Sunday, February 28, 2010

Paper Mate Write Bros 0.7 mm mechanical pencils and Col-Erase pencils for class

Recently found this carded packs of 20 Paper Mate Write Bros 0.7 mm mechanical pencils on clearance for 50 cents, and stocked up on a few for my upcoming cartooning classes. Figured the kids would be drawn to their cheerful bright colors, and that at 2.5 cents each they adequately illustrate the advantages of mechanical pencils as opposed to traditional wooden pencils: uniform line width, no-need to sharpen them, and the constant length of the pencil barrel.
Its simple clutch mechanism consists of 2 plastic jaws secured with a thin golden fastener. It holds the lead firmly enough, but naturally it does not feel as precise as the brass clutch of a fine drafting pencil. Its molded grip area is comfortable though not particularly grippy. These Click pencils are made up of mostly plastic components, so they are fairly lightweight. Since they can be taken apart in no time, they could easily be used as throwing ammunition by a rambunctious class group and might present a choking a hazard for younger students. Thus, close supervision would certainly be advisable during classroom use.
The Paper Mate Write Bros 0.7 mm mechanical pencil is an adequate starter economy sketching tool that comes loaded with 3 HB leads capable of producing fairly dark marks that can still be easily erased with its push-button eraser. Guess Paper Mate must have improved the quality of their erasers since Dave wrote his review. Recommended for introductory classroom use since they are quite inexpensive and easy to replace (commonly found in bulk packs in the office/school supplies sections of most retailers). While they do not feel particularly sturdy, they could still be a good choice for the first mechanical pencil for Elementary and Middle school students. Once they have experienced this economy pencil, they would be able to better appreciate the significant improvement of using a professional mechanical pencil (like the classic Pentel P205, Pentel Graph 1000, or the Pentel Graph Gear 1000) with a precise brass clutch mechanism and a longer fixed or retractable metal drafting sleeve.
George from My Supply Room blog generously sent me this assortment of classic red and blue pencils to try and use in my drawing classes. I believe this kind of erasable colored pencils were fairly popular with pre-digital age animators when their work was planned and rendered mostly on paper. Today they offer a nice sketching tool alternative, for when you feel inspired to create in color rather than the usual graphite pencil marks.
All of the pencils sharpened easily with a Kum wedge sharpener.
The smooth continuous shavings prove that sharpener blade is nice and sharp and that the wooden pencils are still in pretty good condition despite their age. The red erasers have naturally dried up hard in their ferrules (thus they crumbled and stained the paper instead of removing any of the color lead from it), so it is best to leave them alone and use a new flexible eraser instead. When I think about it, it is usually best never to use the red erasers often found at the end of no. 2 pencils. They tend to be rather harsh on most papers and often leave ugly smears behind.
From the two 1298 non-photo blue pencils, the faintest color swatch was ironically produced by the newer-looking Eberhard Faber Col-erase Copy-Not pencil.
All of the colored sample swatches could be erased to some degree, but none of them could be removed completely with these two soft white-vinyl stick erasers (Faber Castell Pronto and Sanford Tuff Stuff). This donated bundle also included a neat box of Dixon Custom Color pencils from a time when such goods were still manufactured in the USA.
Long shelf life is just another appealing attribute of good old-fashioned wooden pencils. All of these Dixon Custom Color red 134-3 thick lead pencils sharpened nicely even though they appear to be several years old.
The red lead was nice and soft and laid down color quickly while doodling with it. Since they are not as erasable as the Col-Erase pencils, they should probably use for finishing stages of a sketch. Thanks George! I am certain the kids will enjoy these latest additions to the class tool box.

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