I have to confess up front that I’m not a pencil guy. I might even want to be but I enjoy pushing pens across paper so much that it’s hard for me to use anything else. And so I carry a single 0.5mm mechanical pencil with 2H or 3H lead that I use to quickly block in a subject before I start drawing it. As I said…I’m not a pencil guy.
So it’s odd for me to be talking about a pencil but Faber-Castell’s Perfect Pencil snapped my head around when I heard about it and double-snapped it when I found one in an Ottawa art supply store last weekend. It’s just plain cool, even if it is a pencil.
I also have to confess that I love wooden pencils. They just feel good in my hand. I also like that you can use the side of them, use them dull, or sharpen them up for fine details.
I don’t use them, though, for a couple reasons, mostly stemming from the fact that I do my drawing on the run as a street sketcher. This, for me, makes (or made) wooden pencils impractical. Here’s why:
1) You have to sharpen them and the tiny portable pencil sharpeners produce a short, stubby tip. Yes, I can use my pen knife, which is very Bohemian, but also rather impractical when sitting in a music recital or riding a bus.
2) The tips break unless protected. Yes, I can keep them in a case but then they’re not available. A lot of my sketching is ‘grab the book and draw’ sorts of sketching.
3) The length becomes a problem as the pencil is used. And yes, I could buy an extender. Something else to carry.
What makes the Perfect Pencil so perfect is that it solves all THREE of these problems. The Perfect Pencil comes with a sharpener, and not just any sharpener. It’s a sharpener that produces a nice, long and sharp tip. The Perfect Pencil has a cover for the pencil tip, a cover that has a clip just like my fountain pens so it’s easy to carry. And when the pencil becomes short, you can stick its rear end into the cap, which acts as an extender. Best of all, you get all this for the price of one of those high-priced coffees where you get to feel empowered while making all those mind-bending choices.
I can’t say much about the pencil that comes with the Perfect Pencil. It seems like a Faber-Castell HB pencil but it’s round rather than hexagonal. That said, you can replace it with any standard-size pencil. I’ve tried other Faber-Castell pencils (including watercolor pencils), Staedtler pencils, and Blackwing 602s. The 602s defeat the extender function because of their square eraser but otherwise they work fine. I might become a pencil guy yet. In any case, I’ll be carrying my Perfect Pencil when you see me on the street.