPad

Your Apple Pencil will automatically un-pair from your iPad or iPad Pro if you pair it with a different iPad or you pair a different Apple Pencil with your iPad. You can also manually un-pair if the need arises.

  1. Launch the Settings app from your iPad’s Home screen.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Tap the Info button to the right of Apple Pencil under My Devices.
  4. Tap on Forget.

    Source: iMore

To re-pair, the first-generation Apple Pencil, simply plug it back into the Lightning port on your iPad or iPad Pro.

To re-pair, the second-generation Apple Pencil, simply place it on the magnetic charging strip of your iPad Pro (2018) again.

How to use Apple Pencil with your iPad or iPad Pro

Source: iMore

You don’t have to engage a special menu or complicated per-app pairing process to use Apple Pencil: Once you’ve paired it to your iPad or iPad Pro, you’re ready to draw, write, sketch, or navigate in any app you choose — just put the Pencil’s pen nib to the iPad’s glass screen and get to it!

The Apple Pencil doesn’t have an eraser — but it is fully pressure- and tilt-sensitive

Unlike Wacom’s patented styluses, the Apple Pencil doesn’t offer an eraser nib: All your primary interactions with the iPad’s screen happen through the Pencil’s white nib on the first-generation Apple Pencil and with the white nib or a double-tap on the flat side of the second-generation Apple Pencil.

That’s not to say the Pencil doesn’t have a few tricks up its sleeve, however: It’s completely pressure- and tilt-sensitive, which means you can press harder against the screen to get a thicker line or tilt your Pencil against the screen to virtually “shade” in a drawing or draw calligraphic letters.

Some apps, like Astropad Studio, even offer special combination Pencil-and-touch gestures that have the same uses as function buttons.

How to change functions on the second-generation Apple Pencil

The second-generation Apple Pencil has the added benefit of one additional function, which is accessed by double-tapping the flat side of the Apple Pencil near the nib. In most circumstances, this will trigger the eraser feature of an app.

App developers can assign a different action to the double-tap, like selecting a different artist tool, but so far, we’ve only seen it used to trigger the eraser in most apps other than the Notes app.

In the Notes app, you can change the double-tap function to trigger switching between the current and last used tool showing the color palate, switching between the current tool and the eraser, and turning off the Apple Pencil 2.

Here’s how to switch the double-tap function on Apple Pencil 2

You can use the Apple Pencil to navigate your iPad or iPad Pro

Source: iMore

Whether you have RSI issues or just like being able to use a stylus on your tablet in-between drawing or writing sessions, the Apple Pencil supports basic navigational tapping and swiping within iOS. Because multitouch gestures and the Pencil are recognized separately by the iPad’s operating system, it may not be supported for advanced gesture-based navigation (like multi-finger operations) in separate apps.

There’s an upside to that, however: In certain apps (as in the aforementioned Astropad Studio), you can even use your fingers and Apple Pencil simultaneously. Notes is also a great example of this: Touch two fingers down when drawing in Notes, and you’ll get a ruler you can use to draw straight lines with the Apple Pencil.

The Apple Pencil can be used for just about everything

Even if you’re barely familiar with sketching, handwriting, or calligraphy, you can do a lot with the Pencil and your iPad. Here are just some of the awesome things you can do:

Some additional tips and tricks to using Apple Pencil

You’ve learned the basics; now check out a few additional tips and tricks to getting the most out of your Apple Pencil (first and second-generation).

Best Apple Pencil Accessories

The Apple Pencil is quickly becoming a necessary companion for iPad users, but an often-lost one. Between its slim cylindrical white body and the removable magnetic cap, it’s not hard to lose one or the other to couch cushions or forgetful minds. On the bright side, there are dozens of great Apple Pencil accessories to help keep your Pencil (and cap) safe, secure, and ready to sketch. Here are a few of my favorites!

Apple Pencil not working? Here’s the fix!

More often than not, the Apple Pencil just works. But if you’re having an issue with Apple’s stylus not responding in apps, disappearing from Notification Center’s battery menu, or refusing to turn on, we’ve got some simple tips to help you troubleshoot it back to health.

Troubleshooting Apple Pencil

Other Apple Pencil questions?

Let me know below!


We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

Pastel Pencil Guide — The Colin Bradley School of Art

When I discovered pastel pencils some 30 years ago, there were only two brands around; CarbOthello and Conte as far as I was aware. I started using CarbOthello by Schwan-Stabilo and still find them to be a very good pencil. There were a few draw backs with these pencils after some years of using them. I found that in order to get the brightness I wanted, I would have to spray and fix the picture, then re-apply the pastel again on top. The pencil lead would also tend to crack when I was sharpening them. STABILO have since improved the product and I find I do use them occasionally now.I was approached in the early 90s by Faber-Castell who had launched their own range of Pastel Pencils with the help of a former CarbOthello employee. He knew the flaws to the CarbOthello pencils and worked with Faber-Castell to create a superior product – the Pitt Pastel Pencil.

