Review: Pencil of the Week Zine

Ed Kemp writes the pencil review zine Pencil of the Week (PotW) with a wry and often laugh out loud sense of humor. The premise of the zine is easy, he picks a pencil at the start of the week and uses it while at work and seemingly also outside of work. He then writes up a blurb about the pencil and his week in a composition notebook. (I could be wrong on this aspect but composition notebooks are mentioned here and there.)

If you aren’t familiar with zines, well they are self published little magaZINES. They are usually photocopied onto regular photocopy paper. Occasionally the covers will be made of colored paper or even cardstock. Sometimes the covers have additional color hand applied.

PotW is no exception, the interior is black and white photocopied as are the covers. Though Kemp often adds spots of colored pencil on the cover and more rarely inside. The covers often reflect the interior of the reviews- a composition book cover, tickets and receipts, bubble answer sheets, and drawings of pencils. The little pop of color indicating the issue number works great on the black and white background.

Inside are photocopies of handwritten pages. Each review is written in a blocky all caps sort of printing, done initially in the pencil being reviewed. The exterior and interior of the pencil is examined. He generally writes about the imprint, the lacquer, the wood, the ferrule the effectiveness of the eraser, and the graphite. He will also examine how well it sharpens.

All of the above is done in Kemp’s easy going humor. His writing includes curse words, which as you know I adore, but if you have had issues with my use of the word shit on this blog, maybe skip this zine. He does use asterisks to avoid actually writing the words themselves, which I find funny.

There are now 8 issues of this zine and it has been around for 2 years. I find Kemp’s zine relaxing and humorous to read. You can find it at the link below.