Putting Pencils Into Play


A thread about pencils in the Chatter forum at Fountain Pen Network prompted me to look at the tools on my desk and refine my selection to two that would carry me through the day without feeling deprived or limited. For general use a black Autopoint #300-1 Jumbo All American MP with 0.9 mm HB lead will do. For drawing a Staedtler Mars Lumograph 6B is good for a satisfying range of lights to darks. Those two are really all I need to happily put graphite into play.

Even so, I am willing to try something new. Do you have any suggestions? What works for you?



  1. I don’t live the house without Palomino Blackwing 602 and couple of antique propelling pencils to lift up my mood and in case Blackwing will need sharpening. 🙂


  2. sorry, leave ;-0


  3. I like the thicker, softer lead, as I have injured nerves, and they flow across the page and do not require fiddling around. I had hoped to buy more from Mr. Swisher, in Virginia Beach, but it seems all communication lines are down and he is on to other things, Bless him.


    • Yes, Chuck Swisher will continue to be missed. At least for pencils, there are many other online sources like Jet Pens and art materials suppliers like Cheap Joe’s and Daniel Smith. I’ve had good success with all three retailers. Maybe one of them will have what you need.


  4. Normally I carry a 6B, 4B and a vanilla #2 for quick sketches (along with one white plastic eraser and a kneaded one). Taking a cue from someone on Urban Sketchers I’ve tried carrying just a 2mm Staedtler Mars 780 (don’t remember what lead I’ve got loaded in it) on the theory that it’s good to have to work from time to time with a minimal set of tools.


  5. Normally I am a huge fountain pen fan and my handwriting changes immediately when I switch to pencil or pen. On the other hand, I do love Ticonderoga pencils with their classic colors (yellow body and pink/orange top eraser) For mechanical pencils, I have a pencil which looks like regular pencils with wooden body but have a tiny edge 0.5. It delivers lead when you push the eraser on the top.


    • Interesting: pencils are used for practice in the pointed pen hands (to get you used to the motions without having to worry about ink management or digging the point into the paper). So my handwriting doesn’t change all that much, but I have a light touch and do a lot of pencil drawing. The accursed ballpoint is less successful, though I still get “your signature is BEAUTIFUL!” from time to time when I sign credit card slips.


      • I find, I have tornado Pencil Refill, 1.1 mm. I am grateful to Mr. Swisher. Now to find the pencil, which I was going to sell, but now will keep as the $3 mini camera I got, has lost its computer chord. All works to the good. Will soon call for help on the couch thing. My eyeglass arm is down there, too. I know the glide paths. Am looking for magnetic extension thingy, too. Then a mini-welder to put glasses arms back on. Then break free of locality. Am seeing better due to modifications, have ambient daylight now, as the others have passed on, recently. Saw lots of pen stuff in Va. Beach Antique store today, little paraphenalia, when in the fall there was none. Do you think it could be stuff Mr. Swisher has gotten over? Probably someone elses. No need to violate Mr. Swisher’s privacy or time off. Just be grateful.


  6. I use 6B Uni pencils from Japan that I get from the JetPens website for writing and annotating in books. The thicker, softer lead is very easy on my hands, doesn’t gouge lines in my book pages, and the large lead sharpens to a nice point so that I don’t have to clutch hard and/or press down to write.


    • Lots of good suggestions.

      Beth, Jet Pens offers a number of different styles from Uni. Which one do you favor?


      • Thx. Very interesting. Also, found this blog entry abour Fernand Leger, and his use of pencil, and I was not looking for pencil. Seems to be great art site, but this Fernand Leger is inspiring. http://www.kmtspace.com/leger2.htm


  7. I have both the triangular and the facetted. I’d really prefer a round, but I haven’t seen any listed.


    • I haven’t seen a round either but I’m happy with facetted pencils. At least they stay where they are placed.


  8. My mechanical pencils are Steadtler Mars Micro (my favourite is the 0.9mm with 2B lead), for the most part, although I carry a Parker Jotter (0.5mm HB) too.

    Although it’s no longer a daily carry, I like the inexpensive Pentel P20* series a lot – someone pinched the P207 I used to keep at work, sadly, and I’ve never replaced it. I still have a P203 at home, but find the 0.3mm lead too thin for my taste.

    I also carry a Worther Shorty clutch pencil, which has a 3.15mm lead – these are great for quick, loose sketches.

    I use Pentel AIN lead in my mechanical pencils.

    I don’t use many woodcase pencils, but do like the Staedtler tradition, and Faber Castell “Grip”. All these are 3H, and used for outlines before work with a softer grade, or ink.


    • Thanks for all of the suggestions. Lots to consider for my next purchase.


  9. […] between the Sanford Uniball Gel Grip medium (utilitarian) and the Pentel Libretto (attractive). The Autopoint remained my favorite mechanical pencil in large part due to its 0.9mm HB lead. The Levenger True […]


  10. […] between the Sanford Uniball Gel Grip medium (utilitarian) and the Pentel Libretto (attractive). The Autopoint remained my favorite mechanical pencil in large part due to its 0.9mm HB lead. The Levenger True […]


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