The pigmentation in these pencils was much higher, which meant I never fixed my work from that point on (It is possible to fix the pastel pencils, though I found that it does dull the work down so I choose not to do this). They also were much more durable which meant my pencils lasted longer and weren’t so prone to breaking when being sharpened.I have used these ever since and highly recommend them as a product. I would also say that if you have other brands then this is also good because you will have a big range to draw from. I choose to mostly use the Faber-Castell brand because when I’m teaching as I can’t expect student’s to have pencils from all the various ranges.A quick word on Derwent, if you already have them then they are worth keeping and using. If you haven’t bought them yet then I would steer clear. They are no where near as durable and break very easily. This is from my own experience and many of my student’s have said the same.Very recently in my demonstrations, I started using the Cretacolor range of pastel pencils with the Faber-Castell. I have found the Cretacolor range are softer and mix very nicely with the Faber-Castell Pitt range.There are also a lot more colours in the Cretacolor range (72) compared to Faber-Castell (60). This means there are some great in between colours to choose from. Faber remains to be my favourite and most used brand.

Caran D’AcheReleased in 2017, the Caran D’Ache Pastel Pencil is a fairly new product. Even though they are more expensive, they are a very good product and I am finding that I draw from their range more often now.This is because their pigments are bright (they are a softer pastel pencil) and there are a huge 84 colours to choose from. I still use Faber-Castell Pitt as the base colours for my work then dip into the Caran D’Ache range to give the pictures a little extra pop. Especially if there’s a colour I’m trying to find that they have.

Sharpening Pastel Pencils

Learning to Draw with Graphite Pencil

When learning to draw with graphite pencil, knowing the fundamentals is key. Below, Lee Hammond shares expert insight into the basics, excerpted from her book, Lee Hammond’s All New Big Book of Drawing.

Working with Graphite Pencil

Graphite has always been my go-to medium for art. It was my first love when I started learning basic drawing techniques. Because I am self-taught, it was the easiest medium to master. It’s also the most portable and clean medium, so it was convenient when I was raising my children.

In the 80s, I developed the “Lee Hammond Blended Pencil Technique” and started teaching it to small groups. Like me, the students found graphite to be the easiest medium to control. By the 90s I was hooked — and writing books about it. This technique has changed the way people draw.

My book will make you proficient in graphite drawing. Even if you have previous experience, the projects will give you additional skill and understanding. I hope the illustrations will inspire you and prove that graphite pencil is not just a tool to be used for preliminary sketching, but is a fine-art medium in its own right.

Swan by Lee Hammond, graphite on smooth bristol

Graphite Tools

You cannot create quality artwork with inadequate art materials. My blended pencil technique requires the right tools to create the look. Don’t scrimp in this department or your art will suffer.

I’ve seen many of my students blame themselves for being untalented when it was their supplies keeping them from doing a good job. The following tools will help you be a better artist.


Mechanical pencils are great for fine lines and details, and you never have to sharpen them. While a mechanical pencil is my pencil of choice, the lead is the most important part. 2B is a soft lead that offers a smooth blend. You can also use 4B or 6B with similar results.

Smooth Bristol Board or Paper (Two-Ply or Heavier)

I like a paper that is very smooth (plate finish) and can withstand a good deal of rubbing, scratching and erasing.

Blending Tortillions and Stumps

Both are used for blending the graphite pencil. Tortillions are spiralwound pieces of paper that are good for small areas. Stumps are paper pressed and formed into the shape of a pencil. They are pointed on both ends and work well for blending large areas.

Kneaded Erasers

These erasers resemble modeling clay and are essential to a blended pencil drawing. They gently lift highlights without ruining the surface of the paper.

Stick Erasers

These erasers resemble mechanical pencils with a click mechanism for advancing them. The erasers in these are made of vinyl, and they erase pencil marks cleanly. The small point of the vinyl eraser can remove precise lines and details within your drawing. They come in a variety of sizes from large tips to micro.

Workable Spray Fixative

This is a spray used to seal your work and to prevent it from smudging when you are finished. Workable means you can spray down an area and continue to draw on top of it. However, I don’t recommend it for the techniques I share in my book. It will change the smoothness of the paper and interrupt your blending.


Drawing Board

It’s important to tilt your work toward you as you draw. This prevents the distortion that occurs when working flat. Secure your paper and reference photo with a clip.



Rulers help you measure and graph your drawings.

Acetate Report Covers

Use these covers for making graphed overlays to place on top of your photo references. They’ll help you accurately grid your drawings.

Reference Photos

These are valuable sources of practice material. Collect magazine pictures and categorize them into files for quick reference.

A word of warning: Don’t copy the exact image; just use the images for practice. Many photographers hold the copyright for their work, and any duplication without their express permission is illegal. You can avoid this issue altogether when you use your own reference photos.

Blending Graphite

Back in the 80s when I first started teaching my Lee Hammond Blended Pencil Technique, graphite drawing had a looser, more impressionistic approach. Smooth blending was rarely seen. Over the years, this smooth and realistic approach has been embraced by thousands of people and become one of the most popular styles of drawing.

