Pencils


Mysterious Mono 100s 5

Sean and Gunther are the detectives of the pencil world. While Sean has specialised in solving cold cases Gunther is investigating up-to-date issues.

In Gunther’s latest blog post (in German / automated English translation from Google here, from Bing here) he is having a closer look at the new Vietnamese made Tombow Mono 100s.

Mystery solved – thank you, Lexikaliker.

I support his hypothesis that the blind code on the pencils is in the format YYMM. I bought most of my Mono 100s in 2009 and the blind codes of my Monos start with 08 and 09.

In case you wonder about my photo: After some of the original occupants of my Mono 100 case moved out the remaining Monos invited the two Faber brothers to move in.

 


Staedtler’s Kakikata Pencils 3

 

If you’ve been reading pencil blogs for a while you’ve probably come across Kakikata pencils before. Gunther showed some beautiful ones on his blog, nearly ten years ago, and Stephen had some nice ones, too.

According to one JetPens product page Kakikata means ‘way of writing’. I can’t really comment, it’s now 20 years that I learned Japanese and I forgot virtually everything except the odd katakana ..but other sources seem to indicate that Kakikata means ‘how to write’, which seems to be a better translation, at least for the Staedtler Kakikata pencils I want to show today1.

 

They were released in December 2016 and are aimed at school children. An automatic translation of the text on the box also seems to confirm that they are for children (There are warnings like ‘don’t use for anything other than writing’, ‘please be careful when handling’ plus there are also instructions for parents.), as do some of the designs used, but the from what I have seen from the Staedtler Japan page they say adults can use them, too ;^)

Staedler’s Kakikata pencils are made from FSC certified wood in their factory in Thailand, where Staedtler’s Norica and other pencils are made, too. I found out that they are officially being sold in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, China and Taiwan, but am not sure whether they will have a different packaging outside Japan, i.e. whether the box will be translated into the local language.

Boys’ toys

Girly

I love how the look of the wood has been integrated into the designs of these pencils, as a background to the motifs used. There are three different packs, all available in HB, B and 2B, with three different pencil designs in each pack. The blue pack (Aorimo あおいも) is boy-themed, the red one (Akaimo あかいも) is girl-themed and the green one (Midori みどり) seems fairly gender neutral.

 

As is common in Japan the pencils are unsharpened and since these are for children there’s also space to write the child’s name on.


Near the end the body is silver or gold stamped with the lead degree (HB, B or 2B) and unlike the Noris or the Mars Lumograph that have lacquer caps the end of this Kakikata pencil is not capped.

..with the 501 180 sharpener

Depending on where you buy it you pay somewhere between ¥700 and ¥900 (~$7, £6; €7) for a dozen.


You can find the original press release at this address, including the product numbers for they various colour and lead grade combinations. 
I would like to thank Claudia Förster for these pencils and for finding out in which countries they’re being sold.

Pencil Talk has even more Kakikata pencils than the ones linked to at the beginning of this blog post, and Jinnie has some, too.

If you want to have a look at a Kakikata felt tip pen have a look at Brad’s post.

The Staedtler sharpener form the last picture has been mentioned before and I’ve made a video review, but the blog post is still waiting to be finished.

There are also other unsharpened Staedtler pencils for the Japanese market. I have mentioned the Lumograph many times, so I’ll spare you the links to those videos and to Gunther’s blog post this time.

  1. I assume depending on context it can mean either. []

A bestselling Noris 4

Certainly well deserved: when visiting a WHSmith1 store recently I noticed that their Noris pencils got a little sign, indicating that they are the bestselling pencils.


As you might know I am partial to Staedtler’s Noris, so couldn’t resist adding this to my stream of Noris blog posts. Here’s a small selection of Noris blog posts to pick and choose: A digital NorisA broken Clarks NorisA different kind of Noris in the wildNeil Gaiman’s Noris pencilsNoris & CoShaun the Sheep’s NorisUpcycling with a NorisA Noris at the CricketA Finnish Noris…A French Noris…A Franken NorisA Franconian Noris,
Noris in the wildNoris shavingsNoris of the WoodsUncle Noris, and The Noris, then and now.

By the way, since we are on the topic of Staedtler anyway: they have a nice online Mandala creator on their website. The choice of patterns from different artists is amazing. 

