My New Drawing Pencils

I’ve had my new Tombow MONO Drawing Pencils for several weeks now. If you’ve been following along on my art journey, you’ll remember my initial thoughts about buying them. Did I really deserve professional quality drawing pencils?

Maybe. Maybe not. But I felt I deserved something for the long hours of drawing practice I put in over the summer, so I bought the pencils, and I’m very pleased with them.

But what does one do with a nice set of professional quality drawing pencils? If you’re someone like me, someone who’s only now learning to draw, you sharpen a few of those pencils and have fun playing around with them.

Circle of Lines

I’m not qualified to give a thorough review of the pencils, but I can share a little information about them.

From the Tombow website:

“Professional quality drawing pencils are crafted with the highest quality materials. Extra-refined, high density graphite encased in premium hard cedar wood. Perfectly centered lead core adhered throughout entire woodcase, making pencil break resistant and ensures even sharpening. Progressive degrees range from 6B – 4H. Easily erase graphite pencil marks with the included light touch plastic eraser. Set includes 12 pencils, plastic eraser and pencil sharpener.”

The set contains 12 degrees: 4H, 3H, 2H, H, F, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B and 6B

I do like the pencils. I can tell that they’re higher-quality than the inexpensive drawing pencils I’ve used before, and I am looking forward to using this set.

Getting my new pencils seemed like a perfect time to start anew with graphite drawing and work once again on basic techniques. So back to the how-to-draw books I went, right back to the essential elements of art.

  • Line
  • Shape
  • Form
  • Texture
  • Color
  • Value
  • Space

In addition to my little “Circle of Lines” illustration, I played around with space/negative space, creating textures, and shading techniques for different values. Although colored graphite is available, I’m keeping my basic practice studies to a few shades of gray, and I used my Tombow pencils to make a graphite value scale.

Each morning — after a few moments of mindfulness and meditation — I sit down at my drawing table and make a few simple illustrations. I’ve done birds — like the paloma blanca for our September Draw-a-Bird day — fishes, bunnies, and more. These aren’t highly realistic drawing. They’re just simple line drawings with a minimum of shading, and that in itself is one of the things I enjoy most about graphite. It can be so very simple.

Graphite drawings, of course, can be highly detailed, but as a morning “let’s get started” exercise, a few simple little line drawings or scribbles makes for a great way to start the day.

Morning Exercises

Some people do calisthenics every morning. I do art exercises. Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a graphite value scale. Sure, you’ve probably done it before, but can we ever do this too much? It’s a great warm-up exercise before doing detailed graphite drawings.
  • Play around with creating textures. Can you create believable fur? Hair? Wood? How many different textures can you make with your graphite pencils?
  • Practice making basic geometric shapes. Draw simple squares, circles, and try one of those dreaded ellipses. Make rectangles, triangles, hearts and stars.
  • Make a few organic shapes. Squiggle, scribble, and play. Drawing really can be fun!
  • Practice line quality — as I did in the illustration above. We can have solid lines or broken lines, thick lines, thin lines, light lines, dark lines, and lots of combinations thereof!
  • Go back to shapes and turn them into forms. Use shading techniques to make spheres from your circles. Turn your simple square into a box. Take your organic shapes and turn them into weird forms, as well.
  • Have fun making simple line drawings.
  • Create patterns and designs using the various elements of art.

Here’s one little practice piece I put together using simple shapes, texture, and value.


Design Image

I’m quite happy with my new drawing pencils, and I enjoy limbering up my drawing muscles with my morning exercises.

How do you warm up before drawing and painting?



    1. I have a tendency to rush too much, so taking time for a few little “warm ups” really helps me settle down. One thing I learned over the summer was that my drawings and paintings turn out better when I slow down. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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