Friday, March 22, 2013
The pencil is mightier than the sword
I love pencils. They are forgiving. With pencils, you get do-overs, or I should say you get almost do-overs. Even when using the finest eraser with finesse, graphite shadows of failed attempts remain visible on the paper. Let's say the do-over potential with pencils far exceeds any pen.
For many decades I've been a fan of Ticonderoga #1 pencils. I always have a box or two on hand. They are smooth, controllable and perky looking. The eraser at the tip doesn't shed too many crumbs. The Ticonderoga #1 is a fine pencil.
Recently I've become enamored of the Prismacolor ebony graphite pencil. If the Ticonderoga #1 is a flan, then the Prismacolor ebony graphite is creme brûlée - it's that smooth and creamy. Yum.
I also adore Prismacolor soft lead colored pencils, but lately what I've been drawing and doodling has been colorless. My drawings have been all about the black of the pencil and the white of the sketch paper. It's an interesting development, my devotion to black graphite pencils. Perhaps it's a metaphor for how clearly I've been able to perceive my mortality since turning 60, or maybe my recent love affair with pencils reflects the impermanence of all things. I always loved it that De Kooning allowed Robert Rauschenberg to erase one of his drawings. They were so cool.
Maybe my current fascination with black pencils means nothing at all.
In the meantime, I'm drawing every day, which means I'm tuning fine motor skills and strengthening the connections between left and right brain. Also: it is fun. No harm done, hey?
I am pro-pencil, and I vote. That is all.