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Tag Archives: +pencils

Refresh Your Desk for Spring

16 Apr



Is your desk still singing the winter blues? Here are some fun hues of our favorite brands to inspire and delight!

1. Blackwing »
2. Clairefontaine Side Spiral »
3. Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Notebooks»
4. Rite in the Rain »
5. Cavallini Papers »
6. Moleskine »
7. LAMY Pens »
8. Clairefontaine Graf It Pads »
9. Leuchtturm1917 Large Hardcover Notebooks »
10. Rhodia »

Shop Our Best Selling Office Essentials

11 Sep



Shop our best selling office essentials and liven up your desk! Plus, save $5 off orders $65+ until 9/17 with code OFFICE. Enjoy! Shop all office here »

1. Italian Paper Clips $7.50 »
2. Fabriano EcoQua Perfect Bound Dot (set of 2) $11 »
3. Blackwing 602 Firm Graphite Pencils $19.95 »
4. Exacompta Vintage FAF Pad $38 »
5. Moleskine Light Metal Roller Pen $29.95 »
6. Rhodia Mousepad + Paper Pad $6.50 »
7. Exacompta Exabag $45 »
8. Cavallini Eraser $3.50 »
9. Exacompta Graph Index Cards $13.50 »


Blackwing Pencils Loved by Award Winning Composer Sondheim

8 Sep



Always on the lookout for Blackwing fans, we’ve spotted Stephen Sondheim’s preference for Soft Blackwing Pencils in the Washington Post. Listed among his must-have tools : Pencils: Blackwings (soft, and need frequent sharpening)

Check out his article on the Washington Post right here »
Shop Blackwing Pencils Here »



Sketching with Rhodia – What You Need to Know via Rhodia Drive

1 May

We stumbled upon this interesting article via Rhodia Drive and wanted to share it with our audience as well! It’s helpful for {paper-particular} artists searching for their perfect Rhodia pad. Below is a snapshot from artist Alberto Lung, who enjoyed sketching with the Rhodia Pencil + Dot Pad combination.


From Rhodia Drive : In regards to Rhodia products imported into the USA, white and yellow Rhodia papers are typically 80g and ivory Rhodia paper is 90g. All of these papers are fountain pen friendly, acid free and PH neutral. For the reasons that these papers are fountain pen friendly, it also means that you may notice a slight delay with how long it takes the ink to dry. The size of the pen’s nib in combination with the type of ink may also play a factor in drying time. (Some inks dry faster than others. Humidity is also to be considered.)

When we say “fountain pen friendly” we mean that water based fountain pen inks will not feather or bleed through to the other side of the page, Note that there may be exceptions to this rule if you are using a very broad wet nib.

The 90g papers are reported to be the smoothest of the bunch with the 80g right on its heels.

Speaking as an artist, pens, pencils and markers all pretty much glide across the smooth white and ivory Rhodia papers. It will be a matter of personal preference whether or not this is a desirable attribute while sketching. (For what it’s worth, I’ve doodled quite extensively in my Webbies using a variety of fountain pen inks. I also enjoy using drawing pens such as Faber Castell Pitt Pens and a variety of Japanese calligraphy pens,) 

Paper colors and availability:

80g White Rhodia paper is available in the widest variety of sizes and formats: head stapled pads, (aka “Bloc Rhodia Pads”) side stapled padsspiral pads… 

90g Ivory Rhodia paper: is available in a head stapled tablet known as the “R” Premium Pad. It is also available in the following hard covered books: Webnotebook (Webbie), and the Rhodiarama.

90g White Rhodia paper is only available in one product in the USA: The Rhodia Meeting Book 90.


Shop all Rhodia Notepads & Accessories »


Save 10% on the Blackwing Super Pack for a Limited Time!

29 Jan


Blackwing fans, rejoice!
We’ve combined 4 of each style of your beloved Blackwing Pencils, and bundled them into one 12 pencil Super Variety Pack. It’s a genius idea that is exclusive to European Paper, so you can only shop them here »

For a limited time, you can grab the 12 pencil Super Variety Pack and save 10% off! Use code SUPERPACK at checkout. Hurry, this offer expires 02/04!

