Do Pencils Fade Over Time? 


Do Pencils Fade Over Time? 

*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

You have spent hours and hours drawing on your sketchpad. It would be awful to open up your sketchpad and see that your drawings have started to fade. 

Paint can last for years and markers too, but what about creating with a pencil. Will your art creations last or fade over time? 

Drawings made with normal pencils should not fade much over time. However many colored pencils will only last a few years before they start to fade. 

To know whether your pencils will fade or not you need to look at their lightfastness rating. 

Graphite and lightfast rating are the key components in knowing if your picture will fade over time. Graphite has a maximum lightfast rating. Lightfastness can be described as the rate at which the dye will resist fading due to sun and other light exposure. 

Since graphite rates are high in lightfastness, your sketches made with normal pencils can last a long time. Some graphite drawings can last 100 or more years. 

Though graphite may last for a century, not all components in a pencil will. There are other components in pencils needed for creating pencils.  These other factors can bring down the lightfastness of your pencil. 

When you purchase your sketch pencils, or your colored pencils, be sure to check the level of lightfastness. Your sketches will last longer with a higher rated lightfastness pencil.  

To see the most popular pencils with high lightfastness ratings just click here. 

How Do I Keep My Pencil Sketches From Smudging? 

Anyone who has ever drawn has seen the effects of smudging. The smudging effect can even be worse in those that are left-handed. 

The mark of a sketch artist can always be seen on their pinky. Their pinky will be silver-lined with all the smudging and brush-ups against the sketch they were creating. 

Not only can you smudge your drawings while sketching, but even closing the sketchpad can smudge them when it is moved about. 

It can be very frustrating to go back and erase smudges that happened throughout your sketch. Is there a way to prevent smudging when sketching? 

Here are a few tips to help eliminate the smudges from happening. 

  • Lead with your dominant hand: If you are left-handed, start at the upper right corner and sketch down to the lower-left corner. If you are right-handed, start at the left corner and work your sketch down to the right corner. This eliminates any smudges from dragging your hand across the sketch. Your hand will stay clear from brushing through your drawing. 
  • Place clean tracing paper under your dominant hand. You can also use a clean piece of paper if needed.  Tracing paper is the better option as it will allow you to see the sketch underneath. Leaving the piece of paper under your hand won’t only protect your sketch from being smudged but also from the oils in your hands. The oils in your hand can cause your sketch paper to age prematurely or even yellow over time. 
  • Use A Sealing Spray. Once your sketch is finished, spray some sealing fixative spray to prevent any smudging from happening. If you choose to seal in your drawing, be sure to allow the appropriate dry time before closing your sketchpad. Also, be sure to air out your sketchpad periodically when you do use the spray. Your sketchpad may have a chemical spray smell to it if not given the appropriate amount of time to dry. 

Which Is Better To Write With, Pen or Pencil? 

Pens and Pencils are both great writing instruments that can get the job done. 

Pencils are a little more forgiving and allow you to erase the writing if needed. Pens have more of a formal, permanent feel. 

Pencils need constant sharpening and mechanical pencils a refill. Pens dry out and need the ink replaced. 

The debate between pens and pencils has been around for a long time, so which is better and lasts longest, pen or pencil?  

Pros of pencils

  • Pencil markings can be erased and corrected. Pencils are ideal for children in school. Elementary school kids learn best with pencils. They can go back and fix their mistakes and correct their letters, numbers, words, and sentences.  
  • Pencils work great for sketching. Pencils are the ideal writing instrument when it comes to doodling and creating sketches. If you don’t like the way you drew the eyebrows, fix them by simply erasing and starting over. 
  • Pencils can be used to mark a variety of surfaces. Many carpenters will actually use pencils to mark on wood and siding to help get the perfect cut. Pens leave permanent writing on your siding and can smudge. However, a pencil can be used to mark the cut and then be erased. 
  • Pencils have a long life span. You sharpen and sharpen your pencil until you are left with a nub too difficult to write with. Pencils often feel like they can be used forever. The only challenge is making sure it can stay sharpened. 

Pros of pens

  • Pen ink writes dark. You can get nice dark, easy-to-read lines when writing with a pen. Pens are ideal in school for writing papers that could end up being A+ material and showcased for parents and peers to see. 
  • Pens are more professional. You are only able to cash your check once signed with blue or black ink on the back. Most official documents are signed with either blue or black ink as well. 
  • Pens come in many colors. Everyone knows that red pens belong to the teachers, but all other colors are fair game. Find your favorite color pen and journal away with a wide variety of bright and colorful pens.
  • Pens are typically the same size. Unless it’s a novelty pen or the four ink pen push-down pen, most pens come in the same size. Pens won’t get shorter unless broken and can last for quite a while. 

Pens and pencils run a tight race as to which is better. The answer to this question depends on what you plan on doing with the writing instrument. 

Are you drawing or sketching? Easy answer, use a pencil. 

Are you signing the back of a check to deposit? Find the closest pen. 

Are you writing down measurements while framing a house? Use a pencil. 

Are you journaling and color-coding your appointments? Grab an assortment of colored pens to journal and plan. 

Choosing if a pen or pencil is better is like choosing if an apple or cucumber is healthier. Both are healthy in their own category: fruits and vegetables. Similarly, pens and pencils in their own category have different benefits and each is great in their own right. 

Why Are Mechanical Pencils Better? 

Lead is lead until you go back and forth between using a regular pencil and a mechanical pencil. There is something very different between the two pencils. 

Mechanical pencils can be seen as the superior between the two, but why? What makes a mechanical pencil better than a regular pencil? 

The biggest difference is that a mechanical pencil doesn’t need to be sharpened. In a classroom or boardroom, mechanical pencils simply save time and are less messy than normal pencils. 

If each kid in a classroom needs to sharpen their pencil that could eat up a whole section of the day. All you need to “sharpen” a mechanical pencil is a solid click and your lead is replenished. 

This also means that the mechanical pencil won’t end up as a short stub. Mechanical pencils may need more lead, but you can keep reusing them at a proper grip length, unlike regular pencils. 

Recent Posts