To create this look, blend your graphite until it appears smooth. It is not as easy as it looks, but with practice you can master this technique.

The following examples show what your blending should and should not look like. The smoothness of your blend will depend on how smoothly you apply the pencil.

It’s important to place your pencil lines down slowly and evenly at the very beginning. If your pencil lines are put down in a fast, scribble-like application, no amount of blending will make them look smooth.

Don’t Scribble

No amount of blending will ever be able to make this scribbled application look smooth.

Smooth Lines from Dark to Light

This is what your pencil lines should look like before you begin blending. The individual lines are barely visible. Work from dark to light, going up and down and back and forth at the same time to help the liens fill in as you go.

Use a Light Touch for Blending

Apply the tortillion in the same up-and-down, back-and-forth application as you applied your graphite pencil. Do not press down hard as you blend — this will just rough up the paper and make it look choppy. The lighter your touch, the smoother your blend will be.

Pro tip: When blending, always hold your stump or tortillion at a slight angle to get the best results for a smooth finish.

The 5 Elements of Shading

In order to draw realistically, you must first understand how lighting affects form. There are five elements of shading essential to depicting an object’s form realistically.

Without a solid foundation of these elements, everything you draw will look flat. Your subject will look three-dimensional only when the effects of light and shadow are properly placed. Each of the five elements of shading can be seen on the sphere below.

1.Cast Shadow

This is the shadow the object you are drawing casts onto a surrounding surface. It is often the darkest part of your drawing because this is where the light is completely blocked. It should be drawn in as close to black as possible. As it comes out from the object, it will start to appear lighter. It is No. 1 on the value scale.

2. Shadow Edge

This is also referred to as a turning shadow. It is not the edge of the object, but rather the shadow on the object that shows it’s a rounded surface. This is a dark gray tone that corresponds with No. 2 on the value scale. You will find this shadow where an object has protruded and the surface recedes to the other side.

3. Halftone

This is the true color of your object, unaffected by the light. It has no shadow and is No. 3 on the value scale.

4. Reflected Light

Look at the sphere above, and you’ll see a subtle rim of light along the edge of the shadow side. This is the light bouncing up from the surface and coming from behind. It is the element most often left out of a drawing. Yet without it separating the shadow edge and cast shadow, your object will look flat.

Be sure to study your reference for the reflected light — it is always seen on the edges, rims or lip of an object. While it is lighter than the shadows, it is still seen on the darker side of the object. It should never be left too white, or it will not look realistic. It is a light gray and corresponds with No. 4 on the value scale.

5. Full Light

This is the part of your subject that receives the most light. It’s No. 5 on the value scale, where the tones fade gently into the white of the paper.

Let Lee show you how to turn a photo reference into a gorgeous graphite pencil drawing in this free video demonstration!

Matching Values

It is important to match the values of your subject matter. I always tell my students to analyze and replicate the tones. However, there are times it may be difficult to judge the values in your reference photo and determine whether you are close.

To compare your tones, use this little trick: Take two small pieces of white paper and punch a hole in each. Place one over an area of your reference photo.

Place the other over the same area of your drawing. Look at both of the holes and see if the tones match. By isolating the tones within these holes, you can then compare them to white and see how dark they really are.

In this example, you can see how much darker the drawing of the bird needs to be. Study the bird more closely — you will see all five elements of shading.

Here are some helpful tips for blending, shading and achieving even tones:

  • Contrast. Don’t be afraid to get dark in the shadows. Contrast is very important for creating the look of realism.
  • Application of Tone. Always apply your pencil lines according to the contours of your subject. Blend using long vertical strokes, lightening your touch as you get into the light (like a value scale). You cannot control the fade into the light with cross-blending.
  • Edges. Anytime you have to use a line to describe the shape of something, you must get rid of the look of outlining. The darkness of a drawn line belongs to one surface or another. Fade the dark out into the surface it belongs to and create the look of an edge, not an outline.
  • Uneven Tones. Correct uneven tones with a kneaded eraser. Form the eraser into a point and gently “draw” the irregularity out. Use a very light touch. This is called “drawing in reverse.” You can also crisp up edges this way.

Backgrounds and Edges

Graphite is a foundation medium. The gray tones it produces provide you a means for fully exploring and understanding the importance of value and the five elements of shading we have touched on earlier.

One way you can use value to achieve a better sense of depth in your drawings is to add tone to the background. Notice below how the dark backgrounds affect the look of the shapes. If these shapes were set against white backgrounds, their edges would look much different.

When it comes to drawing shapes, there are two distinct types of edges: hard and soft. Hard edges are found where two surfaces come together or overlap. They are quite defined as their tones create the look of an edge by stopping abruptly. Soft edges can be found in areas when an object bends gently. They have a gradual change in tone.

Background Makes a Difference

When the sphere is placed in front of a toned background, its edges look different compared to the previous sphere with the white background. When drawing, always ask yourself if you are blending light over dark or dark over light.

