Should I draw diagrams with a pen or pencil? (solved)

Should I draw diagrams using a pen or pencil, this is what we’re going to respond today. So we’re going to discover which is the best pen or pencil and what are the reasons to use pen or pencils in drawing diagrams.

Drawing diagrams with a pen or pencil?

Using pencils or pen depend on the nature of the student, if the student tends to make mistakes drawing diagrams is recommendable to use pencils. They are erasable and less risky. But for people who are sure of themselves and don’t make a lot of mistakes, pens are good and shinier.

According to Qualitylogoproduct, more than 14 billion pencils are produced every year, which is enough to circle the earth 62 times.

Consequently, this indicates the importance of pencils in the daily life of students and non-students who love to use pencils in their works.

According to Ketonsonline, More than 2 billion pens are manufactured in the United States annually. That means 7 times less than pencil production.

Pencil production is 7 times more than the pen. Because the majority of students use pencils for drawing more than writing which get consumed fast. Students could use in one year more than 20 pencils while 2 ballpoint pens are enough to spend the whole year.

In the next paragraph, we will explain that in detail. Also, discover the problem that faces pencil and pen users for drawing diagrams.

For theses reasons drawing diagrams with a pen is better

For people who love to use pens for drawing diagrams, we gathered 5 principal reasons to use pens instead of pencils.

pen ink is shinier than a pencil

Drawing diagrams with a pen is more shiny and clear for reading than it is with a pencil. Pencils tend to have dark colors, which allows them to absorb light. Consequently, making them less reflectable and not comfortable as much as pens ink.

If we take, for example, the famous ink color is blue. It reflects between 20 to 30% of light while the gray pencil color is less more than that.

Drawing any diagrams with pencils is different from a pen. But what makes the noticeable clarity difference between pencil and pen is the different mechanisms that pen and pencils have.

Drawing with a pencil means rubbing graphite as solid material to paper. This operation is not perfect and causes microscopic holes in Fontes. Moreover, pencil color distribution is not homogenous like pens. In some spots, we see more darkness than in others ones.

This image below is an example of a pencil font

image before zoom

pencil problem font
pencil font before zooming

image after zoom

pencil problem font zoomed
pencil fonts after zooming

you can notice this light spot, these are the holes that we talked about.

Pens don’t have these kinds of problems, because they use ink that flows through the paper. It creates homogeneous color distribution in a font. As a result, appear more appealing and clear for readers.

Pencils get smudged

The second problem that pencils have is they get easily smudged. That happens mostly with the soft pencil types called B types, they are thicker and have a dark color. In a survey made between 24 engineers, 50% affirmed not using these kinds of pencils.

Engineers use other types of pencils known H type pencils. You could know more about this topic by reading this article.

Drawing diagrams with pencils makes them easy to be smudged. Many students don’t prefer that especial in exams when things should be tidy and appealing for correctors.

Once the paper gets smudged it looks terrible and you have no solution to fix it. So you might start over again which consumes a lot of fo time and become frustrating.

Pencil need to be consistently sharpened

According to the calculation that we made, we found that for drawing good diagrams the student should sharpen a pencil after 260 words, meaning every 20 minutes. This is could be a major problem for students who draw intensively with pencils.

drawing with pencils needs regularly fine lead that varies between 0.5 and 0.7 mm. The majority of student who prefers to draw good diagrams use 0.7mm lead size is regularly finner and make good results.

But the challenge that we talked about is to preserve this sharpness. Students must sharpen every while to keep good quality of drawing. But constructors have created an innovative idea to solve this issue you could watch this video below.

This another kind of pencil called a mechanical pencil, is good and better than wooden pencils. It doesn’t need to be sharpened it saves a lot of time and effort.

