Pencils

Pencils 

Your pencil is your best friend and needs to withhold great punishment; here we supply a great range of pencil brands, with a selection of discounted sets too.
  • Chinamarkers

    As the name suggests, chinamarkers are suitable for marking on a variety of hard surfaces, including china, stone, metal, wood and glass. These highly versatile pencils are extremely practical and even capable of writing on wet surfaces, making them popular amongst not only artists, but also tradesman. Our chinamarkers are high quality pencils manufactured by Royal Sovereign.

  • Coloured Pencils

    One of the most universal mediums in art is coloured pencils. Our pencils are of the highest quality so that you have the best tools and materials to create magnificent pieces of artwork. The items that we offer are from some of the biggest brands, such as Faber-CastellDaler-Rowney and StaedtlerWe have a number of different sized sets so that you don’t have to buy more than you need to. We even sell single pencils in case you require a specific colour to top up what you already have. We stock affordable coloured pencils to make sure that we can meet your needs.

  • Graphite Pencils

    No artists’ arsenal would be complete without a set of good graphite pencils. The ideal tool for pencil sketching and drawing or laying the framework for a multi-media masterpiece, graphite pencils are versatile and trustworthy. We stock an array of graphite pencils from trusted brands like Lyra, Faber-Castell, and Daler-Rowney. Whether you require a large set or individual pencils, we’ve got you covered! We also have an extensive range of pads and paper for you to get creative with!

  • Pastel Pencils

    We stock a selection of vibrant and high-quality pastel pencils, perfect for adding fine detail to pastel crayon art, or for using on their own to create an intricate masterpiece. Pastel coloured pencils are ideal for creating art on the go, with the added benefit of creating less mess than a traditional pastel crayon. 

    Like most mediums, pastel coloured pencils are available in many different colours and depending on which brand you opt for, you’ll find different consistencies. Some pastel coloured pencils are harder or softer than others, which can affect the overall technique you’re trying to achieve with your pastel pencils.

    Our range of pastel pencils include individual pencils and gorgeous sets from trusted brands such as Faber-Castell.  

    What are oil pastel pencils?

    Oil pastel pencils are actually soft pastels, encased in wood so that they can be used as a pencil. They are just like traditional pastels and can be used to add finishing details to pastel art works. They are easier to use than other soft pastels with the benefit of less mess and being easily portable. Discover our range of oil pastels

  • Watercolour Pencils

    We stock a wide range of branded watercolour pencils at the best price. Our collection of artist pencils includes Caran d’Ache, Pentel & Faber Castell pencils. We often have discounts and deals available on all of our watercolour pencils for artists to ensure you are getting the best price on our water soluble pencils. 

    Create stunning watercolour effect art with our selection of high-quality watercolour pencils from trusted brands like Faber-Castell, Pentel and Caran d’Ache. Our range includes individual watercolour pencils available in a huge variety of colours, as well as a selection of beautiful sets which make the perfect starter kit or gift. We stock everything you need to transform a blank canvas into a watercolour masterpiece!

    How Do You Use Watercolour Pencils?

    Watercolour pencils are used dry just like regular pencils, but you can use a slightly wet brush over your work to make the pencil look like watercolour paint. You can also use watercolour pencils on work you have done with watercolour paint to touch up areas and brush over lightly with water again.

  • Leads

    Find refills for all of our mechanical pencils right here!

    Featuring Faber Castell, Pentel, Manuscript & more, all available in a wide range of grades, colours & thicknesses to suit everyone's needs!

  • Mechanical Pencils

    Also known as propelling pencils or automatic pencils, mechanical pencils are an essential in every artist's sketching tool kit. In contrast to normal woodcased sketching pencils, a mechanical pencil has an internal mechanism which pushes the pencil lead forward when the tip has worn down too much to be used effectively. Our mechanical pencil range offers diversity in lead thicknesses from professional brands at  affordable prices at Cowling & Wilcox.

    Mechanical Pencils for Drawing

    If you are an avid sketcher, you might be wondering why switch to a mechanical or clutch pencil when your regular graphite pencils are doing the job perfectly. Mechanical pencils have a wealth of advantages over regular woodcased pencils. 

    The first advantage of mechanical pencils is the lack of mess. Due to the lead-mechanism, you will never need to sharpen your pencil lead like you would a normal graphite pencil. This can save you time and effort, while also reducing any mess that would be created by pencil shavings.

    Consistency is key, which is also an excellent feature of a mechanical pencil. The width of the pencil’s lead will always remain the same, regardless if you have been sketching for minutes or have freshly pushed more lead out of the pencil’s end. This is a benefit over woodcased pencils, which start out with a very thin and pointed tip which then wears down and becomes thicker and less refined. This is one of the main reasons why many people prefer mechanical pencils for drawing and draughting.

    You will also notice a difference in using a mechanical pencil when the lead has worn down to a small length. At this point, using a regular woodcased pencil becomes hugely difficult, as the entire length of the pencil is minimised. Your grip will be poor and as a result your pencil lines will be less refined. With a mechanical pencil, your casing will always remain the same length, making drawing effortless no matter how much lead is left inside.

    Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing

    The best mechanical pencil for you will be personal to your drawing style and pencil preferences. Cowling & Wilcox stock a range of top brands, including Pentel, Faber-Castell, and Tombow. Whatever your preference and budget, you can find the right pencil option for you.

    For more sketching tool kit essentials, check out our blog.

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The pencil is the most traditional and essential tool for artists the world over. They are ideal for creating intricate and detailed pieces as much as they are for creating a rough sketch or draft. A good pencil has to be able to stand a lot of punishment and make it easy for the artist to execute an idea as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

In manufacturing a pencil, clay and graphite are mixed in varying proportions to produce the various degrees of hardness: More graphite gives a Blacker result and more clay gives a Harder line. These degrees vary from, 9B which gives the softest and blackest lines to 9H, which is very hard but paler in colour. HB is halfway with 50-50 clay and graphite.

We have an extensive array of sketching and drawing pencils and sets, as well as a whole host of coloured pencils from long-established brands such as Faber-Castell. Whether you’re a sketcher, doodler or colourist, we have you covered. Just don’t forget your sharpener, erasers and to shop our range of pads, paper and board