Out of Touch, Yet Perfectly Valid

As I’ve delved further into my graduate work I’ve felt more and more out of touch with the world of online art teaching, specifically the teaching of art journaling. Part of this is that I’ve deliberately distanced myself from all the hoopla and brouhaha that surrounds the opening of new classes. The marketing and commercialism turns me off. I get that these classes bring in new people to the joy of art journaling but I can’t help that I just don’t like some of the things I’ve seen. I don’t begrudge the creators of these classes their fat paychecks**. But to me, art journaling when done for healing is a private thing.

This sort of uneasy feeling was cemented when earlier this week I met with a client who isn’t an artist, would likely say she’s not interested in art, but was willing to try out visual journaling. As we sat together and she learned about the materials and expressed herself visually I realized that these sorts of moments- true expression and exploration are what got me interested in art journaling in the first place.

What hooked me wasn’t pictures of big eyes girls, or classes, or even making pretty pages. What hooked me was the authentic expression I found within the pages of my journal.

What I was so very privileged to share in this woman’s experience was pure unadulterated authentic expression using only the most basic of art materials.

When was the last time you used something basic in your art journal? Cheap markers? Oil pastels? Crayons? Prang watercolors?

This was the first time in a year where I’ve felt connected to visual journaling in the same way I did 10 years ago. I was able to see the connection to the journal form and the pure expression of her art build. I witnessed something special.

I haven’t felt that online in ages.

This isn’t to say that the mega classes aren’t fun, I’m sure they are, but they aren’t what I think of when I think “art journaling.”

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Review: Tattersall Pocket Notebook

I picked up a 2-pack of OrangeArt’s pocket sized tattersall letterpress printed notebooks at Black Ink in Harvard Square awhile back. The 2-pack was $8.50, so pretty pricey.TattersallEach notebook has a cover and pages that are letter press printed with a  tattersall pattern. Basically zigzag lines in a large grid pattern. The covers are printed in 2 colors while the interior is a nice shade of gray. The interior paper is nice, toothy enough for pencils and smooth enough for fountain pens. Fountain pens perform reasonably well on this paper, with a little show through and hardly any bleed through but for where I rested my pen a second too long. I used 3 inks in my testing, Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite, J. Herbin Lie de The, and Noodler’s Heart of Darkness.  All were in medium or fine nibbed pens that run wet. I had no feathering or widening of the lines. With the finest of pens the paper made them feel scratchy, but not bad enough to stop me from writing. Pencils performed admirably on this paper. I was able to use my soft dark Palomino Blackwing (“original”) as well as my harder lighter Mirado Black Warrior to good effect. The paper was toothy enough to pull off a decent amount of graphite but not so toothy it felt like I was writing on a cheese grater. Pretty much just right.TattersallTattersall TattersallThe book is held together with 2 standard staples. This works reasonably well. I did not subject this to a stress test as this book was my at-home journal and even there lived in a leather cover. The cover is letterpress printed in 2 colors on white. The cover paper is not much heavier than the interior pages and feels flimsy. It is the worst part of the whole book. While pretty, this cover simply isn’t going to hold up to much abuse or pulling in and out of a back pocket. This is a paper cover that necessitates a case for any use out and about.TattersallThe 40 pages take fountain pen and pencil well. This notebook has 8 less pages than other pocket notebooks that are cheaper. The ruling is also  odd. It is a gray version of the exterior printing but without the cool letterpress imprint*.  The ruling is super wide, about double the width of a Word notebook and most other ruling. It measures in at 13mm. Super wide. i was able to fit 2 lines of writing into one line. I find this annoying. the ruling is also thick about .5mm. even though it’s gray it shows up under all my writing and remains very noticeable. They are available without the ruling. If I were to buy these again I’d look for them with blank pages.Tattersall TattersallOverall these are very pretty pocket notebooks and wonderful if you use a case/cover for your books. If you use fountain pens you will be pleased with the interior paper, and likewise for pencil. They are higher priced than Field Notes or Word notebooks, but boast letterpress printed covers and interior pages. Worth it if you like letter pressed items and want something a little different from the standard fare.

Here you can see the Tattersall on top of a Field Notes Red Blooded, it's a tad smaller than the Field Notes.
Here you can see the Tattersall on top of a Field Notes Red Blooded, it’s a tad smaller than the Field Notes.

