Writing in color (i).


If I ever step into ink, I usually like to use something a little seasonal, especially in the autumn. Pilot makes a new burgundy G2 now, and the brown Le Pen is an equally great color — sepia with a purple-wine tinge.

But Ashley writes in with a very good question: What are we pencil folk to do when we are bored with graphite grey?

“I love the Pencil Revolution! I am still happily scribbling away with my awesome Cretacolor Monolith woodless graphite pencils, but I have a new urge to write in color. Can someone at the Revolution suggest any colored pencils that are suitable to write with? I have a lovely Stabilo aquarelleo in blue. This has a thick waxy core and is meant for glass, plastic, etc. I enjoy writing with it because it is smooth and fluid, but the thickness has two problems if you just want to writ. It makes it hard to get a nice point on it, and needs too frequent sharpening to keep any point. That said, I would appreciate any new reviews or ideas about colored pencils specifically for writing. Thanks! Vive la Revolution!”

I have some All-Stabilos that are water-soluble china markers, but Ashely’s right. They are not good for writing on paper unless you want to sharpen an already dull point every other line. And trying to write with an artist-type colored pencil will only waste a nice tool.

Some companies used to make indelible pencils in different colors — non-erasable pencils that contained aniline dyes in different hues. But, with the advent of portable pens that don’t make a mess in one’s pocket, those went the way of the manual typewriter. The only ones I can find for sale in the United States are the NoBlot ink pencils, “A Bottle of Ink in a Pencil.” (We’d greatly appreciate info about any others!)

Prismacolor makes Verithins: colored pencils with a very fine core. However, the lead is the same soft formula (?) as the Primacolor colored pencils, so they will probably dull extremely quickly.

Another item to try might be something in the new line of Erasable Checking pencils that Dixon has out. I have only tried the red, but I can vouch that they are very nice checking pencils and that you might be able to write with them as well.

Does anyone else have any ideas?

21 Comments

  1. frank c.

    What color pencils do you have pictured?

    I also saw the Palomino Artist Coloring Pencils – 12 pencils in wooden case on ebay (item #8217599427). I was wondering if anyone had any experience with them.

    I also use teh Noblot Ink Pencil (705) for daily writing and I really like it. It lays down a thick line that’s still close to either a 2B or 4B.

  2. Frank,
    Those are the Forest Choice colored pencils. They are very nice for the price, great for taking to cafe’s and such. These are really my wife’s, so I need to get around to ordering some for myself.

    I have a BEAUTIFUL box of the Palomino pencils, and they are absolutely wonderful! The colors are soft and rich like Prismacolor, but the lacquer is the same great finish as the Palomino graphite pencils. And the box they come in just adds to how…special they feel. They are truly one of a kind.
    Calfornia Republic also makes some watercolor pencils, so I’m holding out to order some when they get on the eBay store.

    I just ordered some NoBlots from DickBlick last night! I was talking with a friend of mine this weekend, and he was shocked to hear that I usually journal in ink. I felt like a hypocrite, so I ordered some straight away.

    Also, Frank C., would you please drop me an email (pencilrevolution@gmail.com)? I have something to talk with you about. :^)

  3. Anonymous

    I just emailed you.

    I also found the Forest Choice colored pencils on ebay. At around $3.50, I had to give them a try. If they’re anywhere near as good as the Forest Choice pencils, they’re a winner!

  4. Anonymous

    I like writing in rainbow pencils – they are sturdy enough and give you lots of colours. You can either twist as you write for rainbow effect, or keep on one colour throughout.

  5. heyartlady

    I haven’t really found any colored pencils that are good for writing, but to me it is not because of lead hardness or softness or waxiness or anything else. It is because of contrast. There are not many colors out there, even if you found a lead that was suitable for writing, that the eye could read easily. So, for writing, I save the colors for the decorations and the graphite for the words!

  6. Edit:
    I checked, and the Prismacolor Verithins are not as soft as the normal colored pencils Prismacolor makes, according to Prismacolor’s description. They are firmer, though to what degree, I’m not sure.

