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.



ellen abbott said...

me too. draw with a pencil. people ask me if I draw with a pencil or use one of the programs on the computer. I figure it took me long enough to learn to draw with a pencil, I'm not about to give it up. Plus, I think a pencil is so much easier than a mouse or even a stylus. I have no desire to learn to draw again.

Reya Mellicker said...

I never learned, even though I was supposed to. But I never let it stop me from drawing anyway.

Steve Reed said...

Funny, I never use pencils anymore. I never really handwrite anything anymore. I was thinking the other day about how long it's been since I even wrote a check! Ages!

Dan Gurney said...

Pencils are my favorite writing tool. Not only fun, versatile (good for drawing), but also, surprisingly durable. I was surprised to learn that archivists prefer graphite over ink because it is so much more stabile. Ink cannot erase, but over time it fades, can be washed away, etc. Ink is volitile. I love the Ticonderoga Laddie pencil. Thicker lead. Hefty. A beginner's pencil.

Kerry said...

Pencils are THE BEST. Period. I'm glad to hear that you are a connoisseur, because not all pencils are created equal. They may look the same but they are so different! The quality of the graphite and eraser, even the feel of it in your hand, varies greatly. Interesting about going black and white. I've been doing drawings in charcoal, but I want to explore colored pencils & have signed up for a class.

Susan said...

I took a photo my fave pencil. Enough said?