When I was little, my mom scolded me for putting the tip of a pencil in my mouth,
warning that I would get lead poisoning.
I got the same warnings from teachers.
Since then I've learned that pencils are not made from lead.
Pencil cores are made from a mix of graphite (carbon) powder and clay.
They are minimally toxic or non-toxic depending on who you ask.
Artists have been using pencils for both quick sketches and finished drawings.
I like them for quick sketches.
Next up for portraits: colored pencil