  7. J, I haven’t checked the price on the Prismacolor Verithins, but if they are like the regular Prismacolor colored pencils and cost ONE DOLLAR APIECE (which I save for the SPECIAL projects at school) I will stick to graphite for writing because I can afford most of those. I had a heart attack at school one day when I saw a student heading for the hand crank pencil sharpener with a Prismacolor. I sharpen those with an Exacto! One dollar apiece! Amazing!

    They are lovely colors and density though. I just wish they made them so students would choose that brand when school shopping. What’s mom going to go for? 12 Crayola’s for $1.99 or 12 Prismacolors for $12.99?

    Crayola’s work fine for most art projects, but every once in a while I have to pull out the Prismacolors…after I put some tape over the holes in the pencil sharpener! :-)

  8. Anonymous

    As a professionaly copyeditor for many years I have consistently used Col-erase pencils by Sanford. Indelible pencils are not suitable because I often change my mind while editing and need to erase cleanly. The best Col-erase colors for this purpose are Red, Green, Brown, and my all-time favorite, Violet. These particular leads make a clear mark on the paper and have a good feel.

    Now for my question: Violet has become increasingly hard to find. I used to get Violet by the dozen. Now I can get it only in a 12-pack assortment, leaving me with some colors I don’t particularly care for.

    Any ideas? Or does everyone else out there prefer indelible pencils?

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  10. Lisa Moses

    Can you tell me where you found water soluble china markers? I have looked all over. I’ve been trying to find Berol Hydro Markers but they seem to be extinct so a water soluble china marker seems to be the next best thing.

  11. Sure thing! You can buy Stabilo’s version here:
    http://www.dickblick.com/zz204/08/
    And Staedtler makes some, too, called the Omnichrom (with no e, lol):
    http://www.artstuff.net/staedtler_omichrom_marking_pencils.htm
    http://www.chromacolour.co.uk/store/pencils_omnichrom_animation_uk.asp
    The ones in the pictures are blue, whereas the ones I’ve bought locally are silver. But they are beautifully-made pencils. If you have to choose, the Staedtlers are smoother and richer, in my experience.

  12. Brian

    I use Sanford Col-Erase pencils on a daily basis, and have tried a few of the Prismacolor Verithin pencils. I can tell no difference between the hardness of the cores, and find them suitable for writing. I think the biggest difference between the two is the eraser on the Col-Erase pencils.

    The shop that sells these to me (individually) simply stocks col-erase pencils mixed in with the Verithin ones. A Col-Erase “Blue” might be found stocked one bin over from a Verithin “Indigo”.

    For those who want to try Verithins for writing get a Pink Pearl (or similar) eraser. I find the white vinyl erasers don’t work well with these colored pencils.

  13. C Goings

    I need a pencil that only writes on paper. The inmates in my jail use the golf pencils to write gang signs on the uniforms. If someone who is not in that gang, subsequently gets that uniform, someone could get seriously hurt or killed. Are there any pencils that write only on one medium?

    Thanks,
    Lt. C. Goings

  14. Bill

    This is a very late addition, but I just found this thread. I’m also a copyeditor, and have never found an erasable red pencil with which I’m happy. The Col-Erase line is the best, but the more vivid reds seem to be softer than the darker, shades like vermillion.
    I bought a pack of three Ticonderoga pencils at Staples. They’re bright red and are advertised as editorial pencils. In fact, the lead is so soft I might just as well be writing with lipstick. Tried manual sharpeners, still no good.
    What I’d REALLY love to find is a strong red lead for a mechanical pencil. I’ve tried them, but I guess I have a heavy hand, as they constantly break.

    Bill

  15. Rachael

    Prismas! I caught a great sale at DickBlick before this semester started, the 132 set (XD!) for like 30 bucks.
    I also have a set of verithins. I’m not a fan, because my love for Prisma is the laydown, but for lettering it’s nice to have the same EXACT colors with more precision.

  16. Edward

    Hi.
    I’m trying to find Berol black Hydro markers in San Diego area per european friend’s request (apparently they are available only in US). Google search wasn’t too helpful but it brought up your page and it surely looks like you know about. Do you guys have an idea where can I start looking, maybe art supplies stores?!
    Thanks.

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