Review: Lihit Lab Teffa Bag-in-Bag A5 (Small)

Recently Brad over at the Pen Addict mentioned that he had both sizes of the Lihit Lab Teffa Bag-in-Bag (BIB) and didn’t find the smaller size as useful. Like Brad, I have both sizes but I’ve found a use for the small size, but I don’t use it for stationery. I use it for personal care items that I want to have in my bag but don’t want to have duplicates of for every bag.ospreyflapjack

If you’ve read my previous bag reviews you know that I was basically using my backpack as a mobile office while I was in school.   A good part of making this comfortable was being organized. There is nothing quite as bad as realizing I’m away from home and that I forgot the charger for my phone, and that the cheapest charger at CVS/school bookstore/etc is $20 that I don’t have. I was spending entire days away from home without the comfort of a locker or desk to stash the usual stuff I would leave at a desk. My small BIB became that carry all for those desk drawer items you don’t always think about. It made it really easy for me to swap bags from day to day. On school or cafe working days I’d put the BIB in the Flapjack, on internship days it went into my professional leather bag. Much easier than moving all the small items from bag to bag.LLTBIBMy small BIB contained the following:

In the main compartment:

  • Epipen
  • Travel pack of WetOnes wipes 
  • Travel tube of hand lotion
  • Snack sized zipper bag with tampons and pads
  • Snack sized zipper bag with OTC, bandaids, alcohol wipes, toothpicks, and a vial with 1 day of spare prescription medication, and the scripts for them
  • Travel pack of ibuprofen (not pictured)
  • Zipper bag with 2 pairs of nitrile gloves*LLTBIBinside

In the outer pockets:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Packets of tea**
  • Handmade cotton handkerchief
  • Spare 10ft charging cable for my tablet+wall jack (not pictured, FN in it’s place)
  • Emergency Bullet pencilLLTBIBfront

Some of this is obviously female centric- but someone of this works for anyone- the OTC meds and bandaids, you would be surprised at the number of occasions I found people needed a bandaid, or I did. Hangnail or paper cut the alcohol wipes and bandaids were there. Start to feel sick? Got dayquil tablets. Got raging diarrhea? Got some immodium right here. Bike chain jumped off? Got gloves and wipes. Stuck my hand in some gunk on the train? Hand sanitizer to the rescue. Friend needs a charge? Got that covered.

Thirsty and tired of sipping water? Well, shit, let’s not be uncivilized and let’s sip some chai or chamomile.*** Stung by a bee? Anaphylactic shock setting in? Well there’s the epipen, and 2 benedryl  in the pack.

Until recently I used the large size to corral my tablet, keyboard, and a notebook into one package, but I’ve swapped that out for a Galen Leather case. The large size is great for that purpose, but the small size has it’s merits as well, but perhaps those merits aren’t stationery related but more EDC related.

My zippers were smooth and work well. However I did notice a few stitching issues here and there- they were easily solved with the use of a lighter to heat set them.

You can get one here.

Continue reading

Review: Bic Cristal

The Bic Cristal seems to be a heavily favored ball point for sketching, drawing, and doodling. One might wonder why when there are so many “better” options out there for pens. Please keep in mind that this review/discussion is abou the Cristal and NOT the shite Bic Stic.biccristal

First and foremost, I’ll point out that my strongest belief is that the best tool is the tool you use. If you have a Bic in hand and you feel like drawing, then  you should.biccristal

Bic Cristals are available everywhere. I found them in CVS, Walgreens, target, Staples, Walmart, and every other place I looked.  They are also very inexpensive. A 24 pack of mixed colored Xtra Bold were $4 at my local Staples while the 15 pack of Ultra Fine “Precisions” were $3.49 at my local Target. (Calling these two chains local sort of begs the question of what local is- in this case I’m using it to describe a location to which I could, if pressed, ride my bike to in a reasonable amount of time, that is roughly 5 miles from my home.*) For less than $10 I was able to purchase 39 pens in 8 colors and 2 tip sizes for under $10. That is very cheap.biccristal

Because they are quite inexpensive and easily available everyone knows what they feel like to use. Because of this they do not feel precious. You can use them to your hearts content and not be worried that you are going to use them up, because for another $4 you can get another 24-pack.biccristal

For the most part, they simply work. I’ve found that a few of the colors seem to flow more slowly than others, and that the Ultra Fines seem to skip a bit here and there, but that is also useful when sketching or drawing- using a pen with a “rougher” flow can give a bit of character to a sketch that otherwise might be flat and boring.biccristal

