Recently, Roberto, a reader of my blog from Venice contacted me. He has been collecting pencils since 1985 and by now owns around 9000 pencils. His collection tells 120 years of history of this wonderful writing instrument.
He showed me an Italian article about his pencil collection which features some impressive and rare pencils – but he is not just collecting pencils, he is also using them for his drawings. His appreciation for this drawing tool is what started his collection in the first place.
He kindly allowed me to show you some of his beautiful drawings. Have a look at them, as well as the first page of the article I mentioned in the picture gallery below.
For many years there hasn’t been much going on in terms of new Caran d’Ache mechanical pencils. There is a lot of choice when it comes to ballpoint pens but there wasn’t much to look at in terms of affordable (<£50) mechanical pencils (there are unusually many in the ‘above £500’ range, though).
In recent years this changed to some extent with the 849 mechanical pencil being available in a few new colours and editions, e.g. Black Code. There are, however, not many shops here in the UK that actually stock these.
Today a new pencil joined the Caran d’Ache offering, available in a set with a ballpoint pen as a limited edition, the Set Fresher.
I am happy to see more mechanical pencils from Caran d’Ache, even though it is basically just the same pencil in different colours. I wish they’d do something else, e.g. offering a 0.5 mm version, but for now, just seeing more colours are a nice change.
Caran d’Ache seems to be starting the different colour limited editions game for their mechanical pencils and lead holders, or maybe not starting it but taking it up a notch, while Lamy is by now really good at the ‘new colour game’. Every time I think I won’t buy another Safari they come up with more good colours: last year the re-release of the original colours, this year the beautiful strawberry and cream colours, with matching clip etc.
Kaweco is also really good at this, with a mix of happy affordable colours and more posh looking ones that are slightly more expensive.
In terms of new innovation there have also been some news.
The new Kurutoga Dive is not only rotating the lead like previous versions, but is also advancing it. It is a capped and a limited edition. I wonder if the cap is there to protect the mechanism when not in use. Maybe the front is not as sturdy (in the current version) as previous Kurutogas with less complicated mechanisms. If that’s the case there might be a regular version without a cap in the future. This thought might explain why this is a limited edition: maybe they want to see first how this mechanism fares in the real world, or the manufacturing process isn’t automated enough for mass market production and some manual labour is currently involved in assembly which doesn’t make it quite mass market ready yet….
I believe that the use of the images in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.
Another Noris in the Wild. This time from the cover of a single by indie-pop band Von Wegen Lisbeth. I got to know the band because of their song on the Crucchi Gang album and noticed that their latest single features what is unmistakably a Staedtler Noris.
I believe that the use of the cover of this single falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.
Thanks to Shangching from East…West…Everywhere my family got a parcel with some nice stationery surprises and our son, and by extension I, were able to try out Tombow’s ippo! pencils for school children as well as the corresponding eraser.
My understanding is that the pencils from this set aim at being easily erasable, so they have soft leads that produced nice, dark lines and the special eraser makes it easy for kids to erase any mistakes cleanly and nice, making the page ready for the next attempt.
Like many other Tombow pencils, the ippo! pencils, this set came with two in red, two in blue, two in yellow, are all made in Vietnam. The eraser was manufactured in Japan.
Hats off to Tombow, this set definitely achieves what (I think) it set out to do.
The eraser performs very similar to other dust free erasers, but feels softer, so makes for pleasant erasing. The pencils, being (Japanese) 2B, are very soft. The softness of the lead will probably help in making the user press less hard, so the writing is more likely to be on top of the paper whereas a harder lead might have made the user press down more, resulting in compressed paper where the line was. No compressed paper -> no deep lines, which will still be visible after erasing as a sort of crevice on the page -> the erased area looks very clean.
I also like the fact that the eraser sleeve is perforated, so you can easily shorten it when the eraser gets used up.
Overall a very nice pencil and eraser set. Similar to other Kakikata pencils the pencils have an area for labelling with your name and are uncapped.