Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pencil Geeks

I am such a pencil geek. Some of my artist friends are mad for ink pens. My friend, Janet Takahashi, has an amazing collection of inkwells. Me, I am always searching for the perfect pencil.

Keep your diamonds, my idea of heaven is They recently did a re-release of the Blackwing pencil, used by all the animators in the fifties and sixties. The original 602, had a buttery smooth dark line that was the stuff of legends. Last year the Palomino Pencil Co. put out a Blackwing version that was very lovely but the lead was too soft for daily use, at least for me.

Now they've come out with a new version with a black erasure and the original inscription, "Half the pressure, twice the speed" which has a better lead, in my opinion. Still dark and smooth but not so soft that it can't keep a point or smudge too easily.

My current super favorite for everyday drawing is the California Republic Golden Bear, beautiful line, great eraser and not expensive. Love, love, love.

Here are a  couple pictures of animators Bob Singer and Kim Dwinell testing pencils at the last Studio Five meeting.
 Bob talked about bunny character design and sampling the Golden Bear 2B.

Kim showed us how Disney animators would always have a scratch pad handy to keep the point sharp.

What are you mad for? What do you collect?



  1. I have so many nice pencils... in a drawer... across the room. I like them, but I always reach for a BiC mechanical pencil. I dunno, there's just something about how light it is, the thin lead and I even love the eraser. And an added plus... a pack of 20 for $3 goes a looooong way :)

  2. I once read that Charles Schulz would only draw with a particular pen or pencil, and when the company went bust, he bought up all their stock, and it lasted him until he died.. :)

  3. Celia, I'll have to ask Mrs. Shultz about that. I'm going back up to the museum in December to speak again. I know that a couple of artists from my Studio group got together and bought a box of Waverly pen nibs, the kind that Quentin Blake uses. (He illustrated all of Roald Dahl's books.) I'll have to do a test drive of that one vs. Schulz' Kohinoor.


  4. Found it! It's mentioned in Peanuts, The Art of Charles M. Schulz. There's a photo of a box from a company called "R. Esterbrook & Co." and it says.. "He used a 914 Radio, and relied on these pen nibs so much that when the company announced it was going out of business, he bought the entire remaining stock. The hundreds of boxes saw him through the rest of his career."


    Celia x