WHSmith A5 Sketch Pad and this generous assortment of pencils made the trip safely across the pond within their bubble wrap mailing envelope with just a couple of broken pencil points. Should remember this efficient packing method of relying on a paper pad for greater structural integrity in future parcels. Plus I really like the opportunity of trying out a new sketch pad from another part of the world. As you can see there is plenty of material here for future posts and sketching videos. Most of these pencils I had not seen in person before.
The first ones to catch my eye were the color coded Staedtler Wopex 2H, HB, and 2B pencils. Go check Pencil Talk for a very detailed review of the the Wopex HB pencil. I had no trouble sharpening any of them with my handheld sharpeners during these initial tests, but the extruded rubber compound certainly felt harder and offered a bit more resistance against cutting. Thus it might be prudent to reserve a single sharpener for them to wear down and replace its blade in a timely manner. Their rubberized barrel felt quite comfortable while sketching.
While making these sample doodles and reference swatches, the three different pencil grades performed very similarly. The strong leads felt smooth and left very smudge-resistant marks. While I made the bottom 2H sample swatch lighter with less pressure, any of the three pencil grades could yield fairly dark marks indistinguishable from each other with average drawing pressure. So far I have not seen them in any outlets stateside, but they will be worth picking up as an interesting addition to your sketching pencils collection once they officially arrive to our shores. Thanks again Matthias for this neat custom-made pencil sampler.