mechanical pencils?
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    mechanical pencils?

    I've noticed that a lot of artists use mechanical pencils. I've never tried them, but I've been meaning to check them out. I like the idea of never needing to sharpen. What should I look for if I get some? How do I know which ones are good quality?

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    You do need to sharpen a lead if you're using i.e. 2mm lead holder with lead pointer.

    I use Faber Castell Lead Holder. It's very similar in weight and size to a pencil.

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    I really love the Alvin Draft/Matic mechanical pencils. They have a good weight to them, a nicely tooled grip, and they are built well. I've used the same pencil for years. Unfortunately the tiny eraser in them is hard to find a replacement for, and if you drop these pencils on their tip it can bend.

    Generally I carry a 0.3 mm with me everywhere, because you really can't get much "sharper" than that in terms of a mechanical pencil. There are some downsides however. For one, such super thin lead is a bit delicate, and it won't withstand heavy pressure well so it's best for light sketching. Also, they don't make (or can't make) much H/B variety for such a small size lead. Lastly, you can't turn the pencil on it's side to shade like a standard lead core wooden pencil.

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    For me weight, weight distribution and shape (the 'feeling of the pencil') is important since I will be holding it a lot.
    I tried several mechanical pencils in store before I decided which one to get.
    Why this is important for me?
    Let me give an example related to this.
    I own several fountain pens. Amongst them there are a slim metal one and a broader mainly plastic one. The difference in my handwriting is huge between the two pens. Part of this is because they differ in point size but also the way I hold them in my hand is different.
    Since I experienced this I never buy another (expensive) pen or pensil without testing them.

    Besides this I bought a mechanical pencil that I know will be in stock for a while. Not in case it breaks but in case I want another one to use with different lead.

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    Kuru Toga self sharpening mechanical pencil

    http://davesmechanicalpencils.blogsp...kuru-toga.html





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    I use mechanical pencils a LOT... and over time I've gotten away from high-quality pencils. Seriously, expensive mechanical pencils are generally just expensive and heavy. Those needle-like metal points look cool and hold the lead very tightly, but they are also more prone to bend... And it really sucks when you lose an expensive pencil. Find a size that suits your drawing style (for me its .05) and look for a pencil that's light and comfortable for your grip. Sometimes cheap pencils have too much "flex" in the tip... that is, the end where the lead comes out sometimes moves a little when you press the lead to the paper... that's pretty annoying. These days I use Pentel "Gizmo" and a variety of drugstore no-name pencils.

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    yeah pentel here too. they're nice sturdy pencils... and hb .05 lead. I've had the same pencil for ages, it's like an old friend; i'm really fond of it!

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    Wink

    Personally, I'm always flipping from one pencil to another... weight is important, but the feel is too (material) - granted, that's just me being strange I'm sure...
    And sometimes it's lead size and/or hardness...

    But for anyone else who has a mechanical pencil 'obsession'...
    Hide the credit card/paypal account...

    http://www.jetpens.com

    have fun!

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    I have tried many different pencils but the ones that I feel most comfortable with are these.



    They may not be the most expensive or comfortable, but it only depends on personal taste. I have used these more than anything because they were the only things available when I was younger. Therefore I know how to use them.

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    Been using the same Alvin Iceberry 0.5 for the last 8 years. Great pencil and won't ruin your fingers after hours of use.

    The Kuru Toga is interesting but far from a perfected idea... it's not nearly as practical or accurate as it sounds, unfortunately. You're better off making your own points there.

    Most recently I've become a huge fan of the Staedtler 925 - it's amazing, the 0.3mm especially. It's great for preliminary linework or sketching before watercolor, or anything delicate - architecture, for instance, is a wonderful way to apply it.



    Check out the 925 here.

    Last edited by IanE; July 9th, 2009 at 09:58 PM.
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    I've been using the Zebra Jimnie lately and really liking it. The eraser is very small, but if you're using it for drawing you should be using a kneaded eraser anyways.

    Also, here's a blog devoted to mechanical pencils: http://davesmechanicalpencils.blogspot.com/, and here's his top pencil choices per price:

    Economy (US $0 – 3)
    Pentel Energize PL77
    Pentel Technica-X PW45
    Staedtler Graphite 777
    Pentel Techniclic PD105T
    Staedtler Triplus Micro 774

    Low ($3 – 15)
    Pilot Vanishing Point
    Pentel Sharp P205
    Tombow Oceanic
    Pentel Graphgear 1000
    Pentel Flex Fit II PW35 (Now there’s a surprise)

    Medium ($15 – 50)
    Pentel Sharp Kerry
    Lamy Scribble
    Ohto Tasche
    Staedtler 925 25
    Pentel Accugraph PG1505AD

    High ($50 – 150)
    Caran d’Ache Ecridor
    Lamy 2000
    Rotring Trio 357
    Rotring Newton Trio
    Parafernalia Revolution (Another surprise)

    Stratospheric ($150+)
    Caran d’Ache Varius Ivanhoe
    Yard-O-Led Deco 34
    Porsche Design P3130 Micado
    Delta Dolcevita Medium
    Parker Duofold Pinstripe

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    I must say I use many different pencils for different situations, but I love the feeling of drawing with mechanical pencils and lead holders; probably the lack of frustration and mess involved due to not having to sharpen or whip out the exacto (therefore, good for airplanes!). IDK how to explain this, but I like them for tight and "sit down" drawing. If I'm standing up in a life drawing studio with an 18x24 piece of newsprint on a clipboard, it's wood pencils and charcoal all the way, so to speak.