Hard and Soft Edges

This cone has two distinct types of edges: hard and soft. The soft edge can be found in the curve of the shadow on the rounded surface of the cone. Hard edges are created were the cone overlaps the background and touches the table.

Keep Learning

Now that you have the basics of graphite pencil covered, start practicing! Lee Hammond’s All New Big Book of Drawing is a culmination of the artist’s 40 years of teaching, featuring more the 80 step-by-step projects and tips for both drawing with graphite pencil and colored pencil. Onward, artists!


How to use an Apple Pencil? | 2021 Guide

I have been an avid iPad user and I have always felt the experience was near perfect. I didn’t realize how much better it could be with the Apple Pencil. I’ve had my doubts regarding the device but boy was it a game-changer. The reason I bought one because I constantly take notes for my other articles and I sketch a lot in my free time. Check out my guide on “How to use an Apple Pencil?” for more details.

I was pleasantly delighted by the experience. Along with helping me take notes and in my sketching sessions, it improved on the way I use my iPad. I love using the Apple Pencil for general navigation too, it’s sleek and slender and feels good in my hands. It is one of the best purchases that I made to improve an already excellent experience with the iPad.  

After having used both generations of Apple Pencils for almost 4 years and having put it through a series of stress tests. We found that:

The process of using an Apple Pencil is easy and convenient. The user has to start by pairing the Apple Pencil to the iPad. Once, this step is completed and the battery is charged; The user can draw, write, sketch or navigate in your iPad. It can be used as a replacement for the user’s finger. The nib essentially functions like a fingertip, but niftier in certain use cases.

Check out the Apple Pencil on Amazon!

How to use an Apple Pencil?

How to connect Apple Pencil

To use your Apple Pencil with your iPad, you’ll have to pair them both together first. Having a compatible version of both products is a requirement. Both versions have different methods of pairing the Apple Pencil to your iPad. 

Pairing 1st gen Apple Pencil 

To pair the first generation of Apple Pencil to your iPad:

  • Remove the cap at the end of the Apple Pencil to reveal the lightning connector at the end. 
  • You have to plug the lightning connector into the iPad you want to pair with.  
  • This will prompt a Bluetooth pairing request, accept it by selecting the ‘Pair’ option. 
Pairing 2nd gen Apple Pencil 

To pair the second generation of Apple Pencil to your iPad: 

  • You need to make sure your iPad is powered on and unlocked. 
  • Place the Apple Pencil on the magnetic stripe on the side of your iPad. 
  • You will be asked to Pair your iPad and your Apple Pencil, accept it to pair them. 

You can pair your Apple Pencil to other compatible iPads the same way.

How to check the Battery level 

Apple Pencils don’t have a battery indicator on them so you have to use your paired iPads to check their battery level. Both generations of Apple Pencils share the same method to check their battery levels. To check them, you have to: 

  • Open the notification centre on your iPad. 
  • Swipe right to the widgets screen. 
  • You can view the charge of your Apple pencil under the batteries section. 

(You need to have the battery widget in use to see it. You can add the battery widget by tapping on the green add button at the end of the widgets screen).

The second generation of Apple Pencil has another method through which you can check its battery life. Placing the Pencil on the magnetic strip of the iPad will pop up a notification displaying the charge left in the Pencil. 

Check out the Apple Pencil on Amazon!

How to charge your Apple Pencil

Both generations of Apple Pencil use tiny batteries to keep them powered and to be connected to your iPad. They also have various special mechanisms like pressure sensitivity which require it to use power. Therefore, you have to charge them to use them. Both generations have different charging mechanisms.  

1st Gen

The first-gen Apple Pencils have lightning connectors. This connector is used to charge the pencil too apart from being used in the pairing process. To charge your first-gen Apple Pencil, follow these steps:

  • Remove the cap to reveal the lightning connector at the end of the pencil. 
  • Plug the lightning connector into your iPad’s lightning port to charge it. You can attach the cap magnetically near the power button in case of risk of losing it. 

Charging using the above method one with risks. Since the pencil is connected to the lightning port on your iPad to charge, you can accidentally break it off. I would recommend you to keep the iPad and the Pencil on a flat surface o make sure it is safe. Or you can check the alternative way to charge your Apple Pencil.

You can also charge your Apple Pencil using the include the lightning adapter that comes with the Pencil. For this method, remove the cap on your Apple Pencil and connect it to the lightning cable adapter. You can now charge it using your iPad’s charger. 

2nd Gen

The second generation of Apple Pencils doesn’t have lightning connector so they rely on getting charged wirelessly. There is only one way but it is easier and more convenient to charge. Just place your Apple Pencil on the magnetic strip of your iPads and they will charge on their own. 

Apple Pencils have quick charge technology, so with a 15-second charge, you can get up to 30 minutes of use from them. Charging them for 5-10 minutes gives extended usage time and saves you the trouble of not needing to charge it every once in a while. 

Check out the Apple Pencil on Amazon!

