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.


  1. The lack of the little metal ferrule on the back end of the Pentel 8 leads didn't cause you trouble using the holder with the other maker's leads? Because I've got a massive quantity of June Gold colored 2.0mm leads that I would love to use, if all I have to do is snap them in half!

    1. I thought it would be a problem too, but nope! Give it a try! (This is Tina... my own blog won't let me comment except "anonymously" :-( )

    2. You should be able to pull down the menu on the "anonymous" and choose "Google Account". I just did that and it worked!

      Thank you for the suggestion! I just replaced the pink "no copy" lead with a true black colored pencil lead, broken in half. It works fine! I have a bunch of 2mm leads in all colors, so this saves me a lot of time and money!

      June Gold is the brand I have of colored leads. I got them from Amazon in a plastic tube.. I also have a container of standard HB graphites, so I can replace the one in my other Pentel 8 when the one it came with is worn down!

      I guessi just figured they wouldn't put those metal sleeves on the leads if they weren't necessary. The leads are very expensive from Pentel, but are cheap in bulk, and now I can get other hardnesses of graphite for different purposes.

  2. Thank you for this. I’ve been watching videos saying that other leads won’t work and I’m glad I read this first. Finally bought a multi 8 and eagerly waiting to use it soon. Thank you again

  3. I'm surprised you haven't seemed to try koh-i-noor polycolor pencils (available in 144 colors) -- or have you, & i missed it? i saw you tried the watercolor leads and magic pencils
    an authority on color pencils
    how confusing is it that there are polycolor pencils but also tri-tone BUT THEN ALSO polycolor pencils by lyra
    and that those are "rembrandt polycolor" and unrelated to sakura's rembrandt's student line of pencils (van gogh)

    1. Yes, I have a set of Koh-i-Noor Polycolor... here's my review:

    2. are the leads the same?

    3. No -- the Polycolors are harder and not water-soluble.

  4. I haven't tried those pencils, but I have a set of Derwent Inktense pencils, and I love them dearly!


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