Pencils

Resources

There isn’t a vast amount of information out there for pencils but
Pennaquod will let you search pen blogs for reviews of hundreds of pencils of all kinds.

Brand Name Pencils is a wonderful resource for vintage pencils.

The Erasable Podcast is a fantastic podcast all about wooden pencils.

Mechanical Pencils

Recommended

  • Faber-Castell TK Fine Vario L Mechanical Pencil Review Mechanical pencils seem to be where companies are trying out new ideas, some of which are useful, some of which are gimmicks. The snappily named Faber-Castell TK Fine Vario L features variable springiness to the tip. I was able to get this pencil at a discount thanks to Cult Pens’ support of the site. These ...
  • Kaweco Sketch Up Clutch Pencil Review and Giveaway Kaweco Sketch Up Brass and Aluminium retracted The Kaweco Sketch Up line is a range of clutch pencils available in a variety of finishes, mostly taking 5.6mm lead. (Some take 2mm lead.) There are two kinds, one with a grip section (costing around £30 in the UK) and one without (costing about £27). Here I’m reviewing an aluminium pencil with a grip ...
  • Koh-I-Noor Toison D’Or Clutch Pencil 2mm 5900 review and a sketch Koh-I-Noor Toison D'Or Clutch Pencil 2mm 5900 sketch This is the catchily named Koh-I-Noor Toison D’Or Clutch Pencil 2mm 5900. Toison D’Or means Golden Fleece and that means that this is a posh pencil (at a very reasonable price). Toison D’Or is French; Koh-I-Noor is Persian(?) for Mountain of Light (it’s a diamond) and the company is Czech. Linguistically speaking this pencil is ...
  • Pentel Graph 1000 Mechanical Pencil Review Pentel Graph 1000 mechanical pencil grip The Pentel Graph 1000 is a mechanical pencil available in several lead sizes: 0.3mm, 0.4mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 0.9mm. This is the 0.5mm version. It costs about £13 in the UK and $14 in the USA. The look and feel is very different to the pencils I usually like. The body is made from plastic and ...
  • Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil Review Pentel GraphGear 1000 review Pentel make some wonderful mechanical pencils. The Twist uses the best eraser mechanism there is, the P200 series is one of the best budget pencils and the Graph 1000 has been my top pick for quite some time. Until now. Price: £12.50 (UK), $16.50 (USA) Lead size options: 0.3mm, 0.4mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm, 0.9mm Barrel options: aluminium with grip ...
  • Pentel Twist-Erase Mechanical Pencil Review Pentel Twist Erase eraser retracted A common complaint about mechanical pencils is the paltry size of the eraser most come with. The Pentel Twist Erase tries to solve this problem in a rather clever way. Does it work? Is the pencil itself any good? Price: £5.40 (UK) Lead size options: 0.5mm, 0.7mm, 0.9mm Barrel options: Black (both sizes) or blue (0.5mm only) I’m reviewing ...
  • Platinum Pro-Use II MSD-1500 Mechanical Pencil Review Platinum Pro-Use II grade indicator The Pro-Use II has an unusual design. Most mechanical pencils are slender. This one is of more cuddly proportions. How does it shape up? I was able to get this pen at a discount thanks to Cult Pens’ support of the site. These are my own honest opinions. Price: $25 (USA) £15.50 (UK) Lead size options: 0.3, ...
  • Rotring 600 mechanical pencil review Rotring 600 clip The Rotring 600 perhaps needs no introduction. But just in case… it’s a mechanical pencil made from brass that’s available in black or silver. Different versions can take 0.35mm, 0.5mm and 0.7mm. There’s also a clutch pencil version that takes 2mm lead. It costs around £23 in the UK and $33 in the US. The pencil ...
  • Staedtler 925 25-07 mechanical pencil review Staedtler 925 25-07 mechanical pencil with logs The Staedtler 925 25-07 is a metal barrelled mechanical pencil available in 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 0.9 or 2mm versions. They can be found for around £16 in the UK or $20 in the US. This is a very well constructed pencil. There is a slight wobble to the knock but other than that everything is solid. ...
  • Staedtler Mars Technico 780C clutch pencil review Staedtler Mars Technico clutch pencil branding The Staedtler Mars Technico 780C is a 2mm clutch pencil. It has a plastic body with metal clip, knock and grip. All works as it should. The lead is held tightly, the clip is firm, there are no unfortunate rattles or wobbles. The knock includes a very functional lead pointer. This pencil is comfortable to hold and ...
  • Tombow Olno Mechanical Pencil Review Tombow Olno featuredAs you will see from the pictures, this is a pencil I’ve had for a long time. It’s a pencil that’s been used a lot in that time, too. There is a reason for that: this is a good pencil. Price: £5 (UK) $5.50 (USA) Lead size options: 0.5mm Barrel options: black/pink, blue, blue/pink, clear white (this one), ...
  • Uni Kuru Toga mechanical pencil review Uni Kuru Toga branding The Uni Kuru Toga is a mechanical pencil that’s available in a range of styles and a range of lead sizes (0.3mm, 0.5mm or 0.7mm). This is the High Grade version which costs around £16 in the UK ($24-ish). You can however buy an all plastic version for less than half that. The unique feature of ...
  • Venvstas Designer 8 Clutch Pencil Review My first experience with Venvstas was not entirely positive but since then I think they’ve worked hard to sort out initial difficulties and introduce new products, many of which look very interesting. Venvstas designed a pencil before they designed a pen, so how does this one work out? This pencil was sent to me for review ...
  • Worther Shorty clutch pencil review Worther Shorty clutch pencil deployed The Worther Shorty is a 3.15mm clutch pencil. It’s a short pencil, which is just as well else it would have a very silly name. It’s quite wide, making it a lot like a big fat chunky crayon. It’s very comfortable to hold and to use. There is a short but functional clip which is incorporated with ...

