The Joys of Starting in Pencil

Sometimes artists fall into the trap of thinking that if they start with pencil, they’re not a real artist. They should be able to go directly into ink, or paint, or whatever.

But this is nonsense! Imagine if writing worked that way. If every word I typed went straight to the printer and ended up in the final book. What a mess that would be.

They’re even called DRAFTING tools! Drafting, like a first draft.

A pencil is a two-part tool: there’s the pencil, and there’s the eraser. You don’t use one without using the other. Picking up the eraser does not mean you made a mistake. It means you are DRAFTING. It’s what you’re SUPPOSED to do when you use a pencil. That’s the whole POINT of the pencil.

I like a Pentel side-click mechanical pencil, with lots of super-light HB leads, and a white hi-polymer eraser that doesn’t smudge the ink or mess up the texture of the paper. I used to always use a knead-able grey eraser, but they get so gross and sticky in my travel bag, so I made the switch.

Use a pencil. Embrace your eraser. That’s my position, folks.