Monday, February 8, 2021



2/3/21 Maserati in the 'hood
Although we see occasional vintage cars, by far the most common vehicles in our neighborhood are practical Subarus, Toyota RAV4s and Priuses. It was with surprise, therefore, that we spotted a Maserati one day. It was worth stopping for a sketch, if only to celebrate the first dry day in a long spell.

Technical note: I’m not surprised to find myself using the pencil component on my Bic 4-Color 3+1 more than the ballpoints on the street. I’m more accustomed to sketching quickly with pencil, and I know ballpoint takes more time.

What does surprise me is that I’m enjoying sketching with a mechanical pencil, at least this one. To me, the difference between a mechanical pencil and a woodcased pencil is like the difference between a technical pen and a fountain pen: A consistent line intended for precision versus a variable line that expresses subtle changes in hand pressure or angle, and I prefer the latter. In addition, my previous experiences with drawing with a mechanical pencil have been with a 0.5mm lead, which is too fine. The Bic’s 0.7mm doesn’t seem like it would make much difference, but it does. For one thing, it’s thicker, so it’s less likely to snap under my heavy hand (a problem with 0.5mm leads, even when writing). It’s more than that, though. I find I hold the mechanical pencil at a slightly different angle than I would a woodcased pencil, so I draw a bit differently. It’s subtle, but I feel it, and it’s an interesting change.

I swapped out the (probably HB) lead that came in the Bic with a softer Kokuyo Campus 2B lead, a grade that I prefer for drawing.  

It’s also reassuring that even if I were to drop the pencil on the pavement and break the lead, a push of the knock will advance some more – no sharpener needed (which is a good thing, since I haven’t carried one in nearly a year). My minimalism challenge is going well so far.

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