    I don't remember what mine is called.. I think it's the Alvin DraftMatic, however it takes 0.9 leads and has a rotating thing on the front end that you set to whatever hardness of lead you've put in it. (F/H/HB/B I think it has). I like it, it's thick and great. I also have blue lead, but need to buy a new 0.5mm pencil to use it in.

    I also have a Steadler-Mars Technico 2 mm lead holder. Need to get some softer leads for it though, 4H only does me so good!!

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    I use a 0.3 Pentel Sharplet fine. I can add a lot of details and textures to sketches. It's also slim to hold (got hands too small to grip thick and heavy pencils comfortably) and got a cap to protect the pencil point. It lasted for two years and never failed to break, yet.

    Though the lead breaks, often.

    Other times I use a Staedler Mars technico.

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    I've recently been using a Sakura SumoGrip .7, fat rubber handle mechanical pencil. It used to feel quite uncomfortable, but now it's fine. It's much like moving from the Graphire stylus to the Intuos one. I think the fingers being further apart, allows for more movement to be concentrated on the wrist as opposed to the fingertips, resulting in potentially more dynamic range (by allowing easier light-lights).

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    Wow. Can I has Uni Kuru Toga? Plz?

    I'm using several Pental Sharplet-2 (H, HB, 4B, blue, red) but I don't like it so much anymore. The caps get lost and I don't like that I have to push the eraser up with my nail to get to use it, leads falling off in the process.

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    This is good info. I've tried using a mechanical pencil, but I'm heavy-handed. So whenever I pressed down on paper the lead would push beneath the opening, never to be seen again. So I think I only used mechanical pencils twice or a few times in about...well, my whole life.

    Are there a couple of brands that any of you might know about, that might help with this problem? I'll have to keep trying to hold my pencil gentler, I know that much. >_<

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzW View Post
    This is good info. I've tried using a mechanical pencil, but I'm heavy-handed. So whenever I pressed down on paper the lead would push beneath the opening, never to be seen again.
    That happened to me with some pencils, but not the Pentel. There's the other problems I mentioned in the post above, though.

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    Yikes! It's a risky one, but maybe I'll try a Pentel, if one of the stores has them around here. o_o Thanks, Leonor!

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    http://www.cultpens.com/acatalog/Zeb...01_Pencil.html

    Zebra M-301. I absolutely adore this pencil. I've had this for a month now and I love it. It's quite cheap, too. But don't let that fool you. It's still quite a good pencil.

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    BAMartin, thanks for the link. I always wondered where people got some of those funky pens and brush pens from and that site has it all! The waterbrushes with the watercolor sets look cool, along with the scented lead (Awesome!) Just in time before I'm heading out for vacation in a couple weeks. Japanese stationery supplies really have it made.

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    I'm with Samuel Grey on this one-- I just use crappy Bic pencils (0.7 lead) that cost about $2 for a pack of 10, and then whatever other cheap pencils I find lying around campus. I'm just using it to sketch, and my sketches are messy no matter what pencil I use, so I'm not going to fuss with anything more expensive. Besides, if you handle it correctly, you can even get a pretty good range of values out of just the basic #2 lead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gfxapprentice View Post
    You do need to sharpen a lead if you're using i.e. 2mm lead holder with lead pointer.

    I use Faber Castell Lead Holder. It's very similar in weight and size to a pencil.
    Just bought 2.

    Can't wait!

    Saw this guy on youtube when I was practicing lips and needed to see someone draw them and he used that pencil.

    Liked it, bought it.

    heeh-heeh

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    I have the .3 and .5 Graphgear 1000, both take different lead hardnesses, I use anywhere from 3h to 2b. It's heavy in comparison to the plastic pencils, but I love it now. I use it for both fully rendered images and sketchbook work. Not fond of the tiny eraser but I use a plastic Staedtler too.



    And I pick up one of these nearly every time I go to Blick, I don't use them as often as I did before grabbing the Graphgears though. Nice and light, and the eraser is great.



    Last edited by Kilowatt; July 14th, 2009 at 05:00 AM.
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    wow, a lot of answers! thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    Just bought 2.

    Can't wait!

    Saw this guy on youtube when I was practicing lips and needed to see someone draw them and he used that pencil.

    Liked it, bought it.

    heeh-heeh
    Edit:

    STAEDTLER MARS 2mm TECHNO PENCILS just came in the other day and ...they...is... boo...tee...full!

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    Those Graphgears with "switchblade" action are cool as hell. I won't buy another though since I lost the first one. I'm happy with a $2.50 Office Max special. I don't care if I lose it and I put the same lead in those as I do in the expensive brands. I'll take the cheapy pencil and spend the difference on some good vellum bristol to draw on.

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    Like Aphotic Phoenix, I use and love me some Alvin Draft/Matic's!


    I also have a couple of Italian Koh-I-Noor Tecnigraphs with different hardnesses of lead in them that I use all the time.


    I draw more with mechanical pencils than traditional ones simply because there's no need to sharpen and no shavings.

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    I swear by the Alvin Draft/Matic pencils. 0.3mm is my preferred caliber for light sketching. The grip is a checkered metal thing, textured just right.. not too slick to grasp and not so rough it's like sandpaper on your fingertips.
    The narrow point is easy to bend, but the barrel is just thick enough to take a pen cap from a cheap Bic ballpoint (another favorite drawing tool of mine) so the pencil can still be carried in a pocket.

    Thanks everyone for the links, I think I'm going to buy a few other pencils just to see how well they work.

    Here's a site I didn't see linked: www.jstationery.com
    They have among other things a 0.2mm pencil. Strange.
    Also one switchable between 0.3, 0.5 and 0.7mm lead.

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