MONO Drawing Pencil Set Basics 3

Hi Tombow fans, Beth here to share some really great news! Tombow recently released the brand new MONO Drawing Pencil Set, so I reached back into my college art school memory banks to share some of the basics on drawing and pencils.

Let’s start with sharpening.  Always use a hand-held sharpener, like the metal one included in the set. Tombow’s MONO Drawing Pencils are extra-refined, with high density graphite that sharpens evenly without the worry of the lead breaking.

My tip for sharpening all pencils (graphite and colored) is to keep a small container handy for the pencil shavings, so you you can draw or color anywhere!

So, what’s the difference between the types of pencils? The difference is in the hardness of lead in each pencil. Most pencils use a system that gauges the hardness (written as H) of the lead to how black the mark the lead makes (written as B). Back in the day when they were deciding on what pencil people wanted to use most, they went with a middle of the road pencil – not too hard (H) and not too black (B) – that pencil is the No. 2 pencil that we all know. The No. 2 pencil is also known as an HB pencil, and the HB pencil is right in the middle of the hardness to blackness scale. The hardest lead in a pencil is a 9H pencil, the middle lead is HB (or No. 2),  and the blackest lead is a 9B pencil. The Tombow MONO Drawing Pencil Set includes grades ranging from 4H to 6B.

I smudged a part of each of the straight lines so the hardness or softness of the lead can be seen. The H lines are very difficult to smudge, which is why I like to use them for basic line sketches – the framework, if you will. Personally, I like the 4B for its dark line and medium ability to smudge. When I draw, I like to start light and lay in the darker values. For an artist that is learning, an HB is fine, but shading exercises will help you discover the combination of leads that works best for your style.

I also erased a section of each line, so the removal of lead from the paper can be seen. The Tombow MONO Light Plastic Eraser that is included in the kit easily erases even the darkest of graphite lines with a light touch that will not damage the most delicate of papers.

Here is a shading sample drawing of what all of the pencils in the Tombow MONO Drawing Pencil Set look like.

Achieve this scale by measuring off 12 rectangles and starting with the hardest lead (4H), then ending with the blackest lead (6B) shade each area so you get the feel for the range each pencil can provide to your drawings.

I hold my drawing pencils a bit looser, and at more of an angle than when writing and I find myself rotating the paper more than moving my hand when shading.

Now that we have some of the basics down, let’s DRAW!

Start with the one of the harder pencils, I prefer the 4H, and sketch in the basic shapes of your design.  I have selected a mushroom. Use loose lines and don’t be afraid to go over your shapes several times until you are pleased with the composition, remembering that you can erase any unwanted lines later.

Next, I used the H pencil to darken the lines and shading that were in the shadows of my drawing, using the hatching and cross hatching methods.

The B pencil will re-enforce the darkening of the lines and shading, bringing definition to to your subject. When working with the B range pencils, I always have a sheet of paper under my hand to reduce smudging.

Finally, I used the 4B pencil to reach the three dimensional depth that is needed to make your subject really POP!  The last step would be to go back in with the H pencil and develop the delicate shading on the light side of your subject.

There are a lot of other lessons that are available on the Tombow USA website, but I hope this will encourage you to jump in and draw.  Don’t worry about the subject matter, just draw what you love and remember, the more you practice the better you will get!

I really enjoyed sketching and drawing this week and hope you have enjoyed my MONO Drawing Pencil Set Basics!


Thanks for stopping by! – Beth