How to un-pair your Apple Pencil from your iPad

Apple Pencils will automatically unpair from one iPad when you pair them to a different iPad. But if you want to manually unpair them, follow these steps:

  • Open the setting app on your iPad. 
  • Go to Bluetooth. 
  • Tap on the info button near your Apple Pencil under My Devices. 
  • Tap on forget to unpair your Apple Pencil. 

How to use Apple Pencil with your iPad or iPad Pro

Apple Pencil is pressure and tilt-sensitive. This gives it a lot of functionality as you can press harder to draw thicker lines. When taking notes, it is recommended to use the Pencil lightly so that you can avoid the risk of damaging the screen over time.

The pressure sensitivity feature is useful when drawing and sketching, so you don’t have press hard on the screen all the time. You can tilt the Apple Pencil to shade on the screen, the way you would do with a traditional pencil on a paper. You can also use the tilt function to draw calligraphic letters. 

 Apple Pencil also has a double-tap function. It is up to the app developers to decide on what the double-tap function does. This function triggers the eraser in most apps except for the Notes app. The Notes app allows you to change the function to different ones. They are:

  • You can switch between the current and last used tool to show the color palate. 
  • You can switch from the current tool to the eraser. 
  • Or you can use double tap to switch off the pencil. 

Check out the Apple Pencil on Amazon!

You can use the Apple Pencil to navigate your iPad 

You can use your Apple pencil to do most of the tasks you do with your finger including navigation. You can use it in between drawing or writing sessions to open, move through apps and browse your iPad. All the basic navigation controls like tapping, swiping etc., works with the Apple Pencil. 

The only functions that the Apple Pencil doesn’t support are multi-touch or multi-finger gestures. In iOS multi-touch gestures and the Pencil are recognized separately so they don’t work together.

But some app manufacturers can implement to use both your finger and pencil at the same time if they want to.

Astropad studio allows this, you can use both your finder and Pencil at the same time. The Notes also allows this, you can touch two fingers on the screen to get a ruler and you can draw straight lines with the pencil while doing this. 

Some gestures don’t work with the Apple Pencil. Gestures like swiping from the bottom to bring up recent apps and swiping down to bring the notification centre. This helps you to use drawing and sketching apps without accidentally opening them when working close to the edges.  

How to use an Apple Pencil? – Takeaway

Apple Pencil is a simple tool with multiple use cases that make your experience and life easier when using it with an iPad. Creative artists can take full advantage of it and I recommend picking one up.

There are other styluses that you can use, but in my opinion, Apple just does it best. Apple Pencil comes with a soft tip, compared to other styluses on the market.

It includes pressure and tilt-sensitivity to give precise and better control over your task. The use cases are many and I hope this guide helped you to know how to use the Apple Pencil.

Check out the Apple Pencil on Amazon!

Also Read:

Alan Urban is the Editor-in-chief of Stupid Apple Rumours and often proclaims that he’s ” Apple’s number one fan.”
In addition to keeping up with the latest Apple news, he also reviews Apple products and creates user-friendly guides.  When not subjecting Apple Devices to crazy stress tests, he’s usually playing games on Apple Arcade

Instruction manual for colored pencils

Who Said Colored Pencils Are For Kids Only? On the contrary, it is another tool for expressing creative energy.

Collected 7 techniques for drawing with crayons to help you achieve the desired texture and realistic colors in this tutorial. And to make it easier for you to navigate the variety of this tool, at the end of the manual you will find a description of the types of colored pencils. Read, practice and enjoy the process.


You are probably familiar with this technique since childhood: move your pencil forward

and back continuously with equal pressure until you paint over the entire area.


This technique differs from the previous one in that the lines are unidirectional, and the hand will come off the paper. Each line is drawn separately and located

as close as possible to the previous one. Strokes can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal,

but should not touch.


Or double layer. First, you hatch the area using the technique described above,

and then draw the same lines over the already shaded area, and in the opposite

direction. For example, if you applied vertical lines, then now

on top of them

must be applied horizontally. This technique is great for painting shadows.


One of the features of colored pencil drawings is their brilliance.This is due to the wax finish of the crayons. Use a polishing technique to achieve this shiny effect. In fact, this is a “Forward-Backward” technique, which is performed for a long time – until the appearance of shine.


This technique is performed only after polishing – this is how the effect will be most noticeable. Once you’ve achieved a shiny finish, grab your X-ACTO knife and start scraping the background in the right places. With this method, you can create realistic fur when drawing animals.

Oil or alcohol

Use rubbing alcohol or petroleum jelly to mix pigments or create a smudge effect. Using a cotton swab, blot the substance and apply to the pencil lead. Now, kind of wipe it on the paper.

is ready!


Take any item that fits your composition in the picture. It can be shells, pasta, coins. Place an object under a piece of paper and start drawing

right on it.You will see how a three-dimensional drawing appears on the sheet with all the protuberances of the object.

