Try Your Hand
If you live in an area where there's a paper specialty store, you'll want to stop by at some point. Take the time to feel the paper, to note its grain and texture. There's more to paper than meets the eye!
Any #2 pencil will work, but if you're going out for a pad of paper anyway, do yourself a favor and get some mechanical pencils. In the past, these were used mostly for drafting, but they're readily available and are great for drawing. They make a clean, consistent line that can be varied with pressure. Plus, they never need sharpening!
Look for a pencil with a smooth barrel that feels good in your hand. Mechanical pencil leads come with different thicknesses and hardnesses; a good choice is a variety of 0.5 leads in a range of hardnesses. For starters, HB and B will do; they are less smudgy than a standard #2 pencil, although a B is more smudgy than an HB.
Mechanical pencil leads are labeled as to thickness and hardness on their little storage boxes. Check to make sure that the pencil barrel and thickness of lead correspond. It is handy to have a pencil for each hardness that you want to use. You can also buy the pencils in a variety of colors to color code the hardnesses you are using so you know which is which.
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