I've been meaning to share this article with you for some time, and I'm finally taking care of some "to-do" list items! http://wonderstreet.com/blog/choosing-the-best-pencil
As always, "the best pencil" is a very personal thing, of course, and depends as much on what you're doing at the time as it does the person using it. I recently rediscovered one of my mentor Ann Zwinger's favorite pencils, a Berol Turquoise HB--I treasure the two I had hoarded, and was afraid to use them much, but picked one up at the cabin recently and loved it, all over again.
(Unfortunately, we discovered when we went to buy more that Turquoise is now made by Prismacolor, and though they're okay--they're not the same.)
These days, when I'm sketching in my journal, it's most often a Pentel Forte HB or B mechanical pencil, with that nice soft white vinyl eraser. Convenient, versatile, no need to sharpen, and with enough range of value to satisfy me.
And sometimes, I love the pick up a dark-colored Prismacolor and add watercolor wash...an old favorite technique.
What's your favorite pencil? What do you pick up most often?