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Review: Classic Eraser Round Up

Over on the Erasable podcast they spent an entire episode on erasers. The episode focused on erasers from the perspective of writers and lacked the perspective of an artist.* This highlighted to me the major differences in how artists and writers use erasers and why they use them.

An overwhelming favorite of the podcast were the Pearl erasers, which are now available in the classic pink but also in black and white. The pearl series of erasers feature a gritty removal mechanism that artists tend to avoid as it can damage the delicate surfaces of your art paper, but removes graphite quickly and pretty cleanly while writing. And if you are pressing hard while writing the Pearl erasers can press down the surrounding paper fibers and get down into that groove and get that graphite out. Great for writing, not so great for drawing.

When it comes to using erasers for drawing or  shading, there are so many options out there that it’s confusing. What do you use and when do you use it? This post is about a few classic erasers that you’ll find many art teachers recommend.

All of the images show Design Drawing 3800 4B and a General’s Semi-Hex HB/#2 swatch on color lined 3×5 card. The Semi-Hex was chosen for it’s grittiness and ability to leave scratches in the paper, to demonstrate how the soft erasers have issues with getting into these grooves. The 4B was to demonstrate how the pencil can be pushed into the fibers of the paper. Also included in the first image is the pile of eraser crumbs created via erasing.

Let’s start off with the classic Art Gum Eraser.  It’s tan and can be purchased in a variety of sizes for cheap money. when you use ity you’ll notice that it is also crumbly and makes a mess of crumbs across the page. It does an okay job of graphite removal but it really does a better job with charcoal. It also doesn’t have any grit to speak of so it doesn’t abrade the paper like the Pearl erasers. It is however pretty stiff so I can dent your page.

I recommended this one to my former students mostly because it was super cheap but also for it’s great work with charcoal pencils. erasers1 erasers1Next is the standard kneaded eraser. These are made by a bunch of brands and can also be found in soft, medium, and hard varieties. though most varieties are medium (IMO) and are not labeled. If you aren’t in an art store you will not find the various “hardnesses.” Even most art stores simply carry one style. Many stores also have their brand label of kneaded erasers. In the past kneaded erasers were always gray. Now you can find them in blue, yellow, and other colors.

To use a kneaded eraser you stretch and pull it until it is soft and pliable. You can form it into shapes to make erasures on your page. My favorite shape is a teardrop, the pointy end can be used for details while the larger rounded end can clear away larger swathes of graphite. These can be trickier to get the hang of than similar block erasers, but once mastered they are great. You would use these on almost any drawing paper where you want to clean off graphite or charcoal without damaging your expensive paper. They leave no trace behind so generally, even after erasing your paper will react to watercolors just the same as before you erased. If you have pressed into your page, this eraser will not get that graphite out. This is a delicate eraser meant to remove delicate marks. However with work it will get a paper close to clean.erasers1 erasers1The final classic eraser we should discuss and is always on every art supply list I’ve ever received is the Staedtler Mars Plastic (SMP). While white plastic erasers are now everywhere** the Mars Plastic is the original. The SMP is suggested because it’s soft enough that it doesn’t damage paper but also can clean the paper really well. Unlike the Pearl erasers it has no grit but works really well. It was originally designed for designers to remove graphite from blueprint films, it removed graphite cleanly and easily. It tends to tear if you hold it too far back from the working end, and the paper sleeve helps to keep it from breaking but also to keep it clean. It was able to be cut into shape and used to get tiny small details, which was always fantastic for detailed drawings.

It was always outrageously expensive but has gone down drastically in price over the last 15 years. Which is really great  for the art students out there. I tended to go through one of these, if not more in a school year, as I sketched out ideas, added ink, and then erased my lines later.  It never worked as well with charcoal as it did with graphite but still did okay. It was also available in a click stick format. But that is for another round up.erasers1 erasers1These three erasers were on every art supply list I received in college and later I often recommended them. Over the years I’ve gotten rid of the art gum in favor of other styles but recognize it’s usefulness.

