There are two types of pencils: the regular 2b, and the 2b-style 2b+w, the 2b+w being an extreme oversize model designed to be used on the end of a regular pencil (i.e. a pencil that’s a little shorter than an average pencil). These two are interchangeable and can be used interchangeably as the basic pencil. (Also known as the “two sided pencil”).
The 2b+w can be used almost anywhere as a straight edge – in a piece of pencil, on a piece of paper, on the end of a fine point pen or as an eraser!
The 2b-style 2b+w is basically the 2b-style pencil with an extra little point on the end, for those times where a regular pencil would be too short but you know the paper you’ll be on won’t be an extreme length.
The 2b+w makes such a great “sketch marker” for people who are writing with the pencil on their surface or in the middle of the page – it just makes it a lot easier to read. The 2b pencil is ideal for drawing on paper, on drawing sticks, for painting, or for making quick sketches with a pen. It also makes great fun for kids who like to use drawing pens.
If a 2b+w goes out of its original box (e.g. someone puts a bag or box over its top and screws it back in) it will be much easier for it to fall asleep if it’s on the ground.
How to choose the right pencil
So you’ve decided to buy a pencil, but don’t know where to shop for it? Let’s start by finding out which kind of pencil it is.
There are a variety of pencils, but for straight-edge use you’re mainly looking for a pencil that has a “lead” or head (aka a tip). There are many types of lead, with the most common being the “regular” lead that’s a little bit larger than the shaft of the pencil.
The regular lead is used on a drawing stick, on paper and in drawing pens – but it doesn’t stick quite as well to the paper and drawing sticks as the extra-small “lead” or tip of the pencil you’re using – so the extra head of the pencil will have much less of an impact on the paper. This will be especially noticeable on pencils that have