Here are some of the drawing materials I use. Basically, I do not want to recommend a certain brand or label. It is best to try different materials, experiment a bit and find out what suits you best. In any decent art store you should get good advice.
Graphit Pencil Drawing Tools:
all sorts of pencils; blending stumps, cotton pads
kneaded eraser, conventional eraser;
pencil sharpener, sandpaper; paper knife and fixative
Pencil grades range from 9B (Blackness, soft) to 9H (Hardness, light).
The pencils I use the most are 2B and 3B. For dark areas 4B - 9B (very dark) and for light areas HB to 4h (my hardest pencil e.g. for very light hair). More see tones.
Kneaded Eraser / Eraser:
I usually use a kneaded eraser, only rarely a conventional eraser.
The advantages: A kneaded eraser does not smudge (see below), does not roughen the paper, is kneadable and leaves no particles behind.
Blending Stumps, Cotton Swamps & Pads:
You can achieve various effects with blending, shiny effects. I recommend to practice shading first before you use these tools (to prevent "smudging").
Paper: For my drawings I use qualtiy
bristol board 625g/m² or 900g/m². It's
a smooth heavy-weight paper.
Especially for realistic drawings and blending it's good to have a relatively smooth surface, but not too smooth . If the paper is too grainy or uneven it's hard to draw details and blend. For sketches any copy paper, a good sketch book or any bristol board is good.
Fixative: I spray all my drawings with a Fixative to better preserve it and prevent smudging. Sometime it takes extra layers especially with very dark tones.
Sandpaper: is necessary to clean blending stumps and somtimes to sharpen (pastel) pencils
Pencil Sharpener: I prefer a simple metal pencil sharpener. If your pencils break often it can also be because of a dull sharpener.
So far I received the best results with Prismacolor Colored Pencils. The are very soft and it's easy to apply several layers.
They have a tendency to break easily, but since I starded using an eyeliner sharpener I haven't had any problems.
Pastel pencil and crayon:
I use a mixture of various Pastel Pencils and Pastel Crayons.