Pencil has unstable writings

Pencils leads have different sizes they could vary between 0.2mm to 5 mm. Students use for drawing and general writing pencils that size lead that varies between 0.5mm to 0.7mm. But pencil gets consumed easily, which means get broader with a use.

let’s say that you have a 0.7 mm pencil, in the beginning, the font size will be 0.7mm but as much as you write or draw diagrams with a pencil instead of a pen the font gets thicker and ticker it could become 0.9 or 1mm. As a result, create an unstable quality of drawing.

Having finner lines and thicker ones is not suitable and affects the drawing appearance. That is not beautiful and homogenous drawings.

Drawing diagrams with pen is more smooth and fluent

Drawing diagrams using a pen is smoother than pencils, you don’t have to force through the paper to draw a line. Once you put a pen along the rule things get done easily and don’t have to repeat over and over again, like with pencils.

Pencils have different head sizes, So you can control them. You can know not previously how much effort you should put into the paper to draw. Many students had accidents going through the paper and tearing in it, this happened when lead size are finer less than 0.5mm.

Pens have a stable ballpoint size so the effort doesn’t change. So, you don’t need to test a pencil to know if you should sharpen it or not.

For theses reasons drawing diagrams with a pencil is better

To draw diagrams with a pen instead of a pencil has also some downsides, we’re going to list the 5 major advantages of using pencil over pens

Pencil isn’t risky like pens

according to linked, humans are making between 3 to 6 mistakes per hour doing the normal task. This number will be much higher for students who are doing tasks that require concentration like drawing diagrams or working is something specific.

Using a pen in drawings makes you more careful to not make mistakes which is a lot risky. You don’t have an eraser to use as a pencil. You have to put everything in right place. One mistake means you should begin from scratch.

This is a big downside that pen has in terms of drawing diagrams, we are humans and we can’t control or prevent ourselves to make mistakes.

There is an alternative such as an erase pen that students could use, but it is not effective and fade with hotness. As a result, that makes pens vulnerable to making mistakes.

More flexible in drawing

Pencil is more flexible for drawing diagrams, meaning you can make a lot of drawing things that you wouldn’t be able to do with pens we’re going to list 2 advantages.

  • you can shadow
  • you can control thickness lines

Shadowing is the best thing that pencil students prefer in pencil for drawing diagrams. Shadowing is a good alternative when you don’t have a ruler to draw straight lines, you can shadow lines manually and get a good result.

With a pen, shadowing is very hard and not feasible for students. The odds are high to make mistakes.

The second thing is using a pencil allows you to control the thickness of lines. As a result, makes them thicker or finner and darker or lighter. You don’t have to worry about making mistakes the eraser will solve a problem.

There is a variety of pencils for drawing

Pencils have are types for writing or drawing B types and H Types. To clarify B types pencils work for engineers who look for hardness and exactitude. While B types are for artists who look for smoothness and dark colors.

You could know more details in this article about pencils types and what type engineers are using for.

For students who study stem subjects like maths physics and engineering the H types of pencils are more suitable. On the opposite B types, pencils are suitable for artist students who love drawing and shadowing.

For people who think to draw diagrams using a pencil instead of a pen, is recommendable to use H type pencil they are hard and good for drawing straight lines. This is why engineers love them.

Pens are bleeding

Pens have problems of bleeding especially for students who love to use fountain pens. There are 12 facts that we listed about fountain pens for people who are interested to use them.

In general pens have bleeding problems they can drop ink at any moment. You can’t know when and where you will be stained with a pen. It could be when you draw some diagrams.

Pencils don’t have any ink to be afraid of. You can put them anywhere even in hot places when pens could not resist.

Pencil can still work if they break out

on average pencils are 17 cm tall and can still work even if you break them out. you could break a pencil out into 4 pieces and get 4 pencils doing the same job. Once a pen break out it is impossible to write with them. So tossing them is the only solution.


Pencils and pens both have advantages and disadvantages. Draw diagrams with a pen or pencil depending on where you find yourself on the 10 facts that we listed above.

But what about taking notes…

should we use pens or pencils?.


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.