All pencils contain graphite, but graphite for drawing pencils contains a filler that combines with the graphite to affect hardness. The softest standard of pencil is 9b, with the hardest labeled 9h. An average writing pencil has a grade of “hb,” which is mid-range for hardness. Artists use graphite for its affordability and ease of use; its versatility makes graphite the medium of choice for finely detailed portraiture and realistic renditions.