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Review: Ticonderoga Sensematic HB #2

After using wooden pencils nearly exclusively for an entire summer it feels somehow wrong to admit to using a mechanical pencil, especially a new fangled one like the Ticonderoga Sensematic. I mean a ballpoint pen is necessary for filling out forms and such, but a no knock mechanical pencil? Oh my!sensematicThe Sensematic* sports a silver body made of plastic. It is roughly the same size as  a regular pencil. The imprint is teal that matches the typical Ticonderoga green foil pretty well, but I find myself wishing it were green foil. The silver is tough and thus far in my week of use the imprint is staying strong.sensematic

The writing end is all black plastic. The a-typical sleeve is also black and conical is shape. The mechanism is similar to a Uniball Kuru Toga. As you write the interior of the pencil feels you writing and advances the lead just a smidge. It works really well, advancing a little tiny amount of lead each time you make a letter. Now, if you write with long flowing cursive strokes, like the Kuru Toga, this is going to be an issue. Cursive tends to defeat the mechanism, making this pencil well suited for printing and crappy cursuprint like I use.**sensematicThe ferrule is metal and painted Tigonderoga colors. It’s fitted to the lead holder very well and is where one grips to remove the lead holder for refilling the pencil. After unscrewing the ferrule one finds a small white plastic tube with a black cap. This holds 3 leads.*** The cap removes with a pull. On the back end of the pencil is a black eraser, which is the same quality as any other Ticonderoga eraser. That is to say, pretty good as far as pencil cap erasers go. It appears to be the same as the Ticonderoga Noir.sensematicThe lead itself is pretty meh. It is slightly scratchy and not as dark nor as smooth as most Ticonderogas. However, it will accept any 0.7 leads you have available.  I’ve used about a lead and a half over the last week of use. I’ve done quite a lot of writing but no sketching. The lead in this is pretty light so I don’t find it very useful for sketching.

So what am I using this for? First off you’ll notice in the pics, I added a pencil clip. While it’s not the most secure clip in the world it does let me clip the pencil to my shirt at my internship, so that I can grab it for quick notes. The fact that I don’t have to click a knock to advance the lead is super convenient. That only a small amount of lead is exposed at any one time is great. I’m not breaking off bits of lead  or stabbing myself with the pencil. With the clip this is a super convenient mechanical pencil. The final great thing is that they are not much bigger than a pocket notebook in length, so they pair wonderfully with pocket notebook in a cover for EDC.sensematic

In addition to the core being a little scratchy the big downside is that it feels really cheaply made. Granted it was merely $2 for a 2-pack (on clearance) and regularly isn’t much more expensive, but I do wonder what these would be like if made out of better quality materials. They also feel disposable, so I doubt that people, other than me, will replace the lead in them to use them over and over. Honestly a Ticonderoga is a pretty inexpensive pencil to begin with why make a cheap mechanical pencil that will be discarded when empty and pollute the environment? Why not just stick to wood?sensematictoss out the included leads and pick up a pack of Uni NanoDia leads in B or 2B. You'll thank me.

toss out the included leads and pick up a pack of Uni NanoDia leads in B or 2B. You’ll thank me.

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Ideas and Content

As I move further into my professional development as an art therapist and licensed mental health counselor* I find myself wanting to integrate some of my new interests into the blog. Partially as a resource, both for myself, but also to my readers. Well, with training in art therapy comes a lot of ideas of therapeutic interventions as well as a shit load of reading on the various topics. I’m also doing a fair amount of research for my papers and internship.

First I’m thinking of integrating a few book reviews into the blog, specifically those I’m finding inspirational and useful in my internship and papers. I’m reading a lot of really interesting stuff on art therapy, art as therapy, art used in therapy, and general therapy books. I’m less interested in reviewing therapy books as I am books that give specific ideas for Art Therapy. I’m not sure how this will work, or if it will work out. It’s something I’d like to do.

As for the therapeutic interventions. I almost feel like that needs to go on it’s own blog rather than here. But again, my personal philosophy of having the blog follow my personal interests and not having a set theme other than “Leslie’s Mental Whimsies,” is the only way I’m able to continue the blog without  burn out. Look at how different the blog is than it was at it’s inception back in 2000**. I’ve gone from just documenting my various bookbinding ideas and dabbling in art journaling to basically reviewing pencils, pens, and paper. Basically I’m at a loss as to exactly how I’m going to integrate this into my blog.

Those are the first two ideas I’d like to add to the old blog. I’m not sure how I’ll fit them in, or if I’ll even add them. Time is at a premium, and these kinda feel like I’m adding to my course load. I guess I’m also interested in how my readers feel about my ideas for new content. Clearly I haven’t’ been writing much about art journaling lately and my focus has really moved from art as an activity to art as a healing tool. As I make that shift in my head and my practice I’m really struggling with how I’m going to keep up my blogging practice*** I’ve been forced to cut back on blogging simply because I only have so  much time in a day and much of my time is taken up by studying and writing for my classes.

