Mechanical pencils

December 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Mechanical pencils are great in many ways. I, for one, like them because they can be used to create lines of constant thickness. I particularly like to use them when drawing small details, when the drawing calls for thin lines of great precision. And you don’t have to sharpen the pencil constantly, the line will consistently be of the same width. And because there’s no need to sharpen the pencil, the pencil will always be the same length, unlike a wood pencil which you eventually have to dispose of because it’s too short to draw with.

Some of my mechanical pencils:

pictured from top to bottom:
Pilot 0.9 H-329
■ Pilot Knock Pencil 0.5
Faber-Castell TK-Fine Vario L 0.3/0.35

The top pencil, the Pilot H-329 has a quite thick lead, 0.9. I have used even thicker mechanical pencils (4 mm), mostly for croquis drawing and sketching. I bought this 0.9 one because I had found colour leads of that thickness, but didn’t have a mechanical pencil that could fit those leads. I liked the idea of drawing in colour with a mechanical pencil, but I still haven’t used it much. I love the look and feel of the pencil though, it’s a favourite pencil (even though I rarely draw with it). I need to find a reason to make a colour drawing so I can try it out more.

The black Pilot pencil have been with me for more than fifteen years! I used to have a red one as well, but I’ve misplaced that one, much to my annoyance. The last pencil, the Faber-Castell, is my newest mechanical pencil. It’s also my thinnest one – 0.3 mm.

Mechanical pencils have many advantages. But in my experience, the drawings I make using only this type of pencil aren’t as dynamic or expressive like the ones you can make using a regular wood pencil (because the darkness and the width of the line pretty much will stay the same with a mechanical pencil).

This is a detail from of one of my drawings that was made with a mechanical pencil:

Mechanical pencils go by other names as well, such as lead pencil, propelling pencil, automatic pencil, drafting pencil, technical pencil... While searching the net for some more info on this type of pencil, I came across this guide to mechanical pencils. Pretty exhaustive on the subject. I’ll definitely bookmark that one.

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