Mechanical pencils are writing instruments with an outer core that’s often fashioned from plastic or metal. Inside this casing is lead made of either graphite or pigment. The first known variety of a mechanical pencil was fashioned in the sixteenth century, and it has undergone several improvements since.
Should you choose mechanical pencils over traditional wood ones? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for. The classic pencil arguably offers more in terms of variety. With a traditional pencil, you can achieve many different results by angling the pencil and sharpening the tip. The mechanical pencil, however, can offer several things that its more traditional companion cannot. For example, while you can sharpen a regular pencil to adjust the tip, maintaining a consistent width when working on a piece can be a pain. In an involved project, you don’t want to break concentration and reach for a sharpener every five minutes. Having several mechanical pencils in different sizes can be easier. Many wooden pencils may also experience frequent tip breakage; this is especially prevalent when the lead inside the pencil shatters.
A primary benefit to mechanical pencils is that they are refillable—even if you own several so that you always have a variety of widths on hand, you’ll have no need to repurchase a pencil. This is economical not only for your wallet, but also for the environment. Your comfort should also come into play when you consider materials: a mechanical pencil made from cheap plastic may crack after little use, which defeats the point of buying one. A finely-crafted stainless steel mechanical pencil, however, will serve you for a lifetime. As long as they’re properly cared for, the materials will never wear.
As an artist, you’re continuously searching for ways to better your craft, which you can enhance by choosing to purchase high-quality tools. Understanding the different instruments available to you will help shape the execution of your craft. Ultimately, a quality mechanical pencil is always an indispensable tool to have in your arsenal.