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Review: Furrow Books Pocket Size Notebook

I signed onto the Kickstarter campaign for Furrow Books roughly 6 or so months ago.  I pledged for one of the founding member pocket sized notebooks. Its price was fair to help support the campaign.FurrowThe pocket sized notebooks are 3.5×5.5 inches in size and contain 48 pages. The pages are held to the cover by 3 silver staples. This is all pretty standard in the pocket sized notebook arena. The front cover is unadorned and is a nice dark shade of green. The back cover has some information about the company and the book. Because this was a limited edition of 1500, it sports a hand numbered 0044/1500. At the bottom of the back cover is the furrow books logo. The cover is made of stiff sturdy card. I really dig the logo free front cover.FurrowFurrowInside the covers are colored the original Kickstarter green* and they are blank. They don’t have a place to put your information but this is easily enough to be scrawling in with ink. The pages are blank. Furrow books schtick is that their pages are blank, but that they have a card with lines that you can stick behind them and use as a guide. The pages are just thin enough that you can see this guide well enough to, uh, guide your writing. In practice this works pretty well. I found shoving the card behind every page a tad annoying** but for specific reason which will likely not annoy anyone else (read the footnote for more info on this.) Using the notebook in my cover meant that the elastic pushed the card out of place. Outside the cover it worked pretty well.  I really liked the fact that once I was done there were no lines visible on my page and yet my writing was perfectly straight. Like lines? That’s covered. Like grids? That’s covered. The card is double sided to accommodate what you prefer.FurrowFurrow FurrowFurrowWhile using a pencil I found that my card got a little graphite transfer. This wasn’t an issue in use just a thing to make note of. It wouldn’t happen with fountain pens.FurrowAs someone who interchangeably uses fountain pens, pencils and cheap roller balls it’s important that I know what kind of utensil will work on my paper. I found that pencils worked the best on this paper, in fact they worked so well I found myself using little else. I did test out the Field Notes clic pen to good effect. I tested out a few of my fountain pen stash and the results were ok. I had a lot of show through  and a touch of bleed through. YMMV. I really liked it with pencil, and I would put it on par with some of my other favorite notebooks with pencils. Furrow FurrowOverall this is a pretty nice notebook with great paper that is made well here in the US. The aesthetics are significantly different than Field Notes and approach a classy simplicity in the choice of cover materials and treatments.  These notebooks would look good in an office, board meeting, or a meeting with nerdy professors. The branding is subtle and adult, sophisticated. Again,, comparing them to Field Notes, they lack the fun factor, but make up for it by being an adult notebook.

While I was a Kickstarter Supporter, I suggest that people keep an eye out for these notebooks and support them. MAde in the USA, quality construction (when compared to other notebooks of similar build) and a nice look. How can you go wrong?

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Review: Dixon Oriole HB #2

The Dixon Oriole is a pencil that reinforces my determination to use a pencil (or pen) for roughly a week, if not longer before writing a review. It also is a caution for other bloggers who might do what @paperandhand referred to as “beauty” reviews*, wherein a blogger is sent free product that is outside her/his expertise and (maybe) feels pressured to do a review. The resulting review is clearly cursory, took perhaps 15 minutes to do, maybe less, and the product is rubber stamped as, “Gorgeous, lovely, awesome, great, superb.”  Maybe the products are gorgeous and great, but often times I find myself chuckling at horrible reviews that really don’t explore the product or their uses. In the end the reviewer has done the reader a disservice by promoting a product that they don’t know much about, don’t understand all that well, and ins some cases actually spread incorrect information**.

