Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Why we need so many brands of pencils?

Have you had new pencils for Christmas? Maybe you treated yourself for a new brand of pencils because others spoke of their quality or colours. In any case, you may wonder why we have so many types and brands of pencils.

Pencils, all varieties of pencils, have characteristics peculiar to them. It all depends on the 'recipe' of the manufacturer and the purpose it aims to achieve in the type of pencil produced.

I have a wide range of pencils in my 'collection', but I don't see the seem that a collection, but rather a range of tools in my workshop. There is no one spanner which will fit all nuts and bolts. Same goes for pencils. I get to know my pencils well, by 'playing' with them and pushing them to their limits to see what they are capable of achieving.

So what is the deal then with the different pencils? I try to discover the characteristics and identify the possibilities of the different pencil brands. Of course, the personal preference comes into it, but don't be put off from exploring the brands you are not familiar with.

I have listed below so characteristics to help you discover the potential in your collection of pencils:

- Pigment permanence
- Wax or Oil based
- Soft and crumbly
- Soft and creamy
- Hard and crumbly
- Hard and scratchy
- Waxy and creamy
- Do they sharpen well without breaking
- Do they hold their point well
- Do they lose their point quickly
- How do they behave on different paper surfaces
- Are they water soluble
- Do they retain their colour after applying water
- Does the pigment dissolve well

I'm sure more can be added to the above list, but you can see from the above there are different but very useful characteristics. For example, if the pigment does not fully dissolve is not necessarily a bad thing; think of texture, sand on a beach etc.

Happy New Year! :)



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