Monthly Archives: January 2016

Graf von Faber-Castell Journal and Paper 1

gvfc-journal1Today: a noble notebook and pencil.

Graf von Faber-Castell, that’s Faber-Castell’s posh product line started in 1993. Back then our favourite count, Anton-Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell, introduced this line as part of Faber-Castell’s reorientation. As a pencil enthusiast, I am quite happy that the Graf von Faber-Castell line has not neglected the humble pencil. There was a Graf von Faber-Castell version with only an eraser cap, a pencil extender and the perfect pencil and there were some other pencils along the way, like the fluorescent Graf von Faber-Castells.

This Graf von Faber-Castell Journal and Pencil set is available for free with most purchases from The Pen Company’s Graf von Faber-Castell line. I got it free of charge when I recently placed an order with them.



The pencil included in this set is one of their fluted pencils with a silver plated end cap. I assume it is silver plated, not solid silver but I am not 100% sure. These pencils are a bit harder than the very old Graf von Faber-Castell pencils, but certainly softer than a Faber-Castell HB pencil. In any case, they are a pleasure to write with while keeping the point fairly well.


gvfc-pencilThe notebook you get is clothbound and has thick, creamy paper in a kind of slightly yellow shade of light beige. It feels quite different to the ordinary white from most notebooks. Despite the smooth surface, the paper is taking the graphite on very well. I am spelling this out because some smooth paper, like the one found in the original Field Notes, is very smooth and doesn’t work well with pencils – as if the paper is too smooth and not abrasive enough to get the graphite off the pencil and onto the paper. This Graf von Faber-Castell paper does, however, feel very smooth to the touch but is ‘abrasive’ enough for use with HB pencils. The writing experience on this paper is just excellent. It’s a shame you can’t buy these individually, but since they’ve been around for at least five years I hope that we will still see this notebook as part of some special offers in the future.

This blog post has been published on The Pen Company’s Blog, too. Just to spell it out, I have not received any money for writing this blog post.

Castell of the Woods

Another appearance of Michael Wood at Bleistift, but unlike last time you won’t see a Staedtler Noris in his latest documentary The Story of China. Instead you’ll see Dr YiJie Zhuang using a Faber-Castell Castell 9000.


Image © Maya Vision / BBC

I believe that the use of the the screen shot of the Castell 9000, taken from Michael Wood’s The Story of China falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

Pencil Pot Of The Month – January 2016

My Pencil mug

My Pencil mug


Description: A glazed ceramic mug

Material: Ceramic

Further information: I bought this mug in December in Carrefour in Shanghai’s HongKou Dragon Dream Shopping Centre for ¥14.90 (~$2.25; £1.60; €2.10). The print on the mug says “My Pencil” on one side and “Happy Hour” on the other.

Price: December 2015

Exchange rates: January 2016

Please also have a look at Lexikaliker’s pencil pot of the month.

Anton-Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell

What a sad occasion to write a blog post. As you have probably already heard: , our favourite count1 died today.

His influence on the pencil world has been immense: In 1978 he started running Faber-Castell and among other things he introduced the Perfect Pencil and the Graf von Faber-Castell product line.

A signed book from the count. I got it from Sean.

A signed book from the count. I got it from Sean.

Goodbye. I will miss you.


If you understand German and would like to know more about him and Faber-Castell: there is a 45 minute documentary from German broadcaster ARD online.

…and there’s of course also Sean’s amazing adventure in Stein.

  1. Usual disclaimer as mentioned previously: He is not really a count. According to Part 2, Section 1, Article 109(2) of the Weimar Constitution privileges based on birth or social status and titles of nobility were abolished in the Weimar Republic in 1919. Graf (Count) is just part of his surname. In reality no one seems to care about this rule though. []

More pencil stuff… 1

Top Gear

Top Gear seems to be a world wide phenomenon. If you haven’t come across it yet, it’s a car show. One of the hosts of the UK version, James May, is not only reviewing cars on the official Top Gear web site… Here’s his review of Ferrari pencils ((Some images of the Ferrari pencils would have been nice, though)).


Pen and paper apps

When I went to the Google Play store on my Android phone I noticed an app that promises to make your handwriting look nicer in-app than on paper. I tried it out and it looks as the app just does what made me interested in flex nib fountain pens in the first place. It makes upward strokes thin and downward strokes wide. An effect you can also get with pencils, but it requires more control compared to using a flex nib fountain pen. The writing produced by this app reminds me very much of the ‘handwriting’ used in products an in promotional material by British supermarket chain Waitrose. Until I saw this app I thought the Waitrose material is done with a flex nib, but now I think it was done using software… Things look much ’rounder’ when written with the software, compared to a fountain pen.



As far as I can tell this app is not available for iOS, but I am sure there is similar stuff out there.


Pencil art

I usually restrict posts about pencils used for art to the Bleistift Facebook page, like this post, but since I’m posting today anyway: Some fantastic pencil works from Taiwanese artist Chien Chu Lee are pictured in this My Modern Met article.

Image © Chien Chu Lee

Image © Chien Chu Lee

I believe that the use of the image from Chien Chu Lee, shown in this blog post, falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.