Thursday, February 27, 2014
Askew Taylor Pencil Finds: Limited Edition Staedtler Mars tin, Caran D'Ache Technalo 3.8 mm leads, Koh-I-Noor Electric eraser, and Bruynzeel sample pack
It had been a while since I visited the local art supply store Askew Taylor, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found these pencils and electric eraser (including a couple of hard-to-find graphite items) earlier today.
Always glad when I can add a German limited edition Mars Lumograph tin to my collection of Staedtler pencils packaging. The new tin in the bottom contains 12 Staedtler Mars Lumograph HB pencils arranged in two layers inside a plastic tray.
This is definitely a good example of how the packaging and graphics of old (1930's-1950's) are often aesthetically more pleasing than the current carded versions that you might find in a store today. I like how the limited edition tin features a stylized version of the more detailed Mars head from the vintage tin. Here is a picture of the graphics under the tin lids in the historical sequence set.
The appearance of the pencils themselves has also changed through the decades. While the barrels have remained blue, the barrel markings and tin used to sport a lot more golden paint. The vintage pencil wood has a reddish hue, and the modern pencil is made of a paler wood.
The HB lead in the modern version seemed to be a tad darker, but they both sharpened and erased well. Fine addition to a wooden pencil collection.
I was very pleased when I found this box of five 3.8 mm water-soluble Technalo graphite leads that were made in Switzerland. Finding refills for my Caran D'Ache Museum Fixpencil 44 leadholder can be rather difficult, and I was already down to my last stick of B lead.
This Technalo lead is quite strong, so it can be used for sketching quickly without fear of breaking the tip. With the aid of a waterbrush, you can pull light shadow washes and tone straight from the sketch outlines.
The electric eraser is one of the more popular tools that the kids seem to enjoy in the drawing classes at the Arts Center, so this Koh-I-Noor electric eraser was a timely find in the clearance area. It was made in China, and it also uses two AAA batteries. Good choice for making small corrections in tight areas
Removing 2B marks? No problem!
Just like the stronger Sakura electric eraser, the Kohinoor version can partially remove and lighten areas of colored pencil. Yet its eraser refill feels softer and gets warped around the metal chuck (as if the heat from the friction of erasing was melting the plastic material around its holder), so you can only extend a short section at a time to keep it from flopping and breaking off.
Still it should make an adequate addition to our selection of classroom erasers.
Found this free sample pack of Bruynzeel Design pencils in the open-stock pencil section, so I finally got to try their graphite (8815), aquarel (8835), and colored (8805) pencil lines. You might want to pay a visit to Askew Taylor, if you are near Raleigh and want to find one of the remaining sample packs. The Lemon Yellow (25) was certainly bright, and along with the Vermillion (31) felt pretty smooth. Actually all four samples felt waxy and smooth as you lay down sketching strokes. The 2B graphite pencil retained its long sharp point well, erased easily, and can provide a nice range of gray tone from light to dark just like a premium Japanese pencil. They are worth trying. The watersoluble ultramarine (50) performed ok for a watercolor pencil but seemed a bit pale to me.
For additional information on these pencil lines and their color number codes you could check Pencil Topics. They all have round barrels with color coded end caps after a band indicating their line and "Holland". According to the sample pack label they are manufactured in China under the guidance of Bruynzeel-Sakura that is based in The Netherlands.