If you are filming a movie or TV series set in the last fifty years and need a pencil to be used on screen, then Staedtler’s Mars Lumograph is not a bad choice at all: The Lumograph is available in many countries – unlike some other Staedtler pencils, for example the Noris that is extremely popular in some countries, but unavailable in others…
Last month Josha from the Netherlands sent me an email. He is using pencils for the purpose of keeping score during baseball games. He wrote:
For baseball score keeping addicts, like myself and many others out there, there are three important things to a pencil:
1. lead must not smear
2. a good sharpener so you can use the pencil without sharpening too often during a match (which can take up to three and a half hours)
3. a good eraser.
(4th optional: a good red pencil!!)
Keeping all the requirements in mind my first idea for a graphite pencil is a Mars Lumograph in F. It doesn’t smear and will keep the point for a long time. I have written many pages of text in meetings with the Lumograph in F, without sharpening, so I think it should be able to survive 3½h of writing of score keeping.
There is no eraser tipped version of the Lumograph, so I would take a dust free eraser with me. My favourite type of eraser. You can get them from Faber-Castell (in big and small), Staedtler, Tombow and many other brands.
The red pencils are commonly used for tho things: number the strike-outs and underline red handed players. So they’re mostly used for writing numbers.
As a good red pencil that keeps the point for while I would go for the Staedtler Noris colour, made from Wopex material, or the Mitsubishi 7700. Both pencils have been covered in this previous blog post. Mitsubishi’s 7700 line was stopped, but luckily the red 7700 is still available.
As described in that blog post the Mitsubishi creates a darker shade of red on the paper (…at least when used with 1.8 N and an angle of 90° while moving along the paper with 25 mm/s. The pencils will behave differently under different conditions).
Mitsubishi 7700 #15 Red
Noris colour, a similar shade of red
The comments from Josha’s Instagram account imply that he is selling notebooks he made for baseball score keeping. I don’t have further information and didn’t try to explore this further. I just liked matching the pencil requirements to real world pencils.
Just a quick Interlude (or should that be Interlead) before I continue with the blog posts about the Insights X 2016.
The first edition of the James Bond novel “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” from 1963 features a hand sharpened Mars Lumograph.
For comparison: here’s a similarly sharpened Mars Lumograph.
The photo of the James Bond book has been taken from the article about James Bond First Editions from Raptis Rare Books. I believe that showing the picture of the book in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.
I know, Christmas is over, but the weather is still fairly wintery and it’s just starting to get warmer now, so you might forgive me if I wrote about snowmen. Since 1982 Channel 4 has been showing The Snowman every year for Christmas. It’s a 26-minute animation drawn using pencils.
I don’t think The Snowman is very well known outside the UK, but if you’re not on the British Isles you might know another animation from the author Raymond Briggs: When the Wind Blows.
According to the Cumberland Pencil Museum, where you can see a making of video, it has been drawn using Derwent Cumberland pencils.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the animation Channel 4 made a sequel: The Snowman and The Snowdog. When I first heard about the sequel I was sceptical and didn’t expect it to be hand drawn using pencils, but to my surprise it’s hand made using pencils. The sequel cost £2 million and according to a documentary about the making of the sequel 200 000 sheets of paper and 5000 pencils were used.
In a documentary, also shown on Channel 4, you can see all sorts of pencils being used in the studio in North London where the cells were hand drawn. I was surprised to see fairly few Derwent Cumberland pencils I would have thought that Derwent Cumberland would have an interest in sponsoring this movie – 5000 pencils wouldn’t have been a lot for them.. The pencils visible in the documentary don’t have to be representative of those used for the animation, but the pencils you get to see in the documentary are not from Derwent – they are mainly Prismacolor pencils. The 20044, an eraser-tipped blue pencil, seems to be particularly often used for outline animations If that’s the right word. . I believe the reason blue is being used is because cameras or copiers will ignore this colour or shade of colour, so that sketch lines don’t need to be erased and the final black lines can just be drawn over the sketches I first read about this when I discovered Staedtler’s non-photo-blue pencils.. You can also see some Caran d’Ache pencils, Staedtler’s Mars Lumograph and two mechanical pencils, which I think were both Pentels.
Some scenes were filmed in Raymond Briggs’ House where many Derwent Cumberland pencils were visible and where you can also see him using a Staedtler Mars Lumograph.
The images in this blog post have been taken from Rare Day‘s documentary How the Snowman Came Back to Life. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.
Today: another blog post about one of the items I have received from Office Hero, the Staedtler Wopex. You might remember my previous two blog posts about the Wopex, one was looking at the Wopex 2B and 2H and one was comparing different eco pencils. Office Hero sent me a pack of twelve Wopex as a free sample. Their normal price is £4.01 (~ $6.35; €4.60) plus VAT.
Why another blog post about the Wopex? The Wopex has one property I really like, even though there are actually also a few things wrong with the Wopex. Back to the characteristic I like, which is why I pick this pencil more and more often when making entries in my diary. The reason is simple and has been mentioned by Koralatov in a recent comment: there’s hardly any graphite transfer between different pages when writing on the reverse. I use my diary to keep track of appointments and to record things that need doing. Graphite from soft pencils will transfer easily after something has been written on the reverse or on the next page, which will in then look very unsightly. Even though you can get graphite from the Wopex to transfer to another page if you want to, as seen on the photos, this transfer is usually not happing under normal circumstance and is therefore not a problem.
I think the Wopex has great potential, but it also has a few flaws which I want to mention.
The “fibre Wopex material” is too hard, so I use dedicated sharpeners in my office and at home, just for the Wopex. The “fibre Wopex material” is also too hard for rotary blade sharpeners.
If you sharpen the Wopex to a very fine point the point will break easily.
Small bits of the “fibre Wopex material”, close to the lead, can crumble off when sharpening.
There doesn’t seem to be a difference between the Wopex 2B, HB and 2H.
There are quite a few other issues, but mentioning them all would distract from the main issue I want to address here: Wopex‘s great lead that is a very good choice for diaries.
Let’s look at the results from my (unrepresentative) graphite transfer test, conducted by writing on one page, putting the next page on top and applying pressure to the reverse of the next page The effects can be stronger when applying pressure directly to the reverse of the page you wrote on.. Harder and lighter leads do better than softer and darker leads – no surprise here. The best pencil in my comparison was the Staedtler Wopex HB, followed by the Caran d’Ache Technograph 777 B, which has previously been reviewed by penciltalk. The worst pencils in this test were the Tombow Mono 100 HB and the Amos Dixon Ticonderoga HB. This was obviously due to their softness which does however bring other advantages, e.g. better pressure/darkness ratio – I do however prefer a tidy diary and do tend to use the Tombow and Dixon only when smearing, smudging and graphite transfer don’t matter.
Price and exchange rates: October 2011.
I would like to thank
David from Office Hero and Oliver Carding from Sagittarius Digital for the free samples
The comparison has been conducted in a Castelli Academic Diary my wife got from her employer. I use a no name academic diary from my employer, which has very different paper. My initial impressions are that graphite-transer-wise good pencils behave better in my diary, but bad pencils behave worse.