Types of colored pencils

Pigmented core – this is the main difference between pencil types. It is he who determines the hardness or softness of the lead. There is also a difference in the core, which can be based on wax, oil or gum arabic (pencils with such a core are called

watercolors or water-soluble). These factors affect the intensity of the color,

mix and erase ability, and of course at the price.

Wax pencils

Brittle pencils with a lot of rubbish. But they are easy to mix and match with colorless blenders, heaters, and solvents. Professional artists rarely use them, opting for higher quality materials.

Oil-based pencils

Resistant to water and less brittle. Sometimes, there are some

in the lineup

waxes, but there is always more oil. They don’t mix well and are difficult to lay down.

Watercolor pencils

The substance gum arabic, which is in the core of the lead, is activated by water.

These pencils mix well. No wonder they were called “watercolor”.

As you can see, colored pencils are a great tool that can be used not only by children, but also by professional artists and people who just love to draw.

Botanical illustration with colored pencils.Walkthrough

By Ann Swan

A beautifully illustrated practical guide to drawing plants with colored pencils. The author of the book is renowned artist Anne Swan, her works in the genre of botanical illustration are considered among the best.

CHAPTER 1. Materials for work
CHAPTER 2. Acquaintance with the subject of the image
CHAPTER h. Composition and style
CHAPTER 4. Basic pencil drawing techniques
CHAPTER 5.Technique of drawing with colored pencils

CHAPTER 6. Color
CHAPTER 7. Details
CHAPTER 8. Finishing touches
CHAPTER 9. Gallery

Water-soluble and oil-based crayons are gaining popularity among botanical artists for their ease of handling and for the artist’s indulgence in traditional watercolor paints. At the same time, using pencils, you can achieve the same amazing effects as when drawing with paints.Pencils are especially appreciated for their ability to convey small details of plants with high accuracy.

In her book, Anne Swan gives useful tips for drawing with colored pencils, talks in detail about the techniques. You will learn how to do underpainting, layering and buffing. The author will tell you how to choose and mix colors correctly, share interesting techniques with which the work takes on a finished, impeccable look.

To demonstrate how artistic techniques are applied in practice, Anne has included step-by-step drawings in her book.At the end of the book you will find a selection of excellent illustrations by other artists. Among them are students, teachers and professionals of botanical drawing. In this thematic gallery, you can learn new knowledge and find inspiration for independent work.

Pages: 128 (Coated)

Cover type: hardcover, partially varnished, color illustrations, fabric webbing

Weight: 412 g

Dimensions: 270x225x12 mm

Publisher: Mann, Ivanov and Ferber

Automatic Handheld Electric Pencil Sharpener

This portable electric pencil sharpener has a sophisticated design and can be carried with you wherever you go.Battery-powered features ensure ease of use. Suitable for teachers, children, artists, engineers, designers. With this ingenious gadget, everyday life will become safer, more comfortable and more convenient.

  • Black transparent design: transparent material for easy observation, and you can see how many pencil shavings there are so you can clean it up in time.
  • Safe to use: the blade cannot operate when the chip box lid is open, which can protect your fingers from injury.The top cover can be locked or unlocked.
  • Automatic mode and manual mode: Our pencil sharpener offers two modes for you – automatic and manual, you can choose one according to your needs.
  • Suitable for pencils with a diameter of 6-8mm: With a sharp built-in blade, the automatic sharpener can produce a professional fine tip. It is applied to a pencil with a diameter of 6-8 mm, for example HB, 2B, colored lead, etc.D.
  • Battery Powered: 2 AA batteries (not included) do not support USB or adapter charging. If you want to use auto mode, just install 2 AA batteries (not included).
  • Dimensions: 2.76 x 2.45 x 2.45

  • Do not subject the components to strong vibrations, otherwise product damage may result.
  • The batteries must be installed correctly.Reverse polarity may cause batteries to leak corrosive liquids, heat up, or explode.
  • Do not use near flammable gases. Failure to observe this warning may result in an explosion or fire.
  • Be careful not to cut your fingers with the razor when cleaning the sharpener.
  • Do not try to sharpen crayons, chalk, or wax pencils as they can clog the cutter.

How pencils are made. – How it is done, how it works, how it works – LiveJournal

Each of us from an early age, engaging in creativity, or in school lessons, came across such a subject as a pencil.More often than not, people treat it as something ordinary, as a simple and useful thing. But few people thought about how complicated the technological process of its production is.

By the way, during the production of a pencil, it goes through 83 technological operations, in its manufacture 107 types of raw materials and materials are used, and the production cycle is 11 days. If you still look at all this from the side of a whole product line, then a complex established production with careful planning and control is drawn.

In order to see with our own eyes the process of pencil production, we go to the Krasin Moscow Factory. This is the oldest pencil production in Russia. The factory was founded in 1926 with government support.

The main task of the government was to eliminate illiteracy in the country, and for this it was necessary to make office supplies available. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Krasin’s factory remained the only pencil manufacturer in the CIS with a full production cycle.This means that the factory produces everything from lead to the final product – pencils. Let’s take a closer look at the pencil production process.
For the production of pencils, specially processed and stacked linden boards are delivered to the factory. But before they can be used, writing rods must be made.

