Pencil review

When was the last time I did a product review? Ages ago, that’s what. I was honestly going to review pens and inks, but I left my inks at my parents last month because I couldn’t take everything with me to San Fran.

But a year ago, one of my instructors gave out these orange pencils, and they were so good to draw with. They rocked. The pencils are from a brand called Palomino. And it wasn’t until I bought my very first set that I realized they were made in Japan. Figures that’s why.

Dude. The plastic box it comes in is like sooooo nice. I’ve never praised plastic before, but this is a very pretty plastic box. When I opened the flap, it didn’t bend at all. And the art on the cover is cute.

So I’ve almost always used Staedtler, and they are pretty much one of the best brands out there. Faber Castell was next on my list. And if I wanted to be cheap, I’d just go for the store brand pencils, or General’s.

Staedtler pencil case

Staedtler pencils

I have had these since high school actually. My sister gave this case to me for one of my birthdays. If anyone remembers the episode in Sailor Moon when these two cartoonists/artist friends bought each other some really nice pencils in a case, I’m always reminded of it. I guess that’s why I haven’t used them all. I always use other Staedtler’s that I’ve received from others. Up until now, one of my favorite brands.

Faber Castell wood and woodless (Pitt) pencils

Faber Castell wood and woodless (Pitt) pencils

General's (Kimberly) pencils and graphite sticks

General’s (Kimberly) pencils and graphite sticks

Utrecht 5B & 6B

Cretacolor monolith woodless graphite pencil

Cretacolor monolith woodless graphite pencil

It is really too bad I don’t have every single pencil degree, but I have most at least…

What I have found out: Well, the Palomino pencils are the softest out of all the pencils. The lead was smoother and laid down more easily. As the degree went up, the less I had to press to achieve a dark color. It did, break more easily though, but I’m sure the ratio of graphite and clay is much more different. Staedtler was the second best in terms of smoothness. General’s was almost always a shade lighter than the rest until you got to the 4B’s, and so was Faber Castell; for those two, I always had to press harder to get the color darker. That somewhat surprised me a bit, but they are the cheaper brand… Except for the woodless Pitt graphite pencils by Faber Castell. Those tend to be great for heavy areas that need to be colored in… But General’s and Faber Castell was almost always the easiest to erase with my Sakura electric eraser, yet it took 2 or more strokes sometimes to remove Palomino or Staedtler (but that’s probably a good thing right? more easy to smudge though).

The Cretacolor Monolith woodless pencils versus Pitt was practically the same. The ingredients could be different though. You never know.

I tested a lot with the HB and 6Bs.

I did use these:

I assume this to be an HB but I am actually not sure….

And of course a standard no. 2 pencil.

So I’m gonna be treating my Palomino’s with love and care, but they’ll be well used. I hope the local Utrecht and more art stores stock them because the only place you can get them at is pencils.com, they are a pretty cool website, but I want to look at the Palomino Colors or Aquas, which are color pencils, but Aquas is probably water soluble pencils. There are also writer’s pencils on there called Blackwing with replaceable eraser ends. They sell other products too. Man, I want to get that wood craft set; it looks awesome. I would like to build a mini toy town!

I hope people enjoy this review. I found it rather informative (while doing the tests) about the quality of some of the pencils I’ve bought. I guess it’s kind of like testing out paint.

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3 Comments

Filed under Art, illustration, In general, Reviews

3 responses to “Pencil review

  1. Thanks for your favorable review of the Palomino pencils. Japanese consumers tend to have preference for softer and darker leads. As result leads for all manufacturers there tend to be relatively softer and darker accross the HB grading scale. There is no global industry standard for the HB scale which leads to wide variations.

    As far as San Francisco retail outlets for Palomino pencils check out Park Life on Clement Street. We also should have the Palomino Blackwing pencils available in Patrick & Co stores later this week as we’ll be introducing more broadely to all the instructors at the Acadamy of Art University Tusrday at their Faculty Teaching Expo. Hopefully, Utrecht will soon follow.

  2. Well, that explains a lot! I guess, I shouldn’t use “cheap” in my descriptions, it does seem like a negative misnomer. But I do draw a lot with my pencils, and have a sensitive hand when I draw for filling in details that I might actually use my 2H pencil for light sketching — so I like that Palomino’s are a shade darker.

    Thank you for the store name! The farthest I’ve gone to is the newly opened Blick art store down Market St, because they do seem to stock more than Utrecht at times. But that’s good news, maybe Utrecht will start supplying them.

  3. Pingback: Pen and Ink – reviews | Transcient Cafe

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