I digress, my point being had I initially written a review of the Dixon Oriole after handling it for 15 minutes that review would have been glowing, “OMG you guys, get this pencil, it’s soooo awesome, on par with some of my faves.” Except, I found out over the course of a little over a week of on and off use, no, it really isn’t. In fact, I would go so far as to call this pencil a polished turd. polished turdLet me start the review by stating that Dixon appears to have moved production of this pencil from the US, to China, and now to India. The box I received was from India. According to other reviews, there were some  quality issues with the finish while they were produced in China.polished turdFrom the box I received these are stunning yellow pencils. The finish is thick and bright chrome yellow, aka school bus yellow. It’s smooth and without blemish. This finish is premium, up there with a Palomino Pearl. When you sharpen it you can see the thickness of the finish. The gold foil imprint is sharp, tight and clear. The brass colored ferrule is well fixed to the body of the pencil, matching the gold foil. The pink eraser looks great on the classic yellow pencil. Overall if you are looking for a really good looking classic yellow school pencil, this one will fit the bill and then some.polished turdInside the pencil is made out of a light weight jelutung (I think anyway, it looks like the other jelutung pencils I have). It sharpens quite well.polished turdThe core is of average diameter and also sharpens easily. It is well centered. If sharpened with ANY long point sharpener the point snaps off. EVERY single freaking time. Since I used this a fair amount on the road (OK at school but not at home) and I carry one sharpener- a KUM handheld long point, I spent a ton of time sharpening my pencil. *** It was so annoying. Then came the fractures in the core. I’d sharpen my pencil, and pull it from the sharpener only to fine the core had fallen out. I’d sharpen it up again, only a great deal of the core had fallen out. I lost a good 2 inches of each pencil I used to the sharpener. This would break my concentration as I was studying. It would also irritate me. It’s clear from this that the core is not bonded well to the wood and is of uneven enough quality that though it was well padded in it’s shipment to me that the cores are all fractured to hell.polished turdThe eraser is also pure shite. I’d be better off rubbing my notebook on the ground or on my ass to erase a word. I was so frustrated with the eraser I just stopped erasing.polished turdAnother issue that I can’t figure out if it comes from Amazon or Dixon is that these pencils smell STRONGLY of mildew. I received several other items from the same warehouse in the same box and notice no discernible smell of mildew from those other items. So, either the smell is from this particular area in the Amazon warehouse, or these pencils smell. The box itself doesn’t smell too strongly and it does dissipate after the pencils are allowed to air out. But it is off putting and should be mentioned should anyone be tempted to order a pack after reading this review.****polished turdOver all these are good pencils when you sharpen then with a wedge, like the Alvin/DUX inkwell, KUM ellipse, and get past the fractured core. When they write they are pretty nice. However, the fact that they cannot be used with a long point sharpener without endless frustration really puts them off my radar. The core is also fractured in every single pencil I’ve tested, starting about 2 inches up, then every other sharpening thereafter. Honestly, this was a tough pencil for me to get past my week of use mark******. I cannot bring myself to sketch with such a shoddy pencil.

Why Dixon would put such a nice finish on such a terrible unholy pencil core is beyond me. Truly a situation where they polished a turd.

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Review: Zebra F-701 Stainless Steel Pen Hacked

The Zebra f-701 pen is a solid stainless steel pen with one exception, the knock has a plastic ring around it. However, the F-402 has a solid stainless steel knock. This hack explains how to swap the knock out of the 402 and the 701. While I question the tactical effectiveness It’s a relatively easy process that I think really improves the look of  an already nice pen.

The pen is smooth lightly brushed stainless steel with a knurled grip section. Notable is the absence of any printing. The clip has 701 pressed into it. The clip on the 402 is sturdier so I swapped them when I swapped the knock. The knurling is slight and unlike other deeply knurled grips doesn’t feel like I’m going to sandpaper my fingers off each time I grab hold.  I prefer the simple 2-step tip on the 402 to the 5-step tip of the 701, sadly they are not swapable. The tip of the 402 is just a smidge too long to allow for the tip of the cart to deploy.

The refill that they arrive with is a smaller plastic refill than the Zebra refills that you can get. It will accept a Fisher Space Pen refill if you modify the plastic sleeve hiding in the tip. One modification is to take the sleeve out entirely, the other is to stretch it out by sliding it over the tip of the  Space Pen cartridge. I like hack that keeps the plastic sleeve, as it stops any unwanted clicking and wiggle in the tip. the zebra refill is pretty good for sketching and general notetaking. It’s not super smooth but it’s not scratchy. It’s dark enough that you can get a good amount of light and dark out of it as you sketch. It is a nice fine point. I will dissent with the majority opinion and state flat out, I like the Zebra refill more than I like the Fisher Space pen refill.

The 701 is a great pen even if you don’t swap out the knock for the all metal knock of the 402.  It just works. It now retails for around $8. the 402 comes in a 2 pack for about $9. The good thing with this pen is that it’s mostly metal construction means it can be dropped, kicked and knocked about and still write. Not many pens can make that claim.