The various colors are all pretty standard. Their core colors are black, dark blue, red, and dark green. The new 4 seem to be part of  their “fashion” line up- dark purple, light blue, pink, and light green. The purple, light blue, and pink are okay but the light green is a sick shade of yellow green that borders on the color of bile. Nasty.biccristal biccristal

What makes the Cristal stand out from the Stic is that the Cristal body is hard, while the Stick flexes quite a lot in use. When I was a kid my Bic Stics ALWAYS ended up curved. In some part because I would use them as a worry and bend them as I read, but also because I’d put a lot of pressure on them. The Cristal doesn’t allow for flex. Too much pressure and it will shatter. Unlike the Clic, the Cristal’s point doesn’t flop all over the place as it is used. This makes the Cristal great for sketching, doodles, and drawing.biccristal

Currently, I’m testing the lightfast abilities of all the Cristals in my possession but I strongly doubt that the majority of the colors are lightfast, if any at all. I suspect that the light green, pink, red, and purple will be gone in a week or 2, and in a month the majority of the other colors, including black, will have shifted in shade substantially. I’ll keep you updated.

For the art journaler who uses acrylic in their journal, the Xtra Bold pens have the added bonus of being able to write over acrylic paints.

Continue reading

Review: Osprey FlapJack (OriginalVersion)

For my final year of graduate school I realized I needed a smaller bag, my Brain bag was simply TOO big. I only had 2 classes, and only one of which met regularly in the city. Additionally, I didn’t need to cart around quite so much stuff. I established what I’d be carrying on a regular basis.

  • My tablet and keyboard
  • A notebook
  • Pencil case
  • Phone
  • Assorted daily items
  • Clipboard with printed articles (roughly 25 to 100 printed pages depending on the day.)

Obviously, my daily carry for classes had changed over time and had dramatically reduced. I wanted a backpack with an integrated laptop sleeve for my tablet and keyboard and enough room for my stuff plus occasional purchases and removed outer layers.ospreyflapjack

With this purchase I was far less concerned with the longevity of the bag and more concerned with it being cost effective and comfortable. With this in mind I checked out the bags carried by some of my peers and searched Amazon for something about half the size of the Brain Bag. The Osprey FlapJack fit the bill. I purchased the olive green.* The FlapJack includes several replaceable straps for the closure and sternum strap. These are easily replaced with a little oomph applied.ospreyflapjack

Inside the bag are two large compartments divided by the integrated laptop pocket. The pocket furthest to the back is slim and doesn’t hold much at all, only a few notebooks. I used this mostly to hold a clipboard with printed articles, or my tablet depending on the day. The integrated laptop pocket will hold up to a 15″ laptop and was plenty deep for my 10″ tablet and keyboard. The largest pocket, furthest to the front of the bag has a small mesh pouch that is not overly useful but will hold a water bottle to the side of the bag. The large compartment can hold several books and notebooks as well as an assortment of other items. There is a side pocket that is long and slim.It is perfect to hold a waterbottle, and on several occasions I’ve used it to corral a wet umbrella. The flap has a small pocket that is accessible when the bag is closed. This pocket is only big enough to hold keys, chapstick, and a few other things. This bag is not big, it has a slim profile that can be snugged down even more slim with the use of the straps. The flap can be used to secure a jacket or other loose items.ospreyflapjack ospreyflapjack ospreyflapjack

There is no suggesting that this is a big bag, it’s just big enough for someone who needs to carry a few books and a laptop or tablet, maybe a few other things. This is not a bag for a long weekend trip or even a student in need of a lot of things. You aren’t going to pack this bag with things for more than 2 classes, and even then, you won’t fit all the books for 2 classes in it at a time. No, this is a bag for when you don’t need a lot of stuff with you. It is a perfect bag for grabbing and going to the cafe to work, or to the library for research.ospreyflapjack 20160528_133525 ospreyflapjack

The bag was very comfortable when packed full or packed lightly. The straps are very comfortable and the back utilizes mesh as well as foam to create air channels that help to keep your back cool. I found this very comfortable. I did find that the sternum strap did not adjust quite low enough for me and in several positions I felt as if it were strangling me. On the lowest position it worked just fine. The sternum straps are secured to the shoulder pads via a button and buttonhole type attachment. There are only 4 options for attachment. The zippers are smooth and work incredibly well.ospreyflapjack

I purchased this without expecting it to last past the school year, but even after repeated use and abuse the bag looks good and still works well. I’ve found that some types of foam flatten out with use and are less comfortable over time. The FlapJack does not suffer from this issue. The straps are just as comfortable today as they were a year ago at the day of purchase. I expected to toss this bag into the recycling bin at the end of the school year, instead I’m reaching for it again and again when I walk to the cafe or to the library to work on this blog. This is a high quality bag that I expect to use for years to come. For a backpack that I spent roughly $60 on, this has worked extremely well.

