The Woodclinched Pencil Vector Pack

My friend Tony Headrick is a super talented designer. His studio, Neno Design, has won design awards and he’s created some of the coolest logos and websites around Fort Wayne (including my blog’s logo!).

We decided we wanted to work on something together. Trouble is, I’m not a designer, and he’s not a writer. Luckily, we figured it out.

Presenting: the Woodclinched Pencil Vector Pack!

Woodclinched Vector Pencil Pack

It contains 14 pencils from my collection, some vintage, and some new. I tried to include a variety — including an old bullet pencil and a fancy antique mechanical pencil — in addition to straight-up wood cased pencils.

Roughly, here’s what real-life pencils the designs were inspired by, from left to right:

  • Faber Castell Grip 2001
  • Yikes! triangular color pencil
  • Field Notes pencil
  • Goldfish Special Drawing 5002
  • iTO Premium
  • Golden Bear
  • Eagle Flash 66
  • Orange Palomino (the old-style — the announcement of the redesign was announced while Tony was designing!)
  • Antique brass mechanical pencil
  • Eberhard Faber Blackwing
  • Antique bullet pencil
  • Yikes! Gripz
  • Blue eraser-tipped Palomino
  • Draplin Design Company carpenter pencil

It was fun hearing Tony talk about creating these:

To me, pencils are one of the most accessible and basic art tools. Working with Andy Welfle, a professional pencil collector, made the experience so worthwhile. Andy provided some of his favorite pencils, the history behind the design and it was a real privilege to be trusted with such unique, vintage and storied pencils. It was a real challenge to try and keep the design minimal. The colors, materials and textures were what really stood out.

Just look at the detail between various lengths o points, and of the sharpening of the barrel between round and hex pencils.

Just look at the detail between various lengths o points, and of the sharpening of the barrel between round and hex pencils.

He did an amazing job, too. As someone who doesn’t normally spend a good portion of his day thinking about wooden pencils, he caught a lot of detail: how a hex pencil differs from a round pencil where the tip meets the paint; how the shape and tip of a carpenter pencil differs from, say, a regular round pencil; the shine pattern on a ferrule or a tipped end. From a design perspective, I love how he managed to keep the design pretty flat and basic, but was able to incorporate a lot of detail, still, like the woodgrain and that shine on the barrel.

What is a “Vector Pack”?

What does one do with a vector pack, all you non-designers may want to know? If you’re a designer, or find yourself in a situation where you may want to use a pencil like this in a design, then this might appeal to you. Rather than a raster like a JPEG or a PNG, a vector file allows you to scale an image up or down infinitely, keeping its shape and integrity all the while. Plus, you can easily change color, add text, or otherwise manipulate your image to fit the needs of your project.

This pack exists in a few different forms:

Free Vector Pack

Sample pencil pack on Dribbble.

Sample pencil pack on Dribbble. Click the image to view

Check out Tony’s Dribbble page for a sampler of six pencil vectors. Some of my favorites aren’t in this package, but if you want those, check out the…

Full Vector Pack

Click the image to go see the full vector pack at The Creative Market, and purchase for only $5!

Click the image to go see the full vector pack at The Creative Market, and purchase for only $5!

This includes all 14 pencils and is for sale for $5 on the Creative Market!

T-Shirt

Woodclinched Pencil Vector Pack on a t-shirtThis is coming soon. I’ll definitely have more information when we get this up and going. We’re going to submit it to The Cotton Bureau to crowd fund the printing of these t-shirts.

Refreshed Palomino design at Pencils.com

I got an email last night that had some interesting and welcome news — the Palomino pencil got a brand refresh! At least the drawing pencils did. Just look at this:

Refreshed Palomino Drawing Pencil from Pencils.comThe “Palomino” brand has gotten a lot of play since the restarted Blackwings have been co-branded with the little California horse, and then later, a few other Pencils.com pencils shed their “California Republic” brand to join up under the Palomino name.

The actual Palomino pencil, however? Continue reading

Breathing new life into an old bullet pencil

I added a Palomino Prospector pencil to this bullet pencil.

Inspired by the excellent tutorial over on The Jungle is Neutral on restoring bullet pencils (a follow-up to a great post about the history of bullet pencils), I decided to whip out the Dremel and do a little work on one of my favorites.

I started by sanding the glaze off the eraser. I should have used a finer grain on the sandpaper for a smoother finish (and also a steadier hand), but it’s functional now! I’ve seen better, but I can now erase a pencil mark from a piece of paper with this eraser.  Continue reading

Sneak Peak Pic of the Palomino Blackwing Pearl

Got a snapshot of the new Palomino Blackwing from the guys at Cal Cedar! Check it out:

Palomino Blackwing Pearl

I’m basically the Perez Hilton of pencils. Should I write snarky remarks all over the photo in freehand?

