Pencils v Pens

The humble pencil is simple genius! Or is that just me? I’m a pencil person. Its just wood, never goes dry. Literally lasts for decades.

When using pens go for a metal pen with a metal refillable cartridge (then save up the metal for your annual trip to the scrap metal dealer).

If you really want a disposable pen, try googling biodegradable pens.

Permanent markers

We have permanent markers with a metal casing and a lid that’s hard to get off, and they don’t seem to be running out, 12 years and counting. Its because they actually have a proper air tight seal…Unfortunately I can’t remember how we got hold of these, its been so long, but worth a google. Shown in photo.

Its possible to avoid the marker pen completely by using Indian Ink and paint brush. Actually way quicker and fit for purpose for larger signs, but not so practical when you just want to label something.

Markers, colouring pencils and crayons

Avoid markers (felt tip pens) as they go dry so quick and each one is plastic. Colouring pencils are my favourite, but then I’m a pencil person. Crayons are better than felts because they last forever, but the crayon itself is a parafin wax, a petro-chemical.

If you like the marker pens for their superior colour, invest in artist quality. Go to an art store, cry over the price, and have excellent colours for the rest of your lifetime (23 years and counting for me so far).


Three thoughts!

  • Use coloured pencils as highlighters. Too easy!
  • We bought fancy Stabilo Greenlighters in 2008, a range of highlighter pencils. The leads wide, which means they create a thick mark, and they come in fluro yellow, green and pink. 100 % FSC-certified wood. (FSC represents strictly controlled, ecologically meaningful and sustainable forest management). They still seem to be available online (shown in photo)
  • But, these days I wouldn’t bother, I don’t print much anymore. Times change. I also don’t think we need a solution for white-out (twink) anymore!