Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Pushing Pencils



As a long time doodler, I’ve mostly preferred the use of pens and markers but more recently, I’ve started to enjoy working with pencils for both writing and drawing. I like smooth, dark leads and working with grades B, 2B and 4B. I haven’t chosen a favorite brand, so my pencil case includes Rhodia, Staedtler, California Palomino, and the Palomino Blackwing. I also have mechanical pencils filled with .07 2B leads and recently purchased a drafting pencil from our friends at JetPens. Some day I’d like to try the Tombow Mono 100 and the Blackwing 602 but I can’t find anyone who sells them individually.

What are your favorite pencils? Do you use them for writing, drawing, or both?

12 thoughts on “Pushing Pencils

  1. I really like the Camel 60 HB’s from Japan but unfortunately I have no idea where to buy them except for one stationery store in Amherst. And of course I use Rhodia pencils too, love the rich dark line they lay down. I’m not a graphic artist by any means but I write quite a lot and use pencils for first drafts, so those are my go-to pencils.

  2. has a sample pack with various pencils – including two versions of the Blackwing. $7.95 for the samples. I liked the Forest Choice pencil the best – and it’s very inexpensive. I don’t draw but I do write a lot during the day. I’m on a pencil kick now. Try a “Testing” pencil. They are creamy smooth and you can pick up a dozen for $4.

  3. I am a total pencil junky at this point…have way too many. I do a tiny bit of doodling, but my artistic skills are lacking at best. Mostly I use pencils for writing, and generally tend toward plain HB: lately the top contenders have been Forest Choice, Palomino Golden Bear, General’s Semi-Hex, and Ticonderoga (the Made in China ones: the Mexican ones are scratchy, for some reason). For softer/darker pencils, I really like the Musgrave Test Scoring 100s. I also have some of General’s Test Scoring pencils. They’re nice, but wear quickly.

    I have a few Palominos and Palomino Blackwing 602s, and they really are nice, but I’m a bit intimidated by them!

    I carry mechanical pencils when I’m out and about, mostly a Pentel Sharp Kerry (the cap makes it a great purse or pocket pencil) and a Pentel Graphgear 1000, both .5. I have Pentel Ain Stein B leads in one and 2B in the other, but there isn’t a huge difference that I can see.

  4. Favorite drawing pencils would be the Mitsubishi Hi-Uni and the Tombow Mono 100 in the B grades. Just e-mail your shipping address, and I will send you a couple of samples from my graphite stash.

  5. I’m currently using Staedtler and Derwent pencils for writing, especially journaling, and also for sketches and finished drawings.

  6. The ones I buy the most, oddly enough, were never for writing. Faber Casell 4h, they sharpen to nice fine tip and are good for marking in razor blade cut lines on wood. When you want to get a really nice accurate edge when woodworking, you cut the piece just a little over and then scribe a line at the exact length you need with a surgeons scalpel or similarly sharp blade. You then run a line with the pencil in that groove. Next you sand the piece, the instant the line disappears, you have your piece to length. :) Old patternmaker’s trick.

  7. I really love the Mitsubishi 9800 HB pencil. Unfortunately, I cannot draw to save my life so I only use them for writing.

  8. Dick Blick has open stock of Tombow, Prismacolor Turquoise and Kimberly. General’s make some very nice pencils. I’ve been trying different pencils lately. Amazing how much difference there is between brands. Kinda fun to try different brands. Not all 2B are created alike. The paper makes a difference too.

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


A modern notebook since 1934

Buy Rhodia