Ten Favorite Pencils

Ten Fave Pencils

Like all the previous 10th Anniversary posts, these pencils are not in any particular order but when anyone asks what my favorite pencils are, these are what I usually recommend. My pencil tastes lean towards pencils I can both write and draw with. As a lefty, smudging is a big concern for me as well so I tend to prefer a firmer core when I use graphite. Mostly though, I tend to prefer more wax-based or non-graphite pencils. I will always keep a few graphite pencils in my collection but they will be top tier quality.

  1. Sanford NoBlot Ink Pencil. This is the pencil that brought me back to the analog fold. It is no longer manufactured but other indelible pencils can be purchased or you can become as obsessed with these nostalgic wonder sticks.
  2. Caran d’Ache Bi-Color 999. Trust me, I’ve tried ALL the other red/blue colored pencils and I always come back to this one. It’s essentially a Supracolor since it’s water soluble so it’s the best of both worlds — it’s a watercolor pencil and a red/blue marking pencil all in one handy-dandy unit. It’s worth the price. ($3 from CWPencils.com)
  3. Musgrave Tennessee Red Cedar. This is my signature pencil. As a girl from Tennessee, my fingers were crossed that this pencil would be one that I would like and I ended up loving it. It’s American made and lovely. It smells good, feels good and writes nicely too. ($9 for a dozen)
  4. Palomino Blackwing. Shown is the Editions #24 but it is the same as the current Blackwing Natural core which is the extra-firm graphite. It is a classic, workhorse pencil. It looks good, classic and professional. Grab a box. ($24.95 per box of 12 from Blackwing)
  5. Stabil0 All Multi-Purpose. It’s a waxy pencil that will write or draw on glass, plastic, wood and more. This pencil is great for collage art and multi-media. Unlike the China Marker mentioned below, the Stabilo All create a rich waxy line but is water soluble. ($1.90 each from CWPencils)
  6. Faber-Castell Grip 2001. This rounded triangular pencil with it’s grippy little dots is a pencil I reach for over and over again. The graphite is a little scratchier than the Japanese pencils but I still love this pencil. I wish they wouldn’t put the stupid bar code on it. (3-Pack for $6.75 from JetPens)
  7. Prismacolor Col-Erase (Scarlet Red). This is the illustrator/animator’s favorite tool for sketching. The advantage of the Col-Erase is that it does not smear or smudge like graphite, it will erase and even if you don’t erase, if you draw over with black ink, when the artwork is scanned, the “red” channel can be dropped out and VOILA! no sketch lines.
  8. Tombow Mono100 F. This is a premium upscale Japanese pencil. It’s a bit softer but not super smudgy. It looks good and the matte finish doesn’t get slick. Other grades are available but the F is FINE. The Mitsubishi Hi-Uni is equally good but aesthetically, I prefer the Tombow Mono100. ($2.35 each at JetPens)
  9. Koh-i-noor Magic Pencil. If you know me, you know I love Magic Pencils. These gems have blended red, yellow and blue into the core of the pencil. For doodling and sketching, if its good enough for Milton Glaser, its good enough for me. ($2.25 from CWPencils.com)
  10. Sharpie Peel-Off China Marker. With a China Marker, the brand doesn’t matter but everyone should have one in their arsenal. It is essentially a grown up crayon that can be used to mark glass, plastic, cardboard, wood and other surfaces. You know when you go to a thrift store and the prices are written on all the ceramic mugs and glasses in what looks like crayon? Bingo! There is a strip of paper wrapped around a stick of waxed crayon and there’s a bit of string that you pull to tear the paper a bit to “sharpen” the marker. They are great fun to draw with on big sheet of paper or mark lumber or price your yard sale items. Grab a black and a white and they will last a lifetime. (Dermatograph China Marker $2.60 each from CWPencils.com)

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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Ana, it’s nice to have these lists of “The ten best …..”. I find them very useful, especially when you narrow the items you are listing.

    I seem to have missed the one for fountain pens, of all things. Can you point me to it, please?

    Hope to see you and the rest of our pen community soon.

    Tom Baley
    Quarantined in Chapel Hill

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