Denise Cat puts Faber-Castell 9000 series graphite pencils, grades HB, H, F, B,6H and 8B, to the test

The Green Castell 9000 was first introduced in 1905.

It set new standards of quality and remains a classic and popular choice with many artists.

Top Features

  • Produce clean lines
  • Little smudging
  • Strong leads
  • Highly blendable
  • Keep their point
  • Easy to layer/cross hatch
  • Good hexagonal design, no rolling

Price: From £1.41 per pencil

Where to buy: Art Supplies with Painters Online


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Drawing with Faber-Castell 9000

Before starting I produced a swatch to test out the various grades.

Drawing a still life

I set up a few objects of differing textures and used the HB pencil to do a quick sketch.

I found it moved quickly and smoothly on the mixed media paper I was using.

I developed the sketch ensuring I used all the pencils to get a good sense of their capability.

You can see there is a good graduation of tone and shading.

The finished sketch

Woking on toned paper

I then tried another drawing, above, this time using a more toned paper.

My findings were as follows:

  • The pencils are light giving excellent control, you can see the baton, how straight the lines look, no ruler used as it’s all freehand. The pencils glide with such ease
  • The lead is strong and I had no breakage whatsoever and when I needed to sharpen, they kept their point very well. Very important for small highly detailed areas
  • Castell 9000 are especially good for detailed or delicate work and creating subtlety were needed
  • They are excellent for blending and building up layers with little or no graphite dust
  • Fairly easy to erase as I used the tone of the paper for the highlights and when refining the final piece, the darker tones would lighten to suit


Faber-Castell is a quality product offering excellent value for money. I would definitely add these to the list of mediums I use.

The darker values have a buttery feel to them.

Great for both quick sketching and more detailed drawing.

About Denise Cat

Denise started drawing and painting during the 2020 lockdown.

She draws and sketches in graphite, charcoal, pastel and carbon. She also paint in watercolour, oils, acrylic and has some recent experience of Chinese Brushwork.

See more from Denise in the gallery by


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