Nitty gritty details at a glance:

  • 1 large compartment divided in two
  • Zippered laptop compartment, fits 15″ laptop
  • Mesh organizer pocket inside main compartment
  • 2 small organizer pockets at front of bag- largest with organizing pockets, one with a key leash
  • 1 side pocket that fits a 1L water bottle or umbrella
  • Large flap keeps contents dry
  • Small pocket on flap
  • Sternum strap
  • Hip Straps
  • Holds 25Liters

Continue reading

Review: Casemate Premium No. 2 Pencils

I found these due to a post on the Erasable Facebook group. Casemates is Walmart’s private label office goods brand.I found a wide assortment of Casemate (CM) goods- from legal pads to pencils to journals in their office aisle. You name it, they have a Casemate logo slapped onto it. The majority of the goods, well, it is easy to see that they are simply rebranded things from other manufacturers. Such is the case with all private label goods*. With careful purchasing you can buy a product that is ALMOST the same as the regular product for a fraction of the price**.CMPP CMPP

The CM Premium Pencils (CMPP) are sold in an 8-pack for 97 cents. The 8-pack comes in a tin and plastic tube that doubles as a sturdy pencil case or stand. It does dent easily, but it is not crushed with ease. Inside the case are 8 pencils and a sharpener. The sharpener is pretty meh, but it does the job. It sharpens to a standard short point. The sharpener is labeled “Nataraj.” Which leads me to believe that the pencils are made by the Hindustan company which manufactures the Nataraj pencil brand***.

The pencils are quite nice. They have a thickly applied glossy lacquer in silver and black. The color scheme appeals to my inner angsty teen. The imprint is in silver foil and simply says, “No.2/HB.” the imprint is done well on some and not so well on others. On  a few of mine only part of the imprint was there the rest it was fine.CMPP

The wood appears to be linden/basswood. It’s light in color and sharpens well. When sharpened it has the smell of bay leaves. The ferrule is affixed to all of mine well. It holds a useless nubbin of an eraser that must’ve been added as a joke. It’s a white rubbery blob that is too small to fit properly into the ferrule and does an absolutely shit job of erasing graphite from anything I’ve tried- from Field Note to Story Supply Company to 3×5 card to Reporter notebook to my Mt Tom. It was a useless turd of an eraser. It sort of dust gathers, but mostly the pristine white eraser turns a shade of gray and feels mushy. This thing sucks sooooo bad.CMPP

The core itself is dark, smooth, sharpens easily, and holds a point remarkably well for a pencil this dark. I didn’t have to sharpen the pencil for page after page of writing. Holy smokes awesome. I was able to keep on going and going. Amazing point retention. However I would not call this an HB pencil, no, it is easily a B if not a 2B. Cores are mostly well centered, with one or two of the 24 I purchased off centered enough to notice a problem during sharpening.

Now the reason these pencils are kind of a big deal? Well first off the whole package- case, sharpener, and pencils are only 97 cents. That a pencil this dark and smooth is available for 97 cents is pretty amazing. The other part of the awesome is that these look and feel just like the Nataraj Platinum Extra Dark 2b pencil. Which is an awesome pencil with all the same flaws I’ve listed above. More importantly is availability. Previously, you have to order from CWPE (not a bad option) or find them via Amazon or eBay. None of these are deal breakers, but if you go the Amazon/ebay route you could wait weeks to a month to get your pencils, and pay more than 12 cents a pencil, plus you don’t get a sweet hackable metal case. The sharpener is okay, but nothing special. It’s the case that makes this a sweet deal. The case holds 13 pencils packed full, and is so much fun to decorate. I really really enjoy this tin.CMPP

