A lot of different pencils come up during episodes of Erasable. A lot. We're aware of this. So, we thought it would be a good idea to give our listeners a glimpse at what each of us is most likely to use in our day-to-day existence. Believe it or not, we don't podcast about pencils for a living.


The Palomino Golden Bear. This gorgeous photo by Mike Dudek of The Clicky Post.

The Palomino Golden Bear. This gorgeous photo by Mike Dudek of The Clicky Post.

  1. Palomino Golden Bear: This is by far the best pencil quality for the price. Solid all-purpose performer, beautiful to look at and hold, and made in the USA. All for less than $3 a dozen. Get the blue ones.
  2. Palomino Blackwing 602: One of the best quality pencils on the market today, modeled after the mythical Eberhard Faber Blackwing. High quality writing pencil with retro styling and a super unique look. The flagship pencil at Pencils.com. 
  3. Mitsu-Bishi Hi-Uni 2B: High, high quality graphite within a smoothly sharpening wood case and a thick, gorgeous lacquer. More expensive than even the Palomino Blackwing, but definitely worth it. 
  4. Musgrave Test Scoring 100: Kinda strange looking, but the balance between hardness and darkness is so good. And the price can't be beat.
  5. Staedtler Noris School Pencil: Good performer, but really, I love it for the look. Yellow and black striped barrel, with a bright, thick red cap. It's nothing special to Europeans, but it stands out as an object of wonderment to Americans. 


Johnny's Top 5, January 2016.

  1. Mitsubishi Penmanship 4B: With a wide, soft core, this pencil performs wonderfully on the smooth paper of Field Notes, and it is a favorite for drawing. It's a remarkable looking pencil that gets stolen every time that I bring a box into Pencil Revolution HQ.

  2. Palomino Blackwing 211: I wish I had more than two dozen of these beauties. It combines a natural-ish finish with the same core as the Blackwing 602. It is especially fragrant and lasts a long time.

  3. Caran d'Ache Natura HB: Swiss excellence at its most...excellent. This natural cedar pencil has a core that is both smooth and smear-resistant. The imprint is even burned, rather than stamped, into the pencil.

  4. Palomino Blackwing 1138: I feel odd having another Blackwing on here, but the combination of the MMX core and the conceptual genius behind this pencil has made it well-loved for me lately. This is one of my favorites for drawing.

  5. Faber-Castell Castell Grip Black: This is my current go-to pencil for something a little less soft than the other pencils on this list. They run about as dark as what we'd think of as a standard #2 in the USA, but the point lasts forever.


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  1. Palomino HB: All roads lead back to this pencil. I can say with confidence that this is the only pencil I've picked up that I've never put down in favor of another. If I pick it up first, then it stays. My hoarding instinct is strong with this one. Call it my desert island/zombie apocalypse/banishment to the wilderness pencil.
  2. Blackwing 602: Hard to find fault with this resurrected classic, outside of the price point, which is still reasonable when you think about the price of mediocre pens. It looks good, it feels good, and it has a fascinating legacy.
  3. Dixon Ticonderoga Laddie: The Laddie is, at this point, the culmination of my search for a round pencil with a soft core. The only issue is finding a good sharpener for it. I use the Classroom Friendly Large Hole sharpener or my Alvin Brass Bullet.
  4. Forest Choice HB: For me, this is the ultimate semi-cheap #2 pencil. It's under $3 a dozen, has a natural finish, and doesn't require much pressure to put down a line.
  5. Tombow Mono 2B: This is the only capped pencil I pick up regularly. It's smoothness and line darkness feel a lot like the 602, though maybe a touch softer. Pro tip: as best I can tell, the Mono 100 is just a dressed up (and more expensive) version of the original Mono line. So unless you're in love with the looks of the Mono 100s (the are pretty), save yourself $5-10. Writing experience is the same.