Others

Wooden Pencils

A guide to pencils for drawing.

A guide to handheld pencil sharpeners.

Recommended

  • Caran d’Ache Technalo 779 Water-Soluble Pencil Review Caran dAche Technalo review A little while ago a reader, Jennifer (who makes rather wonderful art) asked if I’d tried water-soluble graphite pencils. I’d been meaning to but hadn’t got around to it. Then, by a strange coincidence, I picked up a couple of new (to me) Caran d’Ache pencils at a local art supplies shop. One of these ...
  • Derwent Inktense Watercolour Pencils Here’s a sketch I did a few weeks ago on a sunny autumn’s day by the sea. I really enjoy this combination of ink and watercolour pencils. Using pencils rather than paint helps to stop me overworking a picture, a constant battle I have with myself. These Derwent Inktense pencils are available in seventy-two different colours ...
  • Field Notes No. 2 Pencil Review Field Notes No2 pencil branding The Field Notes No. 2 pencil is a cedar wood pencil with a groovy green eraser. They cost around £4.50 for six in the UK. This is a round pencil with a natural finish. It smells absolutely fantastic. I accept that some people may think it’s a little weird to enjoy the smell of a pencil ...
  • General’s Cedar Pointe wooden pencil review Generals Cedar Pointe pencil full length The General’s Cedar Pointe is a wooden hex pencil available, as far as I can tell, just as a No. 2/HB. They’re available for $6 for a dozen. The natural finish looks and feels fantastic. Just one side is printed on, in simple black lettering. They are mercifully barcode free. The black ferrule is looks great too ...
  • Mitsubishi 9850 Wooden Pencil Review Mitsu-Bishi 9850 pointy bit The Mitsu-bishi 9850 is a mighty fine cedar pencil with, unusually for a Japanese pencil, an eraser. It’s purpose is printed proudly on one side: “Smooth writing pencil for office use.” Price: $1 each Lead grade options: HB Barrel colours: A rather lovely maroon Barrel shape: Hexagonal Eraser?: Yes The paint is thickly applied and gorgeous. The printing is crisp, although ...
  • Mitsubishi 9852EW Wooden Pencil Review Mitsu-Bishi 9852EW review The Mitsu-Bishi 9852EW is a rare beast: a Japanese pencil with an eraser. It’s reasonably priced and is for Master Writing, whatever that is. Price: $1.30 (USA) Lead grade options: HB Barrel colours: Natural Barrel shape: Hexagonal Eraser?: Yes This pencil looks gorgeous. It’s a natural finish with crisp green writing on three sides. One side has the usual ugly looking ...
  • Musgrave Test Scoring 100 Wooden Pencil Review Musgrave Test Scoring 100 review The Musgrave Test Scoring 100 is a budget wooden pencil in a distinctive silver finish. It’s designed for filling in those little boxes you get in multiple choice tests, with extra-reflective graphite meant to be picked up more reliably by scanners. Price: $0.70 Lead grade options: just this – feels like 2B or so Barrel colours: silver Barrel shape: ...
  • Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil review Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil logo This is another lovely pencil from Palomino. The Blackwing 602 is a legendary pencil brand and people who know a lot more about it than me have written a lot more about it than I intend to. The build quality is outstanding. I still think the adjustable eraser is gimmicky but it does work reasonably well ...
  • Palomino Blackwing Pearl pencil review Palomino Blackwing Pearl pencil branding The Palomino Blackwing Pearl is the third and, currently, final Palomino Blackwing in the series. It’s harder and lighter than the Blackwing and softer and darker than the Blackwing 602. In other words, it’s in between. As such, if you are looking for a pencil to both write and sketch with, this may be a ...
  • Palomino Blackwing pencil review Palomino Blackwing pencil logo The Palomino Blackwing is a great pencil. It’s well made and exudes quality. The iconic cuboidal eraser works reasonably well. It’s adjustable, which personally I think is a little gimmicky but it does no harm. The lead is smooth and dark and absolutely lovely to sketch with. It is very soft, which means a good dark line but ...
  • Staedtler Noris Pencil Review Staedtler Noris pencil pointy bit The Staedtler Noris is a wooden pencil available with an eraser in HB or without an eraser in grades from 2B to 2H. It costs a little under 60p. These pencils can be found absolutely everywhere in the UK. Along with the slightly more expensive Tradition they are available in many high street shops and are ...
  • Tombow 2558 Wooden Pencil Review Tombow 2558 review The Tombow 2558 is a simple yellow pencil for, in Tombow’s own words, “general writing”. Price: $1 to $1.20 each Lead grade options: H, HB, B Barrel colours: Only yellow Barrel shape: Hexagonal Eraser?: Yes I love how this pencil looks. It’s a very classy shade of yellow with very crisp dark burgundy printing (except for the as always ugly barcode ...
  • Tombow Mono 100 Pencil (Re-) Review Tombow Mono 100 pencil blunt end The Tombow Mono 100 is not a cheap pencil. They cost about $2.35 in the USA and around £1.85 in the UK. There is a perfectly reasonable argument that no pencil could be worth this much. People who make this argument are wrong. I sort-of-reviewed the Tombow Mono 100 back in October 2013 but this is ...

Others

Bullet Pencils

Recommended

  • Twist Bullet Pencil Review Twist Bullet Pencil pointy bit The Twist is a modern bullet pencil made by Metal Shop. It’s available direct from their website and costs $37.50. I picked this one up a little less during their Kickstarter campaign. All pencils are delivered with two erasers and three Blackwing 602 pencil stubs. The version I’m reviewing here has a raw aluminium barrel and ...

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