Continue reading

Testing: Light VS Dark in Pencils

Occasionally I watch a few videos on the Youtube* and this one guy kept popping up as someone I should watch, RixCanDoIt. His videos are pretty good, and in the pencil videos he makes reference to his “MB grading” system. He’s thoughtfully provided a video on this MB grading System. 20160522_125354
Upon watching I had a few thoughts. First I think it is a great idea to create a personal system to help you compare pencils to a personal standard.( More on this point in a bit.) Secondly, I don’t think that using shading is an accurate way to compare light/darkness while writing, for drawing yes, writing not so much. (more on this point later) Finally, using the lightbox behind the shaded area is not useful because it merely shows you how much graphite is on the page instead of how dark it is.20160522_125425

Creating standard references is a fantastic idea and tool to take the blind subjectivity out of “How light or dark is this pencil?” However, if someone were to come over, sit at my desk and create a sample to reference against my set of standards they would get entirely different results. There are a range of reasons for this. First when creating a sample with shading, this is a skill I’ve practiced, so I’m able to get very light layers of graphite built up, not everyone is able to get that effect with their pencils. So My HB reference sample is going to be lighter than someone else’s and darker than others. So even though I’ve created a standard sample to compare new samples against, it will be different than another person’s. It would be disingenuous for me to suggest that my sample is a perfect sample. That can’t be done.
20160522_125828
My second point is that when you shade you use very light pressure and add as little graphite to the page as possible to build up shades of light and dark. So you are trying for a light even layer. This is not how people write or even sketch (draw yes, but that is another conversation.**) When writing we tend to use a variety of pressures and hold the pencil is a very different way then when drawing and shading. I wanted to create a standard that would mimic these varieties of pressure. As I was thinking about this- could scribbles do it? Yes, but there isn’t an effective way to control scribbles, but one can control cross hatching.20160522_125822

I created two standards of reference- one shaded and one crosshatched using Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils. Partially because in my mind this is what I compare everything to and also because I had a set on hand. I created the standards on 8×10 HandBook FlexiBook paper. The paper is a dull white, non reflective, toothy and good with pencils. I also hate it so using it for samples suits my purposes. For individual samples I cut 3×3 inch squares of the FlexiBook paper and create a roughly 1 inch square in the middle. I trim this down to a small strip of paper and the graphite runs up to the edges making it easy to compare the sample to the standard.20160522_125410

To visually compare the sample I lay the new sample against the standard. I look at it and if need be squint and let my eyes unfocus. This way I’m not looking at the sample or the standard and I’m better able to see if things are similar.20160522_125656

So my results are mixed. Some of the pencils are the same when shaded or when crosshatched, but I found quite a few that were a grade darker in crosshatched instead of shaded.20160522_142844 20160522_142833

Is this a useful tool? Yes. I’ll be adding it to my testing of new pencils. I’ll probably do both the shading and crosshatching but maybe not all the time. What I found most useful was comparing pencil to pencil. Interestingly my comparison of the Blackwing Volumes 24 to the Palomino HB confirmed my initial idea that they are nearly identical in darkness- both in the shading and crosshatching test. Now these tests tell me nothing about point retention, smoothness, or other somewhat subjective things with the use of a pencil. Now to devise a standardized test for point retention…

Continue reading

Revisit: TWSBI Eco (nomical) Fountain Pen

Nearly a year after its introduction, the TWSBI Eco is now available in full demonstrator model. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t want the full clear model.* I have been using the original black and clear since purchasing it shortly after release. This is the ONLY fountain pen in my stable that I’ve kept full of ink since purchase. I’ve run several fills of ink through it, until settling on Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo as my go to ink for this pen. Tsuki-yo is a medium teal ink that leans perfectly between blue and green for me. It’s well saturated yet not overly so and lubricated enough to make the EF steel nib on my Eco glide over most paper. This ink and pen combo is great. I am currently testing out the Edelstein Turquoise ink and it is also a great combo with this pen.TWSBI ECO

I have abused this pen. It lives in my Nock Co Fodderstack XL all the time next to one of my MetalShop CT Twist bullet pencils. This is not an easy life for a fountain pen. The Fodderstack lives in the back pocket of my jeans. I sit on it regularly. It bumps up against the Twist. I’ve dropped the Fodderstack and it’s contents, I’ve tossed them across the room and onto the couch. Shockingly, the Eco has survived, certainly with some scratches and wear, but not a crack has appeared. This is precisely WHY I’ve been so abusive to the pen. Why I’ve thrown caution to the wind and risked a teal colored bottom. I wanted to see if the Eco would crack not only under normal circumstances and use, but with abuse.TWSBI ECO

