I like mechanical graphite pencils (e.g. 0.5 mm), because they are sharp, they do not contain wood (are eco-friendly and do not generate any waste) and they do not require sharpening which can consume the pastel core as well. And I like pastel pencils because I like drawing small and detailed images. But why there are no best from the both worlds - mechanical pastel pencils? Or maybe there are?

Some 30-40 years ago the Soviet Union existed and I remember that they had mechanical pencils with wider cores, I don't know exactly, but they may have even 1-2mm cores and the cores could be graphite or something similar to colourful chemical pencils (watercolor pencils). I am not sure whether it was mass product and whether they were just exploring the technologies. Well - Soviet Union used lot of such pencils in postal work and so on, they had not printed labels and small-printing, that is why the writing devices should have been made and they did as they could.

3 Answers 3


There are mechanic pencils with coloured lead! Pilot has them (Pilot ENO Color Mechanical Pencil).

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    – Erica
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 14:53
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    – Erica
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 14:56
  • These aren't pastels, they're pastel colored (intended for undersketching, not coloring large areas). They're more equivalent to a Non-Photo Reproducing Blue pencil (one of the colors is, in fact, non-photo blue) than anything else, and aren't at all either a chalk or oil pastel core.
    – Allison C
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 14:56
  • There are also colored leads/graphites that you can purchase and put into any mechanical pencil; just make sure the lead/graphite is the right diameter. I've done this before, particularly with this Pilot Eno brand. It's quite nice.
    – Wimateeka
    Commented Jun 23, 2020 at 11:56

I don't know much about pastel pencils--so there could be something like a mechanical pastel pencil out there, and if so, hopefully someone will answer this question with information about such a pencil.

But, I have a hunch that they don't exist because of the different composition of the "lead" in a pastel pencil vs. that in a mechanical pencil.

I have only ever used pastel sticks, so I had to look up the details of how a pastel pencil is created. I found this description of the Caran d'Ache brand of pastel pencils on the Dick Blick website:

Caran d'Ache Pastel Pencils are made from pure raw materials to create a pastel pencil paste that is fed by hand into round moulding dies, oven-dried in special baskets, carefully glued between two strips of the finest California cedar, and cut into lengths to produce several pencils....As a final step, the pencils are sharpened in a double-cone process, a particularly delicate operation for such a fragile product

(I added the emphasis to the last line)

It sounds to me as if the ingredients that make up the "pastel pencil paste" simply don't have the structural integrity to hold together as individual sticks of lead without being enclosed inside a protective shell. Manufacturers might be able to make the pastel sticks of the appropriate shape and diameter to work inside a mechanical pencil, but those sticks might be too delicate to be transported to customers. They could also be too delicate to be able to function with the type of mechanism that advances the lead in a mechanical pencil; depending on the softness of the actual pastel lead, the compression mechanism that advances the lead in a standard mechanical pencil might actually crack/shatter/smoosh (that last is a scientific term) the pastel lead.

I know, for example, that my regular pencil sharpener does not work well to sharpen my colored pencils, which are wax based--I actually have a special sharpener designed to work with colored pencils that is MUCH more effective. My guess is that there is something similar going on with the pastel pencils that mean that they simply cannot work with the mechanisms in a mechanical pencil.


I agree with @magerber. There are a couple reasons why.

1: It's soft. Having it in such a small diameter would most likely break it.

2:You want a wider tip for coloring areas like that. Have you ever tried doing any piece of art with just a mechanical pencil? It takes forever, and the shading is difficult.

3: If you made a piece that was wide enough, the pencil would have to be wide too. It would almost be as big as a clutch pencil.

4: Changing colors. Think about how many times you change colors when you do a piece of art. Taking out a color, then putting another in, then getting the right length would take a lot of time.

5: Grip. Grip is how well a mechanical or clutch pencil can hold the graphite under pressure without it sliding back in. For a lot of mechanical pencils, the lead will break, and for clutch pencils, it will let it slide back in so that you don't damage the graphite. For pastel, the pencil wouldn't be able to grip it and hold it, and the end inside would get all chewed up and slide back in.

So these are the reasons I could think of, but I'm sure that soon, someone will overcome all of these obstacles and make something like this.

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