My pencils

The red drawers in my studio hold well over a 108 pencils.
They are of different descent but share the same ability to draw a smooth professional line.
All are grand scribblers, crucial players in the creation of my work.
All play the same type of graphite music, some louder, some softer, some faster but all sound harmonious and clear.

(BTW, there is a great blog: Pencil Talk all about pencils, pencils and more pencils.
This blog orchestrates facts, figures and technicalities around the graphite pencil and as they aptly say "exploring the art and science of pencils since 2005".
Well worth checking out.)

Back to my studio inhabitants.
All have great blood lines.
They are the Staedlers, the Derwents, the Faber-Castells, The Cretacolors and the Prismacolors.

The Staedlers (Made in Germany - seriously big: around 2.500 people work for Europe's largest pencil manufacturers) live along side the Derwents (Made in England - my favorites- launched in 1938), the Faber-Castells (Also German -also seriously big: currently operate the largest pencil factory of the world in Sao Carlos, Brazil.), the Cretacolors (founded in 1792, by Austrian Joseph Hardtmuth) and a few Prismacolors (originated in Sussex England back in 1938 - speciality more in coloured pencils variety) in surprisingly good harmony.

Harmony in drawer #2

Below some posed familly portraits.

Staedler Mars Lumograph pencils displaying their striking colour.

One of the oldest industrial companies in Germany and has always remained true to its manufacturing base in Nuremberg.The pencil is where it all began - 3rd October 1835 saw the start of a German success story.

Above a small sample of my Derwent lodgers displaying their subtle yet memorable orange stripe.

I love working with these pencils. So much so, that I will revert to using all the tricks in the book to keep them scribbling way past their sell-by date...

Derwent pencils are the best.
They have been reliable top notch performers on my drawing board for many a drawing.
Others must say much the same " The Cumberland Pencil Co is known and respected worldwide for its innovation & quality." Cumberland Pencil Co have been producing pencils for the last 175 years. (Source: Derwent)
As well as being marked by history they are also...vegan. You may remember my mentioning this in a previous post.
There is a Derwent museum which claims to house the first ever pencil (a visit is an absolute must-add-to-my-bucket-list!)

Faber-Castell was founded long before the French Revolution and the formation of the United States of America.
They are the other world's major manufacturer of wood-cased pencils. (Every hour Faber -Castell grows 20 cubic metres of timber. 1 million Caribbean Pine seedlings are replanted each year) (Source: Faber-Castell)
I have an incredible amount of well scribbled and sharpened Faber-Castells.
No graphite artist's studio would be complete without them.

Cretacolor Monolith displaying their E.T like qualities: grey & mysterious.

The Monolith Graphite which derives from Greek and means “stone out of one flush”, is an exclusive to Cretacolor. It has no wood casing.
The ancestors of this pencil were the first pencils to be produced with burnt graphite leads. Hardthmuth, Austrian entrepreneur & inventor, mixed (cheap) graphite powder with clay and formed pencil leads out of it. The lead was then heated up to 900°C, producing a very strong lead with high breaking strengt. (Source:Wikipedia)

Only three Prismacolours have set up home in the red trolleys.
They are great to work with and create an interesting strong contrast. They created "Welcome Impact" . I can't help but think that we will be welcoming new additions to their family.
The Prismacolor water soluble graphites create rich, dark marks that can be diluted with water.

Did you know?

  • Pencil, a derivative of the Latin word pencillus for 'little tail', originally described a small, fine, pointed brush.
  • Faber-Castell, a German company for writing instruments was founded in 1761 in Nuremberg by Kaspar Faber.
  • Keswick in England has the distinction of producing the world's first graphite pencils. The first pencils ever made were manufactured at Keswick following the discovery of graphite in the Seathwaite Valley. The Cumberland Pencil Company manufactures the world famous Derwent Fine Art pencils. These are used by professional and leisure artists Keswick also has the Cumberland Pencil Museum which traces the fascinating history of pencils.
  • The first patent for attaching an eraser to a pencil was issued in 1858 to Hyman Lipman from Philadelphia. Initially, pencils did not have erasers attached to them. Later, pencil manufacturers started attaching erasers to pencils. This patent was later held to be invalid because it was just a combination of two things.
  • A pencil will write in zero gravity, upside down, and under water.
  • The typical pencil can draw a line 35 miles long and write 45,000 words (Who had time to figure that out?)
  • On an average, a 14-year-old 'pinus caribaea' tree can produce up to 2,500 pencils.
source: &

These were just a few of my scribbles friends, there are still the chunkies, the mechanicals and the sharpeners jumping up and down for attention.
Food for


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