Sharpener Showdown: Hand Cranks

Review by Tina Koyama The venerable Carl Angel-5 hand-crank sharpener (also known as a “classroom-friendly” sharpener) is a popular, reliable favorite for many pencil users. With a metal body and “original quality,” it has a classic, sturdy build. I’ve had mine for several years, but sadly, I don’t love it. For one thing, its pencil…

Book for the Desk Set: Pencils You Should Know by Caroline Weaver

Book for the Desk Set: Pencils You Should Know by Caroline Weaver

Oh, what a delight it was to find a new book from the inimitable Caroline Weaver of CW Pencil Enterprise fame. After the Pencil Perfect, I couldn’t imagine what other book she might publish but Pencils You Should Know: A History of the Ultimate Writing Utensil in 75 Anecdotes is a perfect follow-up. The book…

Pencil Review: Staedtler Mars Lumograph 12B

Review by Tina Koyama When I started using the Mitsubishi Kohitsu 10B “brush pencil,” I thought I had the softest graphite core I would ever meet. I figured graphite couldn’t go much softer without needing to be mixed with something else like carbon before it loses its stability. But when I saw that the Staedtler…

Pencil Review: Cretacolor Graphite Aquarell

Review by Tina Koyama In July, I attended the 10th annual International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Amsterdam. Aside from barely surviving a record-breaking heatwave of temps up to 107 F, I had a wonderful time with my tribe of 1,500 sketchers from around the globe. It was my sixth symposium since 2013. One of the…

Blackwing Eraser Hack-a-Thon

Review by Tina Koyama Palomino Blackwing pencils have a huge following. We love the high-quality graphite, beautiful finishes, distinctive ferrules and often intriguing themes, and we’re willing to pay $24.95 to $27.95 for a dozen (or much more if you missed a limited edition and you’re willing to shop on eBay after they sell out).…