The above picture was posted on the Erasable Podcast Community Page on Facebook and it shows what might be my doom… I have, well had, no interest in pencils that exist only to be a publicity, sporting some fancy colors and slogans and totally loosing at being a proper pencil, but these got me thinking. I’m a 77′s guy, so I have that urge of reliving part of a time I only lived through half consciously being a kid. These pencils do exactly that and they do that in a wonderful way as the Atari VCS 2600 was my first (well mine and my sisters…) gaming console.
Here’s another fun pencil related Kickstarter. The guys at Metal Shop and Huckelberry Woodchuck, the later famous for his vintage bullet pencils on Etsy, have started a tasty Kickstarter: A bullet pencil that is closed and opened with a twist, even the pencil stubs are fastened by twisting them into place. I’m already happy with the stainless steel and black color, but the stretch goals promise some more colors like the shiny blue (my favorite color) you see in the picture. Go ahead and take a look you might like what you see: http://kck.st/1vveAOa
Yep, still alive! I’ve been busy with my two little ones and was a bit active on the Erasable Community page on Facebook. But beside that school has started again, so I may find more time for reviews again. One little thing I discovered on Kickstarter are these übercool Sticky Page Markers that can be arranged to a landscape! Love thee concept. Check it out here: http://kck.st/1pge8hR
For a pencil-lover like myself the name Mitsu-Bishi stands for some of the best pencils in the world, and also maybe the most beautiful modern pencil IMHO: the Hi-Uni. Now the Uni brand, that operates at the foremost consumer front alongside the Posca brand, stands for quality at moderate prices. The Uni Pin fine-liners are amongst the most used in the domain of illustration, and probably the best. So I was pretty much surprised to find these Nano Dia pencils that don’t seem to fit into the rest of the Uni portfolio. Digging a bit (not much) I found this article on the ever entertainingly informative pencil talk (http://www.penciltalk.org/2012/01/mitsubishi-nanodia-pencil), that asks the same questions I was asking myself when I received the pack of 3 Nano Dias B. My main question is who is this pencil marketed to? It looks a bit too dull for the children/school market and yet it is not speaking to a more mature market, maybe something in between with an eye on the low-cost sector… no idea.
Well, we won’t find answers to these questions here, so why not continue to the core of my interest: how does the Nano Dia B perform? Let me first talk about its looks. It is not an especially ugly pencil, but nor does its dull appearance convince the connoisseur. There’s the somewhat sad little Nano Dia logo, the brand markings and then there’s some triangles that are surely supposed to mimic the faces of a diamond… but the pearly appearance is kind of a nice touch, although it does not really help to raise the esthetics a lot. Both ends of the pencil are naked. The pencil itself is very light and the wood has a rather pleasant, undefinable wood smell.
While sharpening it with one of my Janus 4048, I was very surprised how easy and neat the wood of the pencil let itself cut by the sharpeners blade.
The feel of the lacquer is astonishingly pleasant and there’s some slight grip to it that somehow compensates for the lightness of the pencil. The lead is right up my aisle. Firm, not to smooth, not too sticky and really, really dark if you push it. This is the kind of performance I love. This one pencil can do a lot of shades of grey, and it does so in an easily controllable manner. I didn’t need a lot of time to learn how the Nano Dia will react to pressure, its drawing capacity was readily available, no need for explorations with different papers.
Now the biggest surprise is how long I could draw with one sharpening. The sketch page you see in the photo is done with one sharpening of the Nano Dia, and I did some really dark areas. Dulled down its still a pleasure to draw with it and it was still possible to draw fine (although light) lines. One negative point is that due to the amount of graphite the pencil conveys it smears moderately.
I won’t bother trying the 2B of the wood-clinched line of the Nano Dias, as the main line are leads for mechanical pencils, but I will most certainly try the HB 0.7mm and see how it performs.
So all in all I’m pretty surprised by that pencil. It is a really good pencil with a very good drawing performance, but without the looks of a good modern pencil.
So since my plans for world domination have been delayed indefinitely, I decided to raise the world wide market price of the Janus 4048, so that my children can be filthy rich, by buying every single Janus that appears on eBay! This sharpener is so good… wait let me reiterate that, that sharpener is so ridiculously fantastic, that I already live in fear for the day when it won’t sharpen anymore.
I’ll try to review the Janus one of these days (it’ll be a collection of words without a lot of meaning and an uncountable number of superlatives), but until then I’ll gather more… pRecIOusneSSsssssss…