Perez Hilton's Blackwing Pearl

In any case, it’s great to see it. I image the white pencil against the dark desk washes out some of the lacquer detail a little bit, but I’m assuming it’s going to be a bit more, well, pearlized once we can see it in real life. I quite like the black eraser accenting the black lettering on the white barrel, though I don’t know how I feel yet about the brass ferrule. I may want to try a pink eraser in it to see if it looks like a rare albino Blackwing.

Thanks, Alexander, for sending this photo over!

The Palomino Blackwing Pearl — now, with an exclusive preview!

It’s been a very Palomino-focused spring around here at Woodclinched. I hope that soon I’ll have some more Yikes! stuff to show you, but in the meantime, there’s some news out of California Cedar Products that I can’t resist sharing.

Pencils.com and Palomino (I’ve never sure which brand is now the authoritative Blackwing spokes-entity) just announced this week the creation of the Palomino Blackwing Pearl, the third pencil in the Palomino Blackwing lineup.

It sounds like the performance is just right in the middle of the two existing Palomino Blackwings:

The Blackwing Pearl features a lustrous pearl white finish and black eraser, along with a balanced and smooth graphite core that is softer than the graphite found in the Palomino Blackwing 602, but firmer than the graphite found in the Palomino Blackwing.

I spoke with Pencils.com president Charles Berolzheimer, “WoodChuck“, last week about the new pencil. The phrase they’re using to describe it is “balanced and smooth.” I asked if they’re going to put that as the motto on the barrel, and he said no. Charles did, however,  tell me a little bit about the style of the new Pearl.

“It’s going to be pearly white, almost a pinkish, translucent hue,” Charles told me. “We talked a lot about introducing another eraser for it, but we’re going to stick with the black eraser. We’ll still have a series of replacement erasers so people can hack their pencil.”

Admittedly, I imagine a pink eraser would look really good with this pencil, but honestly, the black eraser on the white pencil with that gold ferrule? That’ll look really lovely.

The Blackwing Pearls will be released to the public on May 2, and will apparently be available both on Pencils.com and in retail stores, where the product line has really been become more and more prevalent. No word yet on their price, but I’m assuming they won’t cost more than their counterparts ($19.95 for a dozen, or $163.98 for a gross).

I am proud to announce, however, that Woodclinched has discovered some top secret images of the new pencil. Prepare yourself for the exclusive world premiere of this highly-anticipated pencil:

A fabulous Photoshop mockup of the new Palomino Blackwing Pearl

Just kidding. This is the product of my terrible, terrible Photoshop “skills”. I used to have a vector of the Palomino Blackwing logo, which I can’t seen to locate, so as you can see, I expertly re-created it.

I will, however, attempt to talk my way into a advance sample, so I can give it a good try, all in the service of my Dear Readers. And hopefully, the real-life thing will look much better than this abomination, above. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, check out the full press release here. And after May 2, check out Pencils.com to buy it!

Refreshed product lineup at Pencils.com

 

product_lineup

DISCLAIMER: Okay, so it’s been two years since I’ve worked at Pencils.com, so at some point, I should stop disclaiming myself. But, I worked there in early 2011. I am no longer paid or affiliated with Pencils.com in any official capacity. They sent me the products you see above for free, but they do not compensate me financially in any way.

There have been some seemingly subtle changes going on in the Pencils.com store recently. But they are important to note.

The lineup

First, they’ve eliminated the “California Republic Stationers” brand and rolled the Golden Bear and the Prospector into the “Palomino” brand. So, like the Palomino Blackwing, they now have the Palomino Golden Bear and the Palomino Prospector.

A Palomino Golden Bear next to the old California Republic Golden Bear

A Palomino Golden Bear next to the old California Republic Golden Bear. I appreciate that they don’t come factory sharpened now.

I think this was a wise choice. The California Republic brand for CalCedar’s pencils was pretty weak. No one really identified their pencils with that name. The Palomino, one of my favorite pencils in existence, is a much stronger brand, and made much stronger by the visibility of the new Blackwings being wrapped into their brand.

That, along with the new packaging, really showcases the brand of these pencils.

Secondly, no longer are these pencils made in Taiwan Thailand (Thanks, Charles!) — they’re manufactured right here in the US of A, at the Musgrave Pencil Company in Shelbyville, Tennessee. (Warning: their website is atrocious, in sort of an awesome way.) And even with this radical change in supply line and vendors, the price has not increased (or, admittedly, decreased)!

