My older daughter and I both like to sketch. We sometimes go the the Art Directors Guild's figure drawing sessions here in Los Angeles on Tuesday nights (only $10!) or we sit on the floor of her room and sketch whatever we want. (I like to use old black-and-white photos I find online for reference.)
To store my pencils, charcoals, lead holder, erasers, snap-blade knife, and reading glasses I bought a Lihit Lab Teffa "book style" pencil case ($13 on Amazon). It's not large, but it's designed with "pages" to hold your stuff efficiently. Pens and pencils fit behind straps, and smaller stuff can be stashed in the mesh pouches.
The store is organized with the space-saving rigor of a ship’s cabin. Pencils are displayed upright in glass jars labeled with their origin: Japan, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Tennessee. Framed vintage advertisements on the wall depict the likes of Booth Tarkington shilling his favorite pencils. (Tarkington’s advice to young writers: “Use pencils. Write on thick paper. Sharpen two or three dozen rather soft pencils before you work. Use pencils with erasers on them — and use the erasers!”)
The Gorgeous Nothings, a book that reprints 52 of Emily Dickinson’s poems that she wrote on the backs of used envelopes. They’re incredibly beautiful, and it’s fascinating to see the way she wrapped her writing around the contours of each scrap of envelope.
I got a Minecraft server running on a Raspberry Pi (a credit card sized computer). It actually works! I’m reminded of Staislaw Lem’s short story, ”The Seventh Sally or How Trurl’s Own Perfection Led to No Good,” from The Mind’s I.
Michael Leddy of Orange Crate Art wrote about his favorite pencil, the Eberhard Faber Mongol (ad copy: “writers say it actually stimulates flow of thoughts”), and included this attractive 1964 Life magazine ad for the Mongol and other Eberhard Faber products.
My two favorite parts: the Mongol's twin-pack packaging, and the copy for the Colorbrite pencils ("Intense Color at a feather touch").
Cerkahegyzo is a Hungarian tool maker. In his spare time, he uses "needles, razor blades, sandpaper, files, and polishing stones" to carve pencils into works of art. Twisted Sifter has a gallery of his incredible work.
So, the obvious question is, why pencils? What is it about pencils that merit this sort of attention, this level of devotion? Johnny Gamber, the site's creator and leader, answered that for me over email. What draws him to pencils are "their relative simplicity." But, at that same time, that simplicity obscures an object that, as Gamber sees it, is "amazing," if you just look closely enough. "While mostly made of wood, graphite and clay, they are wonders of engineering," he writes. "Even terrible pencils are made with astounding precision.
I use soft pencils and I bear down hard when I write. As a result, I have to resharpen the pencils frequently. A few years ago I came across this pocket-size two-hole pencil sharpener and now swear by it. It produces very sharp points and does so efficiently.
Hole 1 shaves just the pencil’s wood casing , exposing (but barely touching) the graphite. You are left with a cylinder of graphite sticking out of the pencil tip, as shown below.
Faber Castell's Perfect Pencil is described by the ad copy as "the culmination of the history of the pencil", which somehow does not quite prepare one for the eye-watering $240 price tag—or that of the $500 gift set! Don't worry, though: refills are only $50. [via Uncrate]
Sharpie is to sell a 'liquid pencil,' a pen with erasable ink made from graphite that only becomes permanent after three days' exposure to the air. In the meantime, it may be rubbed out with a standard eraser. It'll hit stores this fall.
Introducing The NEW Sharpie LIQUID PENCIL [Sharpie via Wired]
Update: WordPressfail. Updated link to point to google cache.