For a Versatile Sketching Tool, Choose from the Best Sets of Graphite Sticks

A must-have in most studios, graphite sticks are favored tools for sketching, portraiture, transferring drawings, and much more. This versatile medium is easier to control than its cousin, charcoal, which is messier, more delicate, and often rougher. And it offers a broader range of strokes than its wood-enclosed relative, the pencil. In stick form, powdered graphite is mixed with a binder, the amount of which determines its hardness. There are many reasons to prefer one kind of stick over another, most of them subjective. Our picks can help you decide which one is most likely to become your personal favorite.

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