Ode to the Staedtler Mars Lumograph 4B

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A pencil is a simple concept: a material that leaves a mark via physical abrasion when dragged across a surface. We’ve found, however, that pencils are much more subtle and complex than their definition. In the last 10 years as we’ve grown more serious about drawing, choosing the best fit of pencils has been a quest of sorts. There are so many factors one encounters—shape of the wooden casing around the graphite (round or hexagonal?), the materials used for the casing (wood or woodless?), the softness versus hardness of the graphite (H, B, or HB?).

Enter our hero, the Staedtler Mars Lumograph 4B pencil. It’s the goldilocks of pencils: the graphite is just soft enough to glide across the paper, but not so soft that it’s not erasable; yet it’s hard enough that one can sharpen it to a fine point that will keep for a good few square inches of drawing, which helps us when we draw fine lines for our final pieces. And most importantly, we’ve never encountered one where the lead is broken internally halfway down the pencil body, which we were surprised to find with several other leading brands of drawing pencils. We now buy these puppies 2 dozen at a time and wear them down to the length of a tube of chapstick.

What’s your favorite drawing pencil, and why? Leave a comment to tell us!

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