Mechanical Pencils and Accessories

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Mechanical Pencils

Lead Refills and Accessories

Mechanical Pencils Lead Holders

Lead Pointers

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What size lead should I choose?

    Mechanical pencils require leads in a variety of sizes, and each pencil can only use the size for which it was designed. Dick Blick carries both pencils and lead refills for sizes 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, and 0.9 mm, as well as for 2 mm lead holders (drafting pencils).

  • Are the "leads" harmful?

    Although pencil leads once contained lead, an element that is toxic when ingested, all modern pencils and pencil leads are made with graphite, a naturally occuring form of carbon that is not toxic or harmful. Powdered graphite is fired with a fine clay binder to create leads of varying width and hardness.

  • Which size refills are easiest to find?

    The 0.5 mm lead size is the one most commonly used for ordinary writing. Most fine writing instruments, mechanical pencils that are designed for a general audience rather than for graphic artists, require this size of lead.

  • How do graphic artists use the different sizes?

    It is common for graphic artists to own several mechanical pencils, each with a different color of barrel, to create both fine and coarse lines. Each pencil is loaded with a different thickness and hardness of lead. Several colors of lead are also available.

  • What is a drafting pencil?

    A drafting pencil or "lead holder" is a mechanical pencil that uses the much larger 2 mm leads. The point can be sharpened as necessary with a lead pointer. We recommend a lead pointer as an extra accessory.