 

Review: Zebra V-301 Fountain Pen

I had read a few good reviews of the Zebra V-301 Fountain Pen (V-301). The V-301 features Zebra’s typical mixture of stainless steel and black plastic barrel. At first blush it’s not a bad looking pen. The imprint is a crisp clean screen print. The black plastic is well molded and looks pretty nice. The center section, is the grip and has a waffle pattern that keeps the plastic from being slippery. Which brings me to the first detraction I’ll make of the pen. At each end of the pen the plastic is shiny but the middle section is flat. This makes sense because that waffle patterned plastic is the grip. I find it odd to mix matte and shiny plastics on the same pen.zebrafp

The pen is a nice diameter, neither too slim nor too thick. It’s a great size for gripping, even with my small hands. It is just large enough that it wouldn’t look ridiculous gripped in a big meaty paw. Without posting the pen is okay for writing but the cap is small and light enough that this pen can be posted without feeling off balance. It’s not a particularly long pen, even posted. The cap slides on and off the pen with a reassuring click. Letting you know it’s been removed or replaced. Even when you post it there is a click.zebrafp

My second issue with the pen is that the nib is diminutive when compared to the size of the pen. It’s on the ridiculous side and doesn’t look quite right. While others have reported that the pen writes well straight out of the package mine did not. It was quite scratchy. I had to get out my loupe and push and pull the tines into alignment and then I had to smooth it. Even still it’s not my favorite nib. It’s good for quick notes and such, but I wouldn’t want to take notes with it for a whole class nor would I wish to write out journal pages.zebrafp

The ink that arrives with the pen is acceptable, but nothing to write home about. It appears to take standard international cartridges. I have yet to test it with anything but the cart that came with it. I find the ink to be poorly behaved, feathering on a lot of papers and soaking through many others.zebrafp

Overall, this is a $5 pen available at places like Walgreens across the US. I think it’s a horrible introductory pen for people. I’d much rather see people get the Parker Vector* (are they still made?) or another brand of fountain pen than this one. I know that others have reported good luck with these, but I really see this as a good pen for someone willing to tweak the nib and play with the pen to get a good writing experience. I think that you have a better chance of getting a good experience with a Platinum Preppy.

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Reflection: The BEST Pencil, EVER

After getting the weird bendy extruded pencils*** (by empire? eagle?) several years in a row I vowed that when I had control over my pencil purchasing power to buy better pencils. I was also older and used pens as much as I possibly could. That is a whole other story*. Anyway, I think it was 8th grade when I discovered the various colored Eberhard Faber Americans. They came in red, blue, and green. After years of messing around with crappy bendy nasty writing pencils I suddenly had pencils that sharpened and wrote well. It was a miracle to not struggle with my pencil.ECOwriterAs I entered my second year of high school I had been reading about ecology and recycling and though of myself as a budding tree hugger. That school year I purchased my first batch of Eberhard Faber ECOwriters and  the pulpy gray recycled paper that went along with them. The paper was a dull gray had green ruling and a little recycle logo in the bottom right corner. It was terrible paper for pencils, but was great for ballpoint pen. The ECOwriters were briefly available at my local drug store (I think back then it had changed from Welby’s to Rite-Aide) and I could pick up another 12-pack anytime I wanted them. When it wasn’t back to school time they were ridiculously expensive but I always splurged. **

I used the ECOwriters for a couple of years with much happiness. I bought one of my last packages in college and thought nothing more of them, until I ran out. I had squirreled away a few packages of them, but for the majority of college I used art pencils and roller ball pens or various art pens. It wasn’t until I was teaching that I had a need to get another pack of ECOwriters. I went to my local drug store, and found nothing. On a weekend I took a trip to the far away box office store, and found nothing. I went to box stores, nada. I looked for them on and off for a few months before I happened onto another package I can’t even remember where I found them, but I remember being confused, the pencils said “ECOwriter” but it was accompanied by the brand PaperMate.***

I got them home, tore into the package for instant sadness and disappointment. The core was gritty and not smooth. Sharpening them was a painful experience. Back then I sharpened with a knife 99% of the time and that was just an awful mess. My art sharpeners, even new sharpeners left a terrible mess on the pencils. It was as if the pencil that I had loved was crumbling before my eyes. I think I left these in my classroom for kids to steal rather than use them.

Enter eBay, the flea market for champions of 90s nostalgia. A seller on eBay has lots of these beauties, true vintage Eberhard Faber ECOwriters from the 90s! I was surprised to get a package from a friend containing a baker’s dozen true EF ECOwriters, in not only  the traditional yellow but also the color version. Best early birthday gift ever! I immediately sharpened one up and used it all day. It was rad. I’ll do a full review, remember it’s colored with nostalgia.

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