The Onyx+Green HB Recycled Newspaper pencil is my personal favorite. A 10 pack is available here on Amazon. At about $1, I don’t have much to say about this pencil. It is simple, with a glossy newspaper reminiscent round body printed in white with the words “Onyx+Green, HB” and their logo, a leaf. The ferrule is a simple silver, holding in a white eraser. It writes like a normal HB pencil, making slightly sharper lines than a Ticonderoga. The magic comes when you sharpen the pencil, though. It is made of recycled newspaper, as the name implies, wrapped again and again around the graphite core. This creates an effect when the pencil is fully sharpened where it appears that there are many lines of different colors, which looks, frankly, awesome. It also feels good to sharpen. Overall, I give this pencil five stars, for performing well and looking even better. I recommend it to anyone looking for a solid writing pencil, not too expensive, that looks really cool and is fun to show off.
Bonus: It also works well for shading.
The Viarco Art Graf Soft Carbon Water Soluble pencil is one of my personal favorites for drawing and sketching. You can get it here at CW Pencil Enterprises. When writing or drawing with the Art Graf, you might notice that it feels more like a crayon than a pencil. A normal pencil is made with graphite, which is a type of carbon. The Art Graf is soft carbon, which is a material that feels like wax. The Art Graf makes a very dark but not incredibly sharp line that is great for touching up a drawing with very, very dark accents. The lead stick inside the pencil is very thick, as you can see in the upper right picture below, which looks very interesting and makes the pencil last longer. The body is round and black, embossed in gold writing. It is the width of a standard pencil. The Viarco Art Graf is labeled as “water soluble” for a reason, though. When a small amount of water is rubbed on top of the pencil marks on the paper, it spreads like a watercolor. Artists using watercolor could easily use this as a very dark black for dark shading, as black watercolor cannot easily be pure black – it usually turns grey when the water is added. There is no eraser or ferrule. Overall, I give this pencil five stars for having no cons and numerous pros. I highly recommend this pencil for watercolor artists and people looking for a dark alternative to charcoal, but also to anyone looking for a fun pencil that you can play around with.
Random Note: The metal on the back of a pencil that holds in the eraser is called a ferrule.
The Tombow Mono 100 HB pencil, available here on Amazon, and here on CW Pencils if you would like to purchase them single, is a pencil costing roughly $3, and is one of my favorites. With a black hexagonal body and beautiful writing abilities, I almost have no cons. First of all, this pencil writes impeccably. The lines are practically smudgeless, even though they are dark and smooth. They are also very fine, even if the pencil has not recently been sharpened. This pencil works for shading, drawing, and writing, but is primarily intended for drafting, as it is a drafting pencil. There is no eraser on the back of this pencil, but instead a cylindrical attachment to the hexagonal body with a white line running across it; a very pretty design. A gold line separates this from the body. The pencil is black, and slightly slippery when used during long periods of writing time, but that is true with most pencils, so that will not affect the rating at all. These pencils are relatively light, about the weight of a normal no. 2 Dixon pencil, which is my one problem. I prefer just slightly heavier pencils, so this is not the perfect weight. Everything else is great, though, and the smudgeless lines work well for lefties. (I am one, and this pencil works well for me.) Overall, I give the Tombow Mono 100 HB five stars, for writing beautifully and having almost no flaws. It is available at good prices, and a HIGH recommendation to my readers.
P.S. It also sharpens flawlessly.
The Tombow Mono Smart Plastic Eraser, available here on Amazon, is an eraser costing about $3, and can be purchased at cheaper prices at Tombowusa.com. It is a small white eraser, 5.5 mm wide, and is intended for precision erasing. It works very well for erasing small chunks, and is significantly better at erasing words than shaded areas or drawings. It thoroughly gets rid of pencil marks when new, but as the corners and edges dull from use, the erasing quality becomes worse and worse. It stays in the same area of how much it erases, but it very slowly deteriorates. It never erases downright badly, though. It is not at all good eraser to use for erasing large amounts of pencil, so if that is what you are looking for, this eraser is not for you. Since it is small in width, the eraser goes away fairly quickly, so one large mark you choose to erase could leave you with 3/4 of the eraser. The white plastic eraser comes in a cardboard case, which protects the body from being damaged while you are erasing, and, frankly, looks good. You do have to press down relatively hard to get the best erasing from this product, which is never a positive thing. Overall, I give this eraser three and a half stars, because although it erases small amounts of pencil marks very well, it is used up much too quickly, and it deteriorates over time. I do recommend this eraser for the price, but if you get them and intend to use them for a while, get them in bulk here on Amazon.
I am sorry that I have not been keeping up with my blog at all lately, but I intend to get back on track in the next few months. I have recently started looking into pencils, (wood pencils) and I am going to do some reviews on them and the commodities that go along with them, like sharpeners and erasers! My first wood pencil that I will post about is a very expensive one – but maybe worth the money. At around $4.50, the Caran D’Ache Swiss Wood HB pencil is available here on Amazon but also here on CW Pencil Enterprises for a much better price. To me, this pencil writes very well when sharp, but when the tip starts to dull, it feels very hard and is not pleasurable to write with. The lines will start to get thicker which makes writing less precise- and, to me, worse all around. The lines created are slightly darker then the normal HB, but it feels the same for the most part. The wood feels nice enough, but is nothing special to the touch. The thing that I liked most about this pencil, though, is the weight. Most pencils are very light, which is tolerable, but might get annoying after writing for a while. The Swiss Wood pencil has an incredible weight – perfect for writing for long periods of time. It is about the weight of two or three normal pencils, which is very nice. Aesthetically, this pencil is a beauty, with a rustic wooden body and a red back with the Swiss flag cross on it. The Caran D’Ache symbol appears to be painted on, as well as the rest of the words on the pencil, and that provides a nice touch. Also, I am a lefty, and this pencil does not smudge very much at all. Overall, I give the Caran D’Ache Swiss Wood pencil four stars. It has a great weight and is aesthetically pleasing, but it feels a lot like writing with a Dixon Ticonderoga, and when it is dull, it is not fun to write with. One tip that you might have seen in the CW pencil shop – the pencil smells like brown sugar, especially the tip because it is the inside of the wood exposed. I do recommend this pencil to anyone looking for a pencil with a good weight, but frankly, it is too expensive. Thank you, and I will have more pencil posts coming out soon!
I am so sorry that I have not been up to date on my blog recently, and the reason for this is that I have not had any good pens to review! Recently, though, I came across a non-luxury pen that has blown me away. Pigma Micron pens are all over, in little places such as book and stationary stores around the globe. The one that I stumbled upon, though, was a 0.05 mm fineliner that drew lines so thin that it might as well have been a mechanical pencil. The grip was standard, not anything special, but it worked just fine. The only real downside to this pen is the weight. It is incredibly light, which is not ideal for most pen connoisseurs, but this light weight should be expected from a roughly $2.50 pen. The Pigma Micron writes surprisingly smoothly for a fineliner, and the ink is very dark, even in the finest lines. I recommend this pen for sketching, although is could easily be used for writing, as the ink is very easy to see. Overall, I give The Pigma Micron 0.05 mm fineliner 4.5 out of 5 stars, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good pen for sketching that can be bought in bulk.
P.S: I hope to crank out one or maybe even two more posts by Monday!