Faber-Castell


Noblesse De Mine

Sabine Syfuss-Arnaud published another pencil-related article in the leading French business magazine Challenges. I didn’t know what kind of article this one would become, but it looks great.

The magazine is out now.

I can’t resist writing this: Faber-Castell has a silver pocket pencil from 1890. A photo of that pocket pencil would have fitted so well with this article.


Challenges 3

Recently, I had the pleasure of talking to Sabine Syfuss-Arnaud, a journalist from the leading French business magazine Challenges. She was writing an article about Faber-Castell and its new CEO Daniel Rogger.

We talked about his plans for China and the factories in Germany, Brazil and China. You might have guessed that I had to mention Staedtler in that conversation (of course) before we talked about what makes the best pencils and other topics.

Challenges N°545 – 7 Décembre 2017

Her article is out now (Challenges N°545 – 7 Décembre 2017).


Bleistift’s Birthday Party 9

As mentioned previously work is keeping me more than busy at the moment, so there won’t be many blog posts for a while (probably until January or February). I do still spend some time on my stationery hobby, but it is just to manage the Stationery Wiki – in your average week, there’s actually more spam added, which needs removing, than real content.

The sign is really big. Bigger than A4.

I am very happy to see that despite the lack of new posts there are still comments being left at this blog and even happier to see that a gift arrived at Bleistift HQ, just in time for today’s eight birthday of this blog. Thank you, Tg Das Drehmoment, who send these treasures from Berlin.

I’m very much looking forward to next year when I hope there will be months with up to 15 blog posts again, rather than the current very occasional posts.

PS: You can see the fitting pencils for the Faber-Castell sign in the Jubilator blog post. I wonder whether the sign is from Faber-Castell’s 222nd birthday in 1983.


Fake! 6

This is a public service announcement. <Muzak playing in the background>

Many of our citizens have already been affected by a new type of fraud. The shameless fraudster don’t stop their relentless efforts to cheat us out of our well deserved stationery, working on schemes to exploit our deep desires for luxurious writing instruments.

The latest victim of the fraudsters is one of the staple pencils found in the office supply cabinet of bankers and dictators of small countries, the Graf von Faber-Castell Eine Cassette * hochfeiner Taschenbleistifte * Nr. II, versilbert.

Luckily, the forger behind this fake pencil that offers incredible resemblance to the original Graf von Faber-Castell made a tiny, but important mistake. This means that the fake pencil can be spotted without the need for carbon dating:
Unlike the real pencil, which is inscribed “Graf von Faber-Castell” the forger must have been a bit too much of a Tom Selleck fan and inscribed the cap ‘Magnum’. Open the picture in a new tab to compare the details. They also seem to have used a TiTi Kyung In T-Prime which had repeated appearances in this blog since 2009.

If you have any tips that could lead to the arrest of the forger please contact the Posh Stationery department of your local anti fraud organisation.


Just to spell it out to avoid misunderstandings: I can’t say this is a popular pencil (it’s not a popular Montblanc model) so I doubt anyone (other than myself for the photos in this blog post) would create a fake version.


Traces of graphite – Oriana Fenwick

Today: a very special traces of graphite post that has been in the making since April. I won’t introduce the artist – if you don’t recognise the name you will soon find out where you might have seen her work.

Bleistift Blog:

Thank you very much for agreeing to answer these questions. Could you please introduce yourself and your work and tell us where people might have seen your work?

Oriana Fenwick:

Hi there. My name is Oriana Fenwick, I am a freelance illustrator from Zimbabwe currently living and working in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. My illustrations are done to 99% using pencil, sometimes I go wild and create the other 1% with colour pencils. I have mainly worked for magazines and newspapers in the past. My clients include Die Zeit, football magazine 11 Freunde, Air Canada, DWELL and publishing house Rowohlt. One recent project I was particularly happy to be involved in was the book “The Pencil Perfect” for Gestalten Books.

Bleistift Blog:

How long does it take to draw an illustration of the size and complexity found in “The Pencil Perfect” and is there an illustration in this book that you are especially proud of?

Oriana Fenwick:

The time I need per illustration can vary immensely. The more simple drawings with straight forward lines and subtle contrasting I could complete in about two hours. The longest I needed for an illustration in this book was about two days. It gets especially tricky when I have to reproduce typo, taking into consideration all the other details that usually go along with that.

I think there are two drawings I had most fun completing in “The Pencil Perfect” and of which I especially liked the outcome. The one is of a series of pencil stubs and the other an image of Walt Disney drawing Mickey Mouse in his studio.

Walt Disney (image © Oriana Fenwick / Gestalten)

Bleistift Blog:

Are there specific techniques you use when drawing and are there any favourite tools / pencils you like to use?

Oriana Fenwick:

My drawing technique is pretty straightforward. I usually go about the main structure of the image using HB pencils, I never use anything harder than that. All of the shading and contrasting is then done afterwards using any grade as of 3B up to 6B. In order to get a surface to look especially smooth I criss-cross the lines until I can’t see the individual strokes anymore. My favourite brand is Faber-Castell1 – I seldom use anything else. And yes: I do rub out sometimes!

If I know that the original drawing is going to be used then I tend to spray the picture after completing it. When I do drawings for digital purposes then I make sure to put them in protective covers once I’ve finished drawing, scanning etc, so I don’t necessarily spray them in that case.

Bleistift Blog:

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions and for giving us a glimpse into the world of a famous illustrator.

Pencil Stubs (image © Oriana Fenwick / Gestalten)


I would like to thank Ms Fenwick for patiently answering my questions. You can find her web site at oriana-fenwick.com.

If you are interested in similar blog posts have a look at the Traces of graphite category.

As usual: please open the images in a new tab to see them in high resolution.

If you are interested in a comparison: Below you will find the photo that was used as a basis for one of the illustrations in the Pencil Perfect book. The photo of Walt Disney is used under the same conditions as the images in Duckipedia, as discussed with Egmon Ehapa.

Walt Disney (image © Disney)

  1. The Castell 9000 specifically. []