P.S. – The Blackwing Super Pack makes a great gift for Valentine’s Day!

Rhodia Pencils 10% Off with the Purchase of a Refillable Planner

12 Sep


For a limited time, save 10% off Rhodia Pencils when you purchase a refillable Quo Vadis or Exacompta 2014 planner. Ends 9/17.
Shop 2014 Refillable Planners »
Shop Rhodia Pencils »

How Low Does Your Blackwing Go?

20 Aug


RhodiaDrive featured this Blackwing enthusiast’s snapshot of his Blackwing 602 pencil during the index card stages of writing his manuscript. We’ve never seen a Blackwing nib this low, but we completely understand! If we could jot the picture : you fall in love with Blackwing, the mighty pencils bring your dreams to life on exquisite paper (like Rhodia), all the while performing brilliantly, even down to their ferrules – of course want to keep them around for as long as you can! We paper geeks at European Paper absolutely know the love you feel.

Here’s the comment from writer Aaron Delcourt :

“I use my Blackwings for writing my manuscripts. I write all of my manuscripts on standard sized index cards in pencil [...] The pencil in the photo was sharpened with a box cutter towards the end, and believe it or not I actually used it until it was unsharpenable.”

Which Blackwing is your fave? Do you pair it with Rhodia? Shop the Legends : Blackwing 602 at European PaperBlackwing Pearl Pencils at European PaperBlackwing Soft Graphite Pencils at European Paper

Deconstructing Palomino Blackwing 602 & Blackwing Pencils

20 Mar

Deconstructing a Palomino Blackwing Pencil from the Bottom Up on

“Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed,” is the iconic tagline for Blackwing Pencils and is still true to this day.

If you’ve got a minute, we encourage you to read the intriguing story of the original Blackwing Pencils and the company, Palomino, that revived them in our brand story here. But the short version is that the classic Blackwing 602 Firm Graphite Pencil made by Palomino is a tribute to the iconic Eberhard-Faber Blackwing originally popularized in the mid-1900′s by famous writers like John Steinbeck and famous artists like Chuck Jones.

Palomino created the Blackwing Soft Graphite Pencil first, but it was slightly off from the Eberhard-Faber Blackwing Pencil (first made in the 1930′s), thus Palomino designed the Blackwing 602 Firm Graphite Pencil to be closer to the original. So you’ll find slight variances between the two. The Blackwing 602 Firm Pencil obviously has a harder graphite core, is best for writers, and has a grey metallic lacquer finish; the Blackwing Soft Pencil has a softer graphite core, is ideal for artists, and has a black metallic lacquer finish. Both are made with genuine incense-cedar wood casings, have gold lettering along the sides, and use the unique ferrule that holds a replaceable eraser.

Have you used Blackwing Pencils before? What do you love (or dislike) most about them?

Shop all Palomino and Blackwing products on here!

Smooth Like Butter: Discover the Best Writing Implements in Every Style

30 Jan

Shop all Pens & Pencils on and discover the best in writing

Moleskine Click Rollerball Pen
The perfect companion to every Moleskine notebook, the Moleskine Click Rollerball Pen has a matte black finish and retractable point for quick and easy use. With proprietary ink matched perfectly to Moleskine paper, we guarantee you’ll find no better Moleskine accessory.

Palomino Graphite HB Eraser Tipped Pencils (12 ct.) (Blue)
Life’s too short to use a cheap pencil. Made of genuine incense-cedar, the Palomino Graphite HB Pencil provides a smooth writing, sketching or drawing experience. Command attention & inspire with the brilliant blue Palomino pencils.

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen
Whether you’ve never written with a fountain pen or you have a daily carry of multiple fountain pens, the Lamy Safari Fountain Pen is loved by all. Exquisite quality + great value = the perfect introductory fountain pen that writes right out of the box.

