Indelible Pencil Comparison, Short Version.

Don sent us some indelible pencils last year that we worked with and really enjoyed. But, like a lot of things on this site from time to time, writing them up got held up when Life got in the way of blogging. This is a shame because some Comrades, like myself, have mourned the loss of the No Blot indelible pencil (see here and here for more No Blot info), and the newer Pencil Things Select indelible pencil really is a worthy successor. The good news is that, unlike this article, the availability of the new indelible pencil is timely. You can purchase them for a mere $1.50 HERE. Ana at The Well-Appointed Desk did a fantastic write-up recently, which, in part, prompted us to do  our little write-up.

Both pencils have a metal cap on the end, and both are of the dye/graphite variety. Personally, I like the finish and appearance of the No Blot better, since it retains most of the charm of a vintage model I have lying around. The paint, fonts and cap are all pretty well-done. That said, I did get a dozen No Blots a few years ago that had a pencil printed backward. It still works, but it’s a bizarre experience to see the stamping facing the wrong direction on a familiar pencil.

The Select is round, with a fine paint-job, and the glossy cap puts me in mind of General’s Kimberly pencils, of which I am fond. While I don’t like to harp on something very negative, the font and the white lettering really run contrary to what a nice pencil this is. Personally, that font just does something to me, like looking at photos of big hair and 80s glam guitars. That’s just my take, and I’ve been known to feel that way about things which I later find beautiful.

The Pencil Things Select pencil, however, beats the No Blot where it counts: writing.

First off, you can still get them! Secondly, the core is smoother, darker, and more difficult to erase. As you can see above (hopefully — my old camera left something wanting, and these photos are old). Often, with the No Blot, something feels a little…off. The core is thick and feels like it should be softer/darker, like most thick-cored pencils. The Select is soft and has a more “normal” diametered core. Of course, softer and darker usually mean more smears and more sharpening, and that is no different here. But the trade-off is worth it.

Like Ana, I will miss the lovely color of the dye in No Blots when my last dozen (wipes eyes) finally runs out. But the purple of the Select is a nice color, and it’s considerably easier to actually see/read. The Pencil Things Select basically does what the No Blot does (or did). It is a pencil that does not erase like other pencils, because of the dye in the core. It’s not quite as attractive as the No Blot, but it writes just as well, I’d argue, better. And, perhaps best of all, you can still get them!

There are more colors available now, and I’m definitely eager to try them.

“I don’t trust pens.”

I was in the storage area of the department in the university where I work yesterday with another lady in my office.  We were talking about the archival quality of the creepy basement and ink and paper.  When we got back upstairs, I had to check-out certain archived materials with her so that I could take them to my office to peruse them.  She wrote down everything that I took with a pencil bearing our university’s logo.  I noticed a yellow pencil by her keyboard that she had been using earlier.  More in cups.

J: R, do you like pencils?

R: What?  Oh, yes.

J: Me, too (in a whisper).

R: I don’t trust pens.  They never work when you need them to.

J: I’m taking some boys camping this weekend, and I told them to bring a notebook and pencil because it’s likely to be too cold for ink to flow where we’re going…

And I went back to my office glad that I’m not quite the only pencil geek at work.

Pencil for Long-Term Writing.

Little Flower Petals has an interesting post about the permanence of pencil:

“At one point I was worried about using pencil in notebooks I wanted to keep around for awhile, just because it’s erasable. But I got to thinking…*unless* it’s erased, pencil is more permanent than pretty much anything, and the chances of my notebooks experiencing heat or humidity are a lot higher than the chances of a stranger armed with a Pink Pearl breaking in while I’m out and going to town on my old journals. I’m probably safe to use pencil.”

Back when Pencil Revolution first surfaced in 2005 (and before a 4-year hiatus!), my friend was shocked to hear that I still used pens in my journal.  I realized I was probably being silly in my paranoia that my meaningless words would not survive a visit from The Eraser Monster or a few hundred brushes with a dirty hand.  Still, I worried and ordered a dozen No Blot “ink pencils” and tried them out in my journal.  Aside from them being scratchy, I also assumed, after a while, that the dye was probably not safe for long-term use, concerning both the paper and my own skin.  I might have been wrong, but there you go.

I went out late one night back then, listening loudly to Alice in Chains, and bought a new “large” Moleskine to begin my adventures in officially journaling in pencil.  Didn’t take long for me to sully my book with ink, however.  And, despite some forays into graphite journaling, I didn’t start really really really journaling in graphite until this past August.  Now my journal is completely archival safe and, strangely, completely erasable.

And, as it were, the pens I was using in my journaling in 2005, when I was too afraid to journal in graphite, were some of the least archival safe implements with which I have ever written.  I shudder when I see what only five years have done to the writing.  The black ink made the facing page turn yellow with the writing (strange effect indeed), while the blue just faded, especially within a .5-.75 inch border of the pages’ edges.  Everything written back then in pencil: fine, save where I rubbed my hairy mitts on some pages to test smearability, out of said paranoia.

Sure, journaling in pencil means that you have to be pretty careful not to go smearing things around.  But, well, who reads their journals everyday?  Does anyone pet her/his writing? And, anything but the most waterproof inks require at least some special handling.  Gel ink, for the most part, gets messy with even moderately damp hands.

Are there others who journal in pencil for the fun of it, or for the archival properties, etc.?