A B represents darkness; a B-grade pencil has more graphite and produces a bolder, darker line. The softer and darker the lead, the higher the matching number. As a result, a 9B pencil is the softest and darkest available. B leads smudge easily but erase easily. They are good for drawing and writing practice exercises.
There are two types of 9B pencils: standard and extra-black. Standard 9B pencils are gray on one side and black on the other. Extra-black 9Bs are completely black; they do not come in gray or white. These are useful when you need to hide marks made with previous drawings/writings.
9B is the darkest pencil available in the U.S.; 7H is the darkest in Europe. The name "7H" comes from the fact that it takes seven hours of continuous light exposure to fully darken the wood casing around the lead core.
The term "pencil" actually refers to a family of products whose quality and performance can vary greatly. For example, there are mechanical pencils and liquid pencils. Mechanical pencils have a built-in mechanism that provides constant pressure as you draw so your lines will be consistent and thin. Liquid pencils don't work like this; they require you to push down on the top of the tube to get a mark.
B9 is the most delicate and dark. The lightest and hardest graphite pencil is 9H. As a result, a B6 is softer and darker than a B2. A 6H pencil is harder and lighter than a 2H pencil, and it is significantly harder and lighter than an HB or B pencil. 6B is more difficult to draw with than 6H because of its slower lead velocity.
There are many other grades of pencils that fall in the middle of the B series. For example, an H7 is very hard like an HB, but not as soft as a B. An 8B is very smooth like an B, but not as hard as an HB. Each time you add a number to the end of the grade, such as 7H, 8B, and 9B, the lead becomes softer and darker. Finally, any pencil higher than 9B is called a contour pencil because they are used to render the edges of objects on a page.
Contour drawings must be done with great care because even though they look three-dimensional, they are actually two-dimensional. Therefore, you should always shade inside objects and avoid leaving white space between pieces of paper when drawing contours.
The darkest graphite pencil there is no such thing. Any graphite pencil can be used to create darkness on paper, but some are better at this task than others.
The harder a pencil is, the more H's it has. This indicates that a 4H pencil is tougher than a 2H pencil and hence lighter. This indicates that a 5B pencil is softer than a 2B pencil, and the 5B makes a darker imprint. The 7B pencil is the softest and darkest of the standard pencils (8B and 9XXB pencils are even softer and darker).
Hardness ratings range from 1H (the softest) to 9H (the hardest). A rating of 8B means that the pencil is hard enough to leave an indent when pressed flat against a surface but not so hard that it breaks when further pressure is applied. Standard pencil hardness ranges from 2B (a little softer than 1H) up to 7B (much harder than 9H).
There are also special-use pencils such as chisel points, drafting pencils, mechanical pencils, and pens. These differ in hardness and other properties for specific uses. For example, a chisel point is designed to make fine, delicate drawings. A drafting pencil is very hard, used for measuring small distances on drawings or plans. A mechanical pencil can be used like a regular pencil but with a built-in mechanism that allows you to give extra strokes for longer writing.
Pens come in many shapes and sizes. There are technical pens used by engineers and designers, felt-tip pens used for handwriting, and ink pens used for painting on paper. Each type of pen has its own advantages for certain types of drawing or writing.