It hasn’t.TWSBI ECO

I also wanted, and needed a pen that could withstand such abuse. My work tends to be on the go. I move around much of my day. I’m standing at a whiteboard, sitting with a group, moving from room to room, little of my day is spent in one place. I needed a pen that could survive my use. The Eco did it, with a gold star.TWSBIECO

While I hesitate to recommend the 500 series to people for this same sort of abuse, TWSBI has done something with the Eco that seems to eliminate the cracking issues. I’m confident that when I purchase the full clear demonstrator model I’ll be happy.
Continue reading

Lightfast Testing

Every now and again I go through my various art supplies and test them to see if they are lightfast. Here in the US, it is now unusual to find ink or stationery supplies that are highly acidic, but lightfast? Well that is a whole other ballgame. I conduct tests of the majority of my fountain pen inks, colored pencils, watercolors, and other art tools. Why? Just because it’s archival doesn’t mean it’s lightfast. Whaaaat? It’s true archival has nothing to do with lightfastness or lack of it. Archival is a museum term that used to mean that the item in question is reversible to museum archivists and that it does less to no damage to the substrate. Typically, this has nothing to do with the item in question being lightfast. Though, archival is bandied about with marketing as if it means lightfast as well as acid free.lightfast

I’ve ranted and raved about acid free and to a point, archival, now being little more than a ridiculous marketing term, when the more important item to focus on is lightfastness.

What does lightfast mean? That when exposed to sunlight the color and shade of the item in question, be it paper, ink, or other pigmented item, doesn’t shift or change. That is to say, exposure to sunlight, or light, does not change the color of whatever has been used to make the artwork.

Does lightfastness mater? Only if you decide to make art for sale, or for yourself, that you plan to hang on the wall. If you don’t plan on making art for anyone but you and you intend for it to stay within the confines of your art journal, then no, lightfast matters little.

How does one test for lightfast? I have a sketchbook in which I divide a page into 2 columns with a number of rows that span both columns. The number of rows depends on what I’m testing. Generally, I make each row about 1 inch high. I use graphite pencil, as graphite is lightfast.lightfast

I label the top of the page with the date. I then fill in each row, across columns with various scribbles, hatches and line weights of the item I’m testing. With watercolors and markers I use a variety of amounts of pigment in water. After I’ve filled in a page, I cut off the right half of the page and hang it in a south facing window. I’ll notice shifts in color as quickly as in a week. The Kuretake Clean color brush markers? Oh so pretty, colors shifted in a week. Copic sketch markers? Same. Sharpies? Gone in 2, massive alterations in shade in a week.

Basically, I look at the sheet in a week, then again in 2 weeks. Sometimes it will take longer to notice changes if it has been cloudy or raining. Testing can also be done with a bulb that emits a full spectrum of light. Using sunlight is cheaper.

Why do I test? Not all of my art is made for sale, a great deal of what I create will never see the wall or sunlight other than when the pages of my journal are opened. But when I do create art that is for sale, it is important (to me) that if someone has paid me for my art that it is still there for them a year from now. I’ve sold work in the past only to find out that the pen I thought was lightfast, was indeed not.lightfast

Oh before anyone asks, pencils made of graphite or carbon are lightfast. There is rarely any need to test them.

Review: USA Gold Natural HB pencil

USA Gold is an interesting brand. Virtually ubiquitous, you can find these in Target, Walmart, CVS, and even the local Stop ‘n Slop. You can also order them via Amazon and a variety of other online retailers. Comrade Johnny over on Pencil Revolution might put these into the category of semi-cheap, but I’m comfortable going a step further and calling them cheap. They average around $2 for a 12 pack, putting them at 16 cents or so per pencil. Compared to higher end pencils, that’s cheap. Of course, you could compare them to the average Staples brand pencil which are about 2 cents per pencil and they seem expensive. Those 14 cents make a huge difference in performance.USAGOLD

The USA Gold, in any form (natural, yellow, or one of their fancy paint jobs), features a decent HB core. It is smooth and nicely dark for an HB. Of course it doesn’t compare to the previously reviewed MB9000, but that’s comparing apples to oranges. Comparing it to a General’s Cedar Pointe #2/HB is fair game, and in my book the USA Gold comes out on top. The core of the USA Gold is much more consistent. I haven’t had a bit of grit in any of the USA Gold pencils I’ve chewed up. These cheapies perform. Further, the blue foil imprint on the USA Gold is awesome. The blue stripe on the ferrule is awesome too. The only place where they vary is in the thinly applied lacquer. On some of the pencils I’ve purchased, this coating is so thin that the pencil feels raw, on the most recent pack I picked up it’s thicker and more noticeable. I much prefer the thin coat.USAGOLD

For those of us pencil fanatics, who like their stuff local, one of the great things about the USA Gold is that it is still made in America. I tweeted at WriteDudesUSA, a subsect of RoseArts, to find out a little more about the pencils and to confirm that they were made in the US. They are made in Lewisburg, Tennessee* at a facility owned and operated by RoseArts. ‘MuricaUSAGOLD USAGOLD

If you are looking for a fantastic pencil at a fantastic price, you can’t beat a USA Gold- on price or performance.