We will move to the workshop for the production of pencil rods. Writing rods are made from a mixture of clay and graphite. The preparation of the required mixture begins with such technological units, where clay is ground.The crushed clay is transported along a conveyor to the next production site.

In the next section, special mills are installed, where the clay is finely ground and mixed with water.

Installations for preparing a mixture of clay with graphite. Here the mixture for future rods gets rid of impurities and prepares for further processing.

It should be noted that only natural substances are used in the production of slates, which makes the production environmentally friendly.Installation for pressing the mixture. From the obtained semi-finished products, rods are obtained. There is practically no waste from production, since they use it again.

At this production site, the rods themselves are already received, but in order for them to fall into the pencil, a number of technological operations will be carried out over them.

The very technology of producing rods is reminiscent of extrusion. A carefully prepared and mixed mass is squeezed out through a special stamp with holes.

After that, the blanks for writing rods are placed in a special container.

And dry in the cabinet for 16 hours.

The rods are then carefully sorted by hand.

This is what the bar sorting workstation looks like. This is a very difficult and painstaking job. Cats sleep behind a table lamp.

After sorting, the rods are calcined in a special cabinet. The annealing temperature ranges from 800 to 1200 degrees Celsius and directly affects the final properties of the rod.The hardness of the pencil depends on the temperature, which has 17 gradations – from 7H to 8V.

After annealing, the rods are filled with fat under special pressure and temperature. This is necessary to give them the necessary writing properties: intensity of a line, ease of sliding, quality of sharpening, ease of erasing with an eraser. Depending on the required value of the hardness of the rod, you can use: salomas, confectionery fat or even beeswax and carnauba wax.
Output from the bar production site.

After that, the rods go to the assembly. On these machines, pencil boards are prepared. Grooves are cut into them for the installation of writing rods.

The cutting part of the machine grinds grooves in the planks.

Planks automatically enter such a clip.

After that, on another machine, the rods are placed in the pre-prepared planks.

After laying, the halves of the boards are glued together with PVA glue, and they are left to dry under a press.The essence of this operation is that the rod itself does not stick to the planks. Its diameter is larger than the diameter of the groove, and in order for the structure to be closed, a press is needed. The rod, on the other hand, will be held in the wood not due to glue, but due to the tension of the wooden shell (specially created in this way in the construction of the pencil).

After drying, the workpiece is sawn with special cutters into individual pencils.

The pencils are cut gradually over several machining cycles.

The output is ready-made, but not colored pencils.

Already at this stage, the shape of the pencil is laid due to the type of profile of the cutting cutter.

Next, the priming of the surface of the pencil takes place on special lines. When painting pencils, enamels made at the factory itself are used. These enamels are made from components that are safe for humans.

Line for painting pencils.

I think that in stores we have seen many times gift pencils, painted with colorful streaks.It turns out that in order to color them like this, a whole specially developed technology is used. Here is a small snippet of the painting process.

While visiting the paint shop, I happened to see a batch of pencils for delivery to the government of the Russian Federation of a new sample. The tip of the pencil symbolizes our national flag. Pencils dry in special technological frames. The regularity of the rows looks very unusual and attractive.

After painting, the pencils are stacked in batches for shipment to the next areas of the factory.

It is a great pleasure to look at the thousands of pencils colored according to the factory’s proprietary technology. This is a very unusual sight.

Next, on a special machine, the final mechanical operation is carried out – processing of the ends.

Technological line for surface finishing.

Next, on a special machine, marking is applied to the pencil using a special stamp, which is applied to each pencil through a foil tape.

Locker for storing stamps. Stamps for the entire range of products are stored here.

If necessary, before packing, pencils are sharpened on a special machine. The photo shows an intermediate stage of sharpening.
I was amazed at the speed of the machine. The pencils fell into the tray in a continuous stream. All personal unsuccessful attempts to sharpen pencils immediately came to mind. From these memories, this machine began to inspire even more respect.

The factory also produces such interesting oval-shaped pencils used in construction and repair.

Arrays of stacked pencils look very unusual and attractive. You will not see this anywhere else.

In the packaging area, pencils are sorted and filled by hand. There is a special atmosphere here. People work quietly and silently. Many employees have more than 40 years of continuous work experience in the factory.

The factory has its own equipped laboratory, in which products are tested throughout the entire production cycle and new production technologies are tested. The picture shows Amsler’s device for determining the resistance at the fracture of the writing rods.

Before leaving, I went into a room with demonstration stands of the factory’s products. The factory emblem evokes some nostalgia. After all, these pencils are familiar to each of us from childhood.
The factory produces several product lines.Professional pencil series for painters, decorators and designers.

Samples of pencils supplied to the government of the Russian Federation. For the design of the pencils, a drawing was chosen to match the color of standard malachite desktop instruments of employees of the government of the Russian Federation. But besides this, they have other differences from ordinary pencils: firstly, their shape is made with maximum consideration for the ergonomics of an adult’s hand, and besides, they use a special rod of the “lumograph” type for notes on the margins and in the diary, it is not smeared by hand , but erases well with an eraser without damaging the paper.