The biggest change — which is tragic to me — is that the triangular Golden Bears were discontinued. I love triangular pencils, and I really loved these. According to Charles Berolzheimer, the Pencils.com President and CEO, Musgrave just doesn’t have the tooling capability to make the triangular barrels.

I’m glad that I have a whole bunch of them left, though I usually give them out when I explain to someone about fancy pencils. I may have to be a bit more miserly about them now.

Charles also tells me the oft-overlooked child-focused Spangle will be discontinued, too, as they sell through their current stock. While I have a few of them, I haven’t used them enough to really form a coherent opinion on them.

Coming later this year, Pencils.com will have some changes in the orange tipped and untipped Palominos, too. Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you more about them when I get to try them!

Differences in appearance and experience

First, the new USA-produced Golden Bears and Prospectors are noticeably heavier than the old ones. I need to get my hands on a digital scale to tell you how much heavier they are, but it’s not a burdensome heaviness — it feels more substantial, like it’s a fancy hardwood in the barrel.

The ridges of the hex shape are ever so slightly sharper, too, so you can feel the hexagonal shape. They’re not so sharp that they’d hurt your finger while you grip it, but you can definitely pick out every plane of the barrel. They’re not rounded edges like the old-style pencil.

There are some subtle changes in labeling besides the brand change. Instead of a “HB” label indicating the more classic European graphite hardness scale, there’s a “2”. From a marketing perspective, I understand why they did this. If someone was buying pencils for a standardized test, which explicitly say to use “#2” pencils, a typical American may be wary of a pencil that says “HB”.

The blue Golden Bear (with orange eraser) changed in fairly subtle ways. Instead of a blue stripe on the ferrule, there’s a red stripe.

The Palomino Prospector Pencil, top, compared to the California Republic Stationer's Prospector, below. Both from Pencils.com. Apologies for the light wash in this image.

The Palomino Prospector Pencil, top, compared to the California Republic Stationer’s Prospector, below. Both from Pencils.com. Apologies for the light wash in this image.

Differences in performance

Both Golden Bears and the Prospectors pencils by Pencils.com were put through a performance test.

Both Golden Bears and the Prospectors pencils by Pencils.com were put through a performance test. Click to embiggen. (Also, please pretend that said THAILAND, not TAIWAN. That was a factual error on my part.

I alternated use of each pencil on-and-off for about a week. I can tell you that I noticed no difference in performance in the Golden Bears, good or bad. To me, that’s a good thing — I really like the way they write. (I’d compare them to a Dixon Ticonderoga, but with the tactile feel closer to a Palomino.)

I’ve never been a huge fan of the way the Prospectors write, but at $2.25 for a dozen, they’re definitely worth the price. Both Prospectors are a bit scratchier than a Golden Bear, though the new one was the TINIEST bit smoother.

The erasers, which look and feel identical on both Golden Bears, performs identically. (I didn’t have my red Golden Bears with blue erasers when doing this eraser test, so just the erasers on the blue Golden Bear and the Prospectors were used.)

The Prospector was a different story. The new erasers feel a bit more vinyl than the grainy Taiwan Thailand-made Prospector. It erased better, too, if you notice in the photo above.

And in conclusion…

Before, I used my Palomino Blackwing (602) and my Palomino Proper almost exclusively, though I had a few triangular Golden Bears at work for quick notes. I think I may need to add these new blue Golden Bears to my rotation, though — it’s just a gorgeous pencil, full of color and personality, and now it feels better in my hand. I’m excited that the Palomino line is going to be made in the US, and for the same price as before.

The linkage

It’s a robot! No, it’s a pencil sharpener!

Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. Please don’t assume I’m tired of pencils, dear reader — I use them every day.

I’m hoping to shift a bit and start posting more photos than text. I have a brand spankin’ new iPhone 4S with a great camera built in (see the robot holding the pencil above), and hope to take some shots of some of my new acquisitions.

I hate to be one of those bloggers who check in after months of inactivity just to give excuses of why they’ve been lax. But it seems I’m doing just that!

Meanwhile, a coworker brought in something that combines two of my favorite things: pencils and robots. And while it’s a fairly poor sharpener (his chest plate opens up to a sharpener that winds its feet as it sharpens), it’s a great desk prop, wouldn’t you say? Here he is holding one of my favorite notetaking pencils, a blue Palomino.

So don’t give up hope yet, my friends! I haven’t given up Woodclinched.