Mechanical pencils

Continuing the discussion from About the Art Medium Discussion and Questions category:

I really like mechanical pencils instead of the graphite pencils . Do you know what the values would be in mechanical pencils compared to graphite ?
I have the following mechanical pencils 0.3 mm
0.5 mm
0.7 mm
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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I have never used a mechanical pencil, but it is possible that it is the lead size, lightness, darkness, or if it is soft or hard. I found this site and maybe it will help you. I did not read it all, just skimmed it.

Ultimate Guide to Mechanical Pencil Lead Sizes - Pen Vibe


Hi Creative Jan. In response to your question about mechanical pencil leads, the numbers you have listed are for the size (diameter) of the leads. In other words, the size of the lead should match the size of the lead holder that you have. When buying lead, first you look for the size you need, then you pick the hardness / softness of the lead itself which is the same as you’d find in regular graphite pencils. As an example, I have 4 lead holders with different leads as follows 2B, HB, H and 2H. Hope that helps. Terri Robichon

Hi Terri , I have lots of the holders and the sizes I listed are the lead size they all seem to be hb . So I am looking where to get the other sizes that you listed do you have a website to use .

Thank you I will check it out

Hi Creativejan. I have been buying my mechanical pencil leads from (also known as Blick Art Materials. Lead refills for holders that are 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 0.9mm can be found in Brand name: Pentel at this web site.
For the 2mm lead holder, the brands I typically buy are Staedtler or Faber-Castell. Again, these are also available at this web site.
Amazon has some lead refills, but offerings are more limited.
Also, not every lead hardness / softness is available in every lead holder size.
Hope this helps.

Terri Robichon


Not the same subject but what size of pencil extenders do you use with your polychrome pencils? I have a couple that came with blending stumps but do not work with any of my colored pencils. I have polychrome, prismacolor and blicks brand of colored pencils.



Hi Teri -
I have not been using pencil extenders. The only one that I have used is for vine charcoal.

Terri R

Thank you. I’ll keep looking!

Teri (alias Artsycrochet)

Out of curiosity have you tried or considered using clutch pencils? You get the ease and feel of mechanical but with a much larger range of available graphite grades.

I was always a bigger fan of the precision of mechanical over standard graphite and found clutch pencils were a great middle ground to get everything.

Hi Teri -
After answering your question the other day, I gave it some more thought and went back to my stash of stuff. As it turns out I do have some pencil extenders (which I probably should be using more often). I looked for them at Dlick Art materials. They are called Derwent Pencil Extenders ($15.09 list price / $11.64 current Blick price). It is a 2 pack with an 8mm holder and a 7mm holder. I tried it out and the 8mm size works GREAT with FABER CASTEL - Polychromos colored pencils, and Prismacolor too. I don’t own any Blick brand so I couldn’t try that out.
Then since I still have the packaging, I also went to Amazon. As it turns out, that is where I actually purchased mine from back in Nov 2020. Amazon’s current price is $13.89.

The other Terri (Robichon)

Hi LadyLunaMarr -
I see you on the Live Lesson chat all the time, so nice to talk directly to you. I never heard of a “clutch pencil” before, so I went to Blick and entered it in the search. As it turns out, it is what I’ve always just called a Lead Holder and is used with 2mm leads. My guess is that CreativeJan does have one of these, since 2.0mm is in her list of mechanical pencil sizes. Thanks for adding to my terminology knowledge base.

Terri Robichon

Thank you Terri,

I will look into them. I appreciate you doing all the investigating.

See you on Wednesday hopefully!

Teri (alias Artsycrochet)

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I’ve learned so much new vocabulary when it comes to art supplies it’s not even funny, I think I just used to call them lead holders too until I got sent a really nice one a couple years ago. I’ve got quite a collection, but all of these here are different sizes the blue one is the 2mm, the chrome one is really small and the black one from Lyra is a 9mm I think? To me they are the perfect middle ground between mechanical pencils and standard drawing pencils

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Hi Luna -
The “clutch pencils” - in the 2mm size - are by far my favorite as well. I don’t know what I’d use the really thick ones for. I do like the .5mm from time to time and the fact that they never need to be sharpened, but I’ve only seen them used in a mechanical pencil type holder, of which I have several.

Terri Robichon