Monday, January 07, 2008

Liquid centres

Baby and doll
coloured pencil on Canson sketch pad 11 x 14
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I'm feeling virtuous tonight. I've just put in a couple of miles on the treadmill, deprived myself of leftover mince pies, ate salads all day,downed 2 litres of waters during the course of the day and found a liquid graphite pencil at Walmart.

Some things are meant to be. At work this morning it was quiet, peaceful, then punctuated by what sounded like firecrackers going off. Close enough. It was the power bar that the printers and router were plugged into. It decided that it was time to stop and wanted to do so in a dramatic way, with sparks and loud bangs.

After my heart stopped racing, I unplugged the thing, then headed off to find a new powerbar - or two. These things never go alone. So I headed to Walmart and picking up a few more things for the office I passed the pencil aisle. Well, I figured I'd have a quick look while I was there and found liquid graphite mechanical pencils. Are these new only to me? The brand name is Pentech under the trademark Liquiphite and are produced by Jakkspacific in California.
I grabbed a package and will give them a test run over the next day or so. A quick try showed that they apply like pen but are erasable. The graphite line is dark and feels a bit greasy to the touch - perhaps the binder that is used for the graphite - but it erases very easily. Online reviews are mixed, so it will be interesting to compare and see how it performs.

At Pencil Things there is a huge selection of pencils of all types for sale, some of which I'd never heard of before like the Chattahoochee pencil.
You can use it to write, draw and mark on most surfaces. You can erase. Yet it's not like any pencil you ever held. The unique composite won't suspend in paint, so you can sketch and paint over the lines. It won't smudge or rub off on on your hands, either. Builders' marks won't smear or wash away. The unique shape and different planes allow you to make lines of varying widths, while the curved back lets you do shading and rubbings.
On the same site, I found another form of liquid graphite pencils under the same brand name - Pentech, called Ultrasharp. These have liquid graphite cartridges enclosed in a wooden casing, so they look like ordinary wood pencils.

In yesterday's post, I had discovered liquid graphite from an Australian company and have found out that it is available in the USA from Jerry's Artarama only it seems. I can't find a Canadian stockist (surprise, surprise...) and haven't heard anything back from my email to Matisse Derivan, the Australian manufacturer.

Perhaps these will satisfy my curiosity for the moment til I can get the real thing.


"JeanneG" said...

I found the mechanical liquid pencils too messy. They smudged more than regular ones. That is the same reason I don't use wood pencils. I am messy enough and always forget to put something under my hand.

Billie Crain said...

Have you ever tried the water soluble graphite pencils, Jeanette? to me it's the best of both worlds. i bought mine from Blick. you can use them like a regular pencil or dampen a paint brush and 'move' the graphite like watercolor.

i haven't seen the mechanical liquid pencils here. interesting...

Jeanette said...

I'm not sure what I think of them quite yet Jeanne, they're a bit stiff and obviously more like a pen than pencil. It will take some experimenting to get used to them.

I've seen them but haven't tried them Billie. I'll have to get one and see how they do on paper. Do you like them and can you erase them or do they stay permanent like watercolour?

~Gina Cuff said...

Hi Jeanette,

I just read on another forum that the Derivan Liquid Pencil will be launched in North America in early 2008. I'm interested in trying them as well.


Billie Crain said...

[quote]Do you like them and can you erase them or do they stay permanent like watercolour?[/quote]

the water soluble graphite pencils are erasable but they don't erase as well as regular graphite. once they get wet it's like trying to erase watercolor. it's there to stay. i really liked them for certain things.

Gayle Mason said...

Those look really interesting Jeanette, I'd never heard of anything like that before.
I've used the Derwent Graphitint which are water soluble, but they have issues with being lightfast.
I'll be interested to see what you think after you have given them a proper try.

Jan said...

The Chattahoochie pencil sounds very interesting to me - does the fact that it won't suspend in paint mean that you can use it under cp or even watercolor and the lines won't show through?

Hmmm, sounds as if it needs more researching!