The ABCs of Pencils

Close your eyes and picture a desk at school, with a pencil sitting on top. Did you imagine a yellow wooden #2, perhaps with a pink eraser? The iconic yellow pencil has been around for well over a hundred years, and to this day it’s one of our go-to school supplies.

Last week in our back-to-school series we wrote about notebooks. This week, we’re talking pencils: traditional wooden pencils, mechanical pencils, extra-wide pencils, pencils that advance their own lead - even pencils that glow in the dark. Read on for our staff favorites, school recommendations, and some of our most interesting pencil features.

Staff Favorites

Victor’s pick: Ohto Sharp Pencil 2.0mm Mechanical Pencil

As an engineer, I always preferred mechanical pencils for writing. Except I was the kid in class that you constantly heard clicking away at his pencil because his lead kept breaking. I've always had a tight grip and heavy hand when writing so I was relieved to find the Ohto Sharp Pencil which uses 2.0mm lead. Besides no more lead breaking, it’s super comfortable to hold with its jumbo pencil-like hexagonal wooden barrel. With its versatile thicker lead, I'm able to do some sketching and light shading too. And when it's time to get back to writing, just sharpen the lead with a 2.0mm lead pointer and you're ready to go.

Jenny’s pick: 7-in-1 color pencil

Writing with the 7-in-1 color pencil feels magical to me. You can use it to write or draw in notebooks, greeting cards, and more. The rainbow colors are sure to inspire you.

Yulan’s pick: Mono Graph Shaker Mechanical Pencil

This is my current favorite mechanical pencil. I especially love the new pastel colors that they have. And get this! You can shake it to extend the lead! No more jamming the clicker up and down, just a simple shake will get you what you want. The clip on the pencil also acts as a lock for the shaker. Push it up to lock the lead and push it down to extend the lead like a normal mechanical pencil. I also enjoy the twist eraser on the end. It’s refillable so no more worn down erasers for your favorite mechanical pencil.

Jean’s pick: Kokuyo Me

Although I mostly use pencils for drawing instead of note-taking, I always carry a mechanical pencil for writing. That's currently a Kokuyo Me 0.7 mm. The hexagonal rubber grip is comfortable to hold, and keeps the pencil from rolling around on desks. I also like that both the metal tip and refillable eraser can be retracted, to protect them from getting banged up.

Sara’s pick: Blackwing Matte

I'm typically a pen user in my day-to-day life, but Blackwing pencils are so satisfying to write with that I've started looking for more excuses to use a pencil. I like all their pencils, but I favor the Matte, with soft dark lead. The matte finish on the pencil is soft and comfy to hold, and the dark graphite looks so rich on a page. I like to sew and the soft graphite is great for marking fabric as well as drawing or writing. And I'm a big fan of the extendable square eraser.

Pencils to Pay Attention To

If you’re looking for a classic #2 pencil for school, check out the Mitsubishi 9850, the Blackwing Natural, or the Woodgrain Pencil. All of these options have wooden barrels, built-in erasers, and lead that is #2 grade or comparable.

If you’re looking for a pencil with more interesting or unusual features, though, here are some of our favorite pencils that are a little bit out of the ordinary:

Piquant Pencils: A Gallery

P.S. Pencils and other back-to-school supplies will be 20% off until 8/31/20 when you use code SCHOOL at checkout.

See the collection >

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.