Continue reading

Review: Mitsu-Bishi 9000 2B

For my triumphant return to blogging after my thesis induced hiatus, I thought I’d start with a pencil that is equal parts magic and secret pencil processing, and that is the Mitsu-Bishi 9000 2B. It comes with the tagline “Made by Elaborate Process” stamped into its perfect, glossy green lacquer, so you know this is a special pencil. You might think that calling a pencil magic and elaborate in the same sentence is hyperbole, but I dare you to write with one of these pencils and try to tell me it’s not magic.

Let’s start off with how perfect this pencil looks, because the lacquer is thick, evenly applied and super glossy. The imprints are gold foil and also perfect.Near the non-business end there is a stripe of darker green with the grade of the pencil stamped, also in gold foil, also perfect. The grade is bracketed with asterisks. *2B* The bar code is stamped in white, close to the business end, so it is sharpened away more quickly. As all pencil makers should do it. The pencil is end dipped with one of those little plastic caps rather than paint, but this is also well done. Without a doubt this is a good looking pencil.

Gah, look at that green!

Gah, look at that green!

Inside the lacquer is fragrant cedar. Every Time I sharpen this pencil I’m reminded of dew covered forests with unicorns prancing about. Rainbow unicorn farts MUST smell like cedar. I’m telling you magic. That fragrant cedar is wrapped around a 2B core so smooth and dark on the page that writing with it is like writing with a stick of warm butter. It glides across any paper and even the lightest of pressure produces a mark that is deeply dark. Using this pencil on most any type of paper was quite nice. I experimented with Field Notes- Shelterwood’s smooth paper produced nice results as did the standard issue paper in the WBEZ edition. I also checked it out in a Staples composition notebook, and a Bob Slate Mt Tom. The pencil did well on all of the mentioned papers. The comp book seemed to wear it down faster than other papers, but that is to be expected- it’s toothy paper. MB90002B
The one area the MB9000 2B has any issues is with point retention. In the land of 2B pencil, the MB9000 performs admirably, but it does wear down quickly, like most 2B pencils. I found myself touching up after only a page of comp book or after 2 pages in my FN. It’s not horrible, but it’s not great.
MB90002BUsing this pencils was simply nice all around. From its good looks to performance on paper, these are amazingly nice pencils. They are well worth the $1.05 at Jetpens. CWPE only carries the HB, also for $1, but I have it on good authority that the HB performs almost as well but has better point retention.

Finishing Thesis

I’ll be back to regular posting after the middle of April. I’m finishing my thesis and need to fully concentrate on that for the next few weeks. But I’ve got a few interesting tidbits planned for then. More reviews because HOLY COW do I have a backlog of pencils that I’ve got on my desk but also that have met my criteria for review ( I’ve used them for some writing) and are also awesome.

A photo posted by LC Harper (@originallcharper) on


A brief look at the new Blackwing Volumes 24 limited edition pencil.

I’m going to tell you right now that if you like the old Palomino HB in blue or orange, just go ahead and see if you can get a pack of the Volumes 24s. If you don’t want to spend the cash, just buy the Palomino HB. After a few days of using nothing but the two pencils I can tell you the following:

  • You will notice a difference if you are using smooth paper. In that case the PalHB is noticeably soft and smoother. The 24 holds it’s point longer.
  • If like me you use composition books with toothier paper, you may notice a difference, but it may not be by much. In fact, in use on rough copy paper and my comp books I could go either way with the 24s.
  • Blackout finish. My inner angsty 90s teen rejoices, but quietly, because angst.

I’m saying these are super good looking pencils that are great for quick sketches or for long writing sessions. If you want cool kid black pencils, get ’em, if you don’t want to spend the coin, get the old standard PalHB and some bottles of black fingernail polish and paint them up. 🙂

A photo posted by LC Harper (@originallcharper) on