Pencil Buyers Beginner’s “guide” (Part 3: Update)

Following my recent posts about where to buy pencils some readers have suggested other places on the net for the pencil buying customer. So to make this series complete I’ll post these suggestions here. These are not “tested” by me, but I trust my geeky readership!

Pedro suggested Pencils.com in the States. Now this is a brilliant suggestion, because that site is not only very dedicated in all things “pencils”, but also sports very interesting infos about pencils and they have an interesting blog too. As opposed to what I wrote it seems Pedro hadn’t as much chance with import taxes as I had. It seems that maybe some countries are fiercer in getting their taxes…

johnthemonkey and Sapphire suggested pencils4artists.co.uk. If you are looking for european brands, this seems to be an excellent shop. They also have MONO100’s.

johnthemonkey suggested additional british shops:

fredaldous.co.uk/art-shop/ has a nice selection of pencils. The Derwent Watersoluble Sketching Pencils caught my eye.. (*Shopping*)

A limited, but fine selection can be found at http://www.whsmith.co.uk/.

And another selection can be found at http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/.

But as was also suggested: support your local dealers!

Pencil Buyers Beginners “guide” (Part 2: Europe)

Continuing the series I’ll give you here some links to European online pencil shops.

http://www.cultpens.com/

Well if you haven’t heard of Cultpens, you never shopped for pencils or pens on the internet. Cultpens has a enormous selection of everything that writes, sketches and draws. The selection is so huge that they offer thematic guides by color, themes or target group. The packages are always very well packaged. Their new sections called “Geek Picks” and “Rarities” are especially recommended! Highly recommended.

http://www.thejournalshop.com/

This one’s another favorite of mine. As they have a good selection of Midori and Iconic stationery articles. Their pencil section is a bit limited, but all the rest is so much fun to explore and buy, I had to add this one to the list. Recommended!

http://www.pedlars.co.uk

Pedlars is rather limited pencil wise, but they have all sorts of Palomino pencils, like the Blackwings, the gift-sets and some nice stationary goodies. Recommended.

That sums it already up on the European side. If you know about other fine pencil shops, feel free to share!

Pencil buyers beginners “guide” (part 1: USA)

I recently got a nice haul from cwpencils.com (view previous post). As it is rather difficult to come by most of the American brands here in Europe. I often buy pencils in the States. The cool thing about pencils and notebooks is that they don’t generate extra import taxes, so you just pay the pencils and the postage. If you buy more pencils in a go you logically pay less postage per pencil, so make sure to make it worthwhile. As a little service from me to you, dear reader, I’ll give you the links to my pencil-shops on the internet that I like most. Most of these will be old news for the seasoned pencil enthusiast.

There are four shops in the States that I’d like to share with you.

http://www.jetpens.com/

Jetpens is a big shop that specializes in bringing mostly Japanese writing and stationary goods to the western hemisphere. Logically that makes it also interesting for me as an European. Shopping on Japanese websites is difficult if you don’t speak Japanese. Jetpens offers a lot, their catalog is huge and as a first time visitor you will surely be overwhelmed. But they offer some handy guides in different categories to get you started. Every package I got was expertly packaged with bubble-wrap and always with a complementary eraser. Highly recommended!

http://www.notegeist.com

A relatively young shop that opened in the wake of the success of the Erasable Podcast Facebook community (me thinks). Gary, the shop owner is an all-around nice guy, who is a pencil enthusiast through and through. The selection is not huge, but complete, with special sales items, like the sampler boxes. Packaging is outstanding, pencils come in very nice cardboard-boxes that have their uses afterwards! Highly recommended!

http://cwpencils.com/

Another very young shop that opened in New York City, so this one also has a physical shop address. The selection is centered on pencils, new and old ones. Yes, you can get some vintage pencils here. And just look at that drool-worthy shop picture above. The pencils were also here nicely (eco-friendly) packaged with a complementary pencil and a handwritten thank-you note from the shop owner Caroline Weaver. I love it when people do this, makes everything so much more personal and loveable. Highly recommended!

http://www.brandnamepencils.com/trade/pencils-for-sale.shtml

And last but not least is Bob Truby’s vintage pencil shop, where he sells duplicates from his huge collection. Recommended!

So this are those I made business with and that I knew of. There can be others. If you know of some other addresses in the States for online pencil shopping be sure to keep me in the loop!

This series will be continued in another post with European shop addresses!

New Arrival: Bunch of pencils

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My latest haul from cwpencils.com. And yes, I had to buy another Midori Brass Bullet Pencil, because I lost the first one. Another interesting find in this arrival is the “Pencils” book a pencil exhibition catalog with beautiful images of different pencils. The written part of the book is aimed more at “normal” people, as opposed to pencil nerds… ;) You’ll certainly find the one or other of these reviewed here in the coming months years.

Review: Maruman Mnemosyne A4

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This is something I wanted to do for some time now. Writing a review about my favorite notebook. But mind you I never use it as a notebook, but as a drawing/sketch-book. If you’d use it as a notebook alone there are some warnings to consider. The first one is that the paper is quite thin and things shine through, and I believe if you’d use the pages on both sides things would become quite messy. Another annoyance is that the paper easily creases and that can be quite frustrating. I often creased pages when erasing something and due to the smooth nature of the paper it literally slipped under my fingers. These negative points are just small caveats compared to when you start to write or draw on that paper.

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That paper… it is just fantastic paper, thin, light, smooth, precious, but can easily take a “beating”. I even wrote Maruman to ask if they didn’t have the paper in larger formats, but unfortunately the biggest format is the A4. The notebook itself lives through very clever design features. The first one is that it is a spiral notebook.

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The spiral is so cleverly designed that it never hinders the opening of the book, and another nifty detail, the first and last spiral are left out. This enables you to easily tear the micro-perforated pages out of the book.

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The back of the book is made of thick cardboard, that is just sturdy enough to use the book on the lap.

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Then there is the black plastic cover with gold lettering and the inspiring “Imagination / Unruled” quote.

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The first page is bright yellow with some note-taking tips in Japanese. The pages itself are not white, but a tone yellowish and have a box on the top for titles or whatever.

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Another great design detail is that the back and front are bigger on the large side of the pages and protect them from harm. I used the notebook with both Uni Pins and Pilot Drawing Pens. I largely prefer the first ones, but that is for another review sometimes this year. The paper is just sooo smooth, but with the right grip, not slippy, just fantastic. As said before the paper can take a “beating”, meaning that when you blacken an area repeatedly the paper doesn’t bloat and break (do I make sense here?).

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I use mainly a MONO100 H pencil for preparation sketches, which is absolutely perfect for the paper, although I do have sometimes some difficulties to erase some firmer pencil strokes with my kneading eraser, but my trusty electrical eraser comes in handy then. And no this paper does not whiten (become white?) when erasing on it, as it happens with the colored Moleskine paper. But as said before the paper is very unforgiving for creases. The Mnemosynes come in different sizes. If you ever fancy an unruled notebook, give them a try. I love it to death and will always prefer them to Moleskines or other drawing notebooks. I’ll use it to the last page.