Learn Your Scales: Differentiating Between Pencil Graphite Grades

8 Oct

My students frequently ask me what the letters and numbers on the back of their pencils mean. The simple answer is that they refer to the graphite’s degree of hardness or softness. For this post I’ll write in general terms because many manufacturers use their own proprietary method of designation, and the letters can vary from company to company, and country to country. In America and in many European countries, the standard is that H designates a harder pencil, B designates a softer pencil, and an HB pencil is in the very middle of the spectrum of hard and soft.

Photo Courtesy of Leslie Herger for Pencil Grade Article for

Photo Courtesy of Less Herger

Most pencils that you buy for school or writing are usually an HB, even if that is not designated on their barrel. An HB pencil is very good for writing.  The lead sharpens quickly, and wears evenly, and is more difficult to break. In terms of pencil hardness, it’s middle-of-the-road. The coloration of the lead is that typical silvery gray color that comes to mind when you think of a pencil.

Stepping up the hardness a notch is an H pencil. These are a little bit harder than an HB pencil. When you apply the same pressure to an H and an HB pencil you will notice that the line of the H pencil is lighter than the HB pencil. Applying more pressure to the H pencil won’t make a darker line than an HB pencil.  An H pencil simply cannot lay down as much lead as a softer pencil. A 2H pencil makes an even lighter line.  Many brands of pencils have up to an 8H.  An 8H pencil produces a very light line, and wears at a very slow pace.

Why would one chose to use a harder pencil? A harder pencil wears more slowly than a softer pencil, the line doesn’t tend to smudge, but it erases with relative ease. The lighter line from a harder pencil is very useful to an artist who may want their initial sketch to disappear into their final media and not be seen or noticed. They are also a great choice if you want a pencil that writes smoothly but doesn’t smudge as easily as a softer pencil. One of the downsides to using a hard pencil is that it can leave an indent in the page if used with a lot of pressure.  This can make them more difficult to erase.

A grade B pencil is softer than an HB pencil. The lead tends to go onto the paper more smoothly and with less pressure. When more pressure is applied you can add a lot more graphite without gouging into the page. The B pencil is darker than the HB pencil. The B pencil is a useful tool for shading. A 2B pencil is even softer than the B pencil. Even less pressure is used to get darker areas of shading. Pencils can range up to an 8B or 9B in softness. An 8B pencil produces a very dark smooth line with very little pressure.

Photo Courtesy of Leslie Herger for Pencil Grade Article for

Photo Courtesy of Less Herger

Softer pencils are used by artists to get darker dark areas in drawings. If you are writing with softer pencils you will find you can write for a longer session with a B pencil as the graphite is smoother and takes less pressure to apply than an HB pencil. The trade-off is that the B pencil wears more quickly, requires more frequent sharpening, and smudges much more easily than the HB pencil.

Artists select their pencil types to best suit their individual artistic needs.  Watercolorists use a HB or H pencil with a light hand to allow them to lay down washes of color without the pencil interfering in the final piece. Someone using pencil as their main drawing tool might use 2H (hard) all the way up to 8B (soft) to avoid the glare that accompanies using heavy pressure with pencil.  An acrylic or oil painter, on the other hand, can use whatever pencil is handy or skip it for charcoal, which also comes in degrees of hardness and softness.  Either way, the paint will cover it up.

For fine detail work I use a KUM long point sharpener to bring my pencils to a long-wearing point that resists breakage. I find it works equally well on 2H all the way down to 6B pencils, which is not something I can say for every pencil sharpener.  If I’m going to be shading I’ll use a sharp craft knife to remove only the wood from my pencils.  I like to use a sharp H pencil to start my drawings, work very lightly, and then add additional areas of dark with progressively softer pencils. I discovered that process this process works for me through a lot of trial and error and experimentation over the years.

I encourage all of my students to play with their pencils, and get to know how they work. Through experimentation and time you’ll find a process of using the many grades of pencils that suit your individual artistic needs the best. Grab some pencils and a sketchbook and try them!


Meet the Writer: Less Herger is the owner and writer behind and co-founder of She’s been making art for as long as she can remember and can’t imagine a day without her pen and ink.