  1. A British high street chain with a big stationery selection. []

A digital Noris 2

Staedtler’s Noris the pencil I have written about most in this blog1. No wonder, it is my favourite after all.

A Noris picture from a previous blog post to liven up this blog post

That’s why I am especially happy to hear that there will be a high-tech, digital Noris, the Noris digital stylus for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, as reported today on several web pages  (Sam Mobile, The Verge, AnandTech). I won’t be getting one, as I had some less than stellar experience with Samsung in the past, but I am nevertheless happy that the Noris gets the attention it deserves by being adopted and adapted by one of the big players in the mobile industry.

Noris Digital (Image © Staedtler)

Noris Digital (Image © Staedtler)

The Noris digital will be available in classic Noris yellow and in Noris eco green. The exciting bit is that the Noris digital is made from Wopex material, just like the Noris eco.

The Noris eco in five grades – an image from an old blog post to make this one less boring

To look at the pencil being used in mainstream media over time have a look at the Noris in the Wild page.

The analogue Noris in comparison (an image from an old blog post to make this one less boring)

The name Noris is linked to the city of Nuremberg, where Staedtler is based. Staedtler has used the name Noris as a trademark since 1901, but the black and yellow striped look has only been used since the 1950s. Recently Staedtler has started rebranding their Wopex pencils as the Noris eco, with black and green stripes, similar to the original Noris. Looks like the latest addition to the series is the digital Noris. You can find out more about the Noris in this Stationery Wiki.

Please don’t sharpen the digital Noris with the Staedtler 501 180 sharpener you can see below, it’s only for the Noris eco (Wopex material).

  1. Have a quick search here for Noris to see some of the blog posts about this pencil. []

Traces of graphite – Paul Kidby

It’s time for another Traces of Graphite blog post. All the previous blog posts in this series were Disney themed (Barks, Rosa and Fecchi), but this time the blog post is Discworld themed.

Paul Kidby‘s very impressive pencil point from my previous blog post made me want to find out more about the pencils he is using to create his drawings.

Paul Kidby’s pencil (image © BBC Scotland)

Luckily Paul was kind enough to answer my questions. Here is a little insight into his pencil use.

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?

Paul Kidby:

Hello, my name is Paul Kidby and I am an illustrator based in the UK. I am best known for being the writer Terry Pratchett’s artist of choice to illustrate his best selling Discworld series.

Drawings for Discworld books (© Paul Kidby 2017, all rights reserved. http://www.paulkidby.com )

Bleistift Blog:

In the Terry Pratchett documentary, you can be seen with a hand-sharpened Castell 9000 with an impressive pencil point. Could you tell us which pencils and lead grades you use and how you use them? What other tools do you use to create your incredibly detailed work?

Paul Kidby:

When I draw I use Faber Castell 9000 series in lead grades 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H 2H, 3H, 4H. My favourite is F & H. I don’t use 3B & 2B & B very often because it can make my work go smudgy – so I save them for areas where it needs to be very dark.

I also use Derwent stumps for blending and Faber Castell perfection 7056 pencil erasers which I can sharpen to take out accurate highlights in my drawing. I sharpen my pencils with a Swann-Morton DS2902 scalpel with 10A surgical blades, I then sand the pencil point using a Derwent sanding block.

Paul’s pencil drawer, including his scalpel (© Paul Kidby 2017, all rights reserved. http://www.paulkidby.com )

I draw on a white smooth surface – eitherSchoellershammer illustration board or Bristol Board.

Bleistift Blog:

That is great. Thank you very much! Could you please explain to non-artists why you sharpen the pencil to such a long point? Is it so that you have more control over the pencil, or does it help to see the drawing better, e.g. the pencil doesn’t cover the view of the image so much?

Paul Kidby:

I sharpen to a long point because it gives me better control.

© Paul Kidby 2017, all rights reserved. http://www.paulkidby.com

I would like to thank Paul Kidby for answering my questions.

With the colouring book craze of recent years going on his Discworld colouring book seems like a great idea (Paul Kidby’s shop (signed artist’s edition), Amazon US, AmazonUK).

One last bit of information : Paul Kidby also told me that he is inspired by the delicate pencil work of Ingres from the early 1800’s.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres: Mme Victor Baltard and Her Daughter, Paule, 1836