Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Pentel Multi 8 + Koh-i-Noor Leads = Win

Pentel Multi 8 colored lead holder

Several years ago I bought a Pentel Multi 8 colored lead holder. With slots for eight 2mm leads in one pen-like holder, it seemed like an ideal compact sketching tool for making small spots of color. The holder itself has a relatively chunky barrel that I find comfortable to use. You spin the mechanism around to choose the color you want and depress the knock to extend the clutch and selected lead. Sounds cool, right? Unfortunately, the leads it came with are hard and very unsaturated – downright wimpy in color. Disappointed, I put it aside and never took it out for road testing.

Luckily for me, I didn’t get rid of it. Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago when I was writing a review for The Well-Appointed Desk on a set of Koh-i-Noor Diamond Drawing Pencils. Although I didn’t care for the form factor of the lead holders – the classic slender, hexagonal style that engineers used to favor – I was pleasantly surprised by the leads. Much softer than I expected, they are also relatively saturated in color. After I finished the review for the Desk, I even discovered that they are a bit water-soluble.
Koh-i-Noor Diamond Drawing lead holders with matching colored leads
Koh-i-Noor's 6 colors (slightly water-soluble)
Don’t get too excited – these leads will never replace any of my favorite colored pencils, and they only come in six colors. But here’s the interesting part. As I was working on the review, I pulled out a couple of other colored lead holders I had, including the Pentel Multi 8 – which, it turns out, holds 2mm leads! Yes – the proverbial light bulb moment. I popped all six Koh-i-Noor leads into the Pentel (I had to snap them in half first because they were too long), and now the Pentel Multi 8 contains at least six colors that are useable! (If you’re interested in this setup, skip the Koh-i-Noor lead holders and just buy the lead refills in an assorted color pack.)

The business end
I wish I’d had these parts assembled last winter when I was on my minimal sketch kit challenge. The solution would have been a much better compact color option than either the red/blue bicolor pencil or the rainbow pencil that I tried. I’m going to remember this for my next minimalism challenge. And I’d certainly take it with me to Gilligan’s Island.

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