A Week of Pencils

Week of pencils

I was very fortunate to be able to visit Italy again this year, for nine days at the end of August. I know I’m among friends here, so I can admit that I spent quite a long time before the trip trying to decide which pens to take. In fact, I was spending far too much time trying to decide, which led me to the conclusion that the only solution was to not take any at all. This is how my mind works sometimes. I don’t know why. This is how I came to spend a week (and two days) using only pencils.

Week of pencils lineup

This is what I took. This is my version of travelling light. There are twenty pencils there, plus a KUM brass sharpener and my lovely Chocolate Brownie Mini Pencil Case.

I didn’t get to use all of them. (Obviously. I mean, twenty pencils for nine days.)

Of the ones I did try, these are the pencils I really enjoyed.

Week of pencils the best

From top to bottom: Palomino Blacking 725; Tombow 2558, Mitsubishi 9850, Musgrave Bugle, Tombow 8900, Mitsubishi 9000, Mitsubishi 9852EW. With the exception of the Bugle, they all have beautifully smooth lead and gorgeous finishes. The Bugle has fairly average lead but for some reason I really fell for it. It’s a charming pencil.

A couple were a little middling. Not bad pencils but nothing special.

Week of pencils the middling

The top one is the Nataraj Neon. A gorgeous colour but very average lead. The bottom one is the Caran d’Ache Edelweiss, which is all around average.

Unfortunately there were two I didn’t enjoy at all.

Week of pencils the worst

The top pencil is the Viarco Premium. The lead was too soft and chalky for an HB and the finish wasn’t at all premium. The Koh-I-Noor 1500 was a huge disappointment. I’m a huge fan of Koh-I-Noor clutch pencils but this wooden pencil had very poor lead.

I found it a hugely enjoyable using so many lovely pencils but I won’t be doing this again. Perhaps you won’t find this as surprising as I did, but the thing about pencils is they are very grey. Whilst the writing experience is pleasant, you are left with page after page of greyness. The first thing I did when I got home was ink up a pen with this.

Week of pencils what I took


  1. I’m in the middle of a month using only pencils, and I’m starting to suffer from color withdrawal. It’s fun to play around with lots of pencils and see how/where they can fit into my daily carry, but I’ll be excited to get back to ink in October.

    Also, you’ve convinced me that I *need* that pencil case… 🙂

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