Pencils for engineering drawing:

Original souvenir products of the factory.

The visit to the factory was very exciting and informative. It was very interesting for me to see how much original technology and labor is invested in the manufacture of a seemingly such a simple object as a pencil.

I want to express my deep gratitude to the chief production technologist Marina for her help and explanation of technological processes in production.At the end of the visit to the factory, its management donated their branded pencils to the editorial office, including those supplied to the government of the Russian Federation.

A short video on how to make pencils.

The original is taken from here

we form the correct grip – Page of the teacher-defectologist – Catalog of articles


Before showing your kid how to write letters, you need to teach him to properly hold in his hand what he will do it – a pencil, a pen, a felt-tip pen.

Correct grip of a pencil means that it is held with three fingers (a pinch): thumb, forefinger and middle. The pencil rests on the left side of the middle finger. The thumb supports the pencil on the left and the index finger on top. The top end of the pencil points towards the shoulder. With a proper grip on the pencil, the index finger should lift easily without the pencil falling off.

You can start from 2–2.5 years old, when the child can already fix and memorize the correct position of the hand.There are several simple and effective ways to help your child learn the correct position of the fingers and hands for further writing.

• First – specially designed pencil tips.

Thanks to them, it is simply impossible to pick up a pencil incorrectly! There are such “simulators” for both right-handers and left-handers. Such attachments can be found in various colors and in the form of animals or cartoon characters.

• The second is exercises. For example, ask your child to grip a napkin with his ring finger and little finger, and take a pencil with his free fingers – the correct grip is formed in a natural way.

Option for the smallest: invite the baby to “put” the pencil to sleep. What are we doing? We put a pencil in the “bed” – on the middle finger, under the head “pillow” – index, and on top of the “blanket” – thumb.

• Third – the use of triangular pens and pencils, which, thanks to their shape, allow children’s fingers to assume a natural and correct position (grab the pencil on three sides). If we talk about the thickness of the pencil, then the younger the child, the thicker the pencil should be. The writing skill is just beginning to form, and it is much more difficult to hold a thin core (and even more so to manipulate it).

To develop the pinch, finger games are used (especially for the thumb and forefinger), exercises with a pencil (“Twist the pencil with two fingers, three fingers”) and balls, as well as game exercises such as “Salt the soup”, etc.

Salt the soup exercise

Children put their fingers together and imitate movement. The exercise can be accompanied by verses. For example:

We salted soup, soup

From pearl barley, groats …

The exercise can be carried out in the form of elementary dramatizations. At the same time, a wider range of tasks is being solved. For example: an adult tells a short story, which the children complement with words and movements (exercise “Salt”).

Example. Different animals lived in one wonderful forest. The animals lived – they did not grieve, did not quarrel, but were friends. The animals loved to visit each other. Whoever invites you prepares the treats. Today everyone gathered to visit the squirrel. The squirrel prepares different food. She took vegetables and began to prepare salads. (What vegetables do you know?) I made a salad of cabbage and carrots and salted it (exercise “Salt”). I made a salad of tomatoes and cucumbers and salted it (exercise “Salt”). What else could a squirrel make salads from? (Children name the options, after each option the exercise “Salt” is performed.) Then the squirrel prepared a variety of first courses. Squirrel cooked cabbage soup and salted them (exercise “Salt”). (What else could a squirrel cook for the first course? Children name options, after each option the exercise “Salt” is performed.)

Ball Roll Exercise

The exercise is carried out with a ball (pea); for children under 5 years old, the diameter of the ball (pea) should be 15 mm.; exercise time 30 s; for older preschool children (5-7 years old), the diameter of the ball (pea) should be 10 mm; exercise time 1 min.

The child rolls the ball (pea) with three fingers (pinch). The work with the ball begins at a slow pace, which accelerates as the skill improves.

The exercise can be accompanied by verses. For example:

Little fingers love to play,

They like to roll the round pea.

And they roll, and roll, and do not get tired.

Fingers have fun and sing merrily:

Roll, roll, pea!

Roll, roll, pea !….

(The phrase is repeated as long as necessary to complete the exercise according to the age norm.)

Everything! Fingers are tired. It’s time for them to rest.

We put our peas. We will not roll them.

To form the correct grip of the pencil, playing gymnastics is carried out for the thumb and forefinger. For example:

Exercise “Rope” (for the thumb)

Children sit on high chairs or stand.The palms are clenched into fists, the hands are lowered, the thumbs are extended and make circular movements. You need to “twist the rope” first in one direction, then in the other. Children accompany the game with a quatrain:

Like our Allochka

New rope.

Turns quickly Allochka

Rope handles.

Try to teach your child how to grip the pencil correctly as early as possible; it is much easier than retraining him in the future.It is much more difficult to retrain to hold a pencil after 6 years.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply