|2/8/21 Northgate neighborhood|
We all knew I wouldn’t last long with the few colors I gave myself in my ultra-minimalist kit (in fact, I was impressed that I lasted two weeks). I like the one Caran d’Ache Bicolor, of course, but the blue and red ballpoint inks in the Bic 4-Color 3+1 weren’t getting much use. I was going to stick it out a bit longer, but an idea came to me serendipitously. Someone I follow on Instagram who usually shows only fountain pens had a mechanical pencil with a bright orange lead. It looked more vibrant than most colored leads I’ve tried, so I inquired, and he said it was a June Gold lead. The 2mm leads come in a pack of 36 colors for 7 bucks! Typically, I would stay away from a “bargain” like that, but reviewers seemed to approve.
While I waited for the leads to come, I looked at my 2mm lead holder options and remembered an old toy: The Pentel Multi 8. Purchased early in my urban sketching career when I was enchanted with all things compact (as you can see, not much has changed), it was a promising concept – one body containing slots for eight lead colors. Unfortunately, the leads it came with were terrible.
A few years ago when I reviewed the Koh-i-Noor Drawing Pencils for the Well-Appointed Desk, I liked those 2mm leads much better, so I swapped them in for some colors in the Multi 8. I even noted in my own blog post that those leads in the Multi 8 could be a good solution for a minimalism challenge – then promptly forgot about it.
Now, three years later, I dug it out and filled it with a carefully considered selection of eight urban colors from the June Gold set. For 2mm colored leads, they are softer and more saturated than any I’ve used (well, except for the Caran d’Ache 2mm leads, also reviewed at the Well-Appointed Desk, but they come in only four colors). Certainly not like Prismacolors, Polychromos or any other woodcased favorites; I think it’s not possible for a mechanical lead to compete with a woodcased pencil. Without the structure and support of wood, it must have materials other than binders to keep them from breaking. But for a set of 36 colors that can fit in a tube about the size of the Multi 8, they are pretty darn good. Ideal, actually, for a short-term minimalism challenge.
|Pentel Multi 8 and June Gold 2mm leads|
The only downside to these compact, budget-minded colors is that the leads are too long to fit in the Multi 8. There’s an easy solution, though: Just snap them in half.
|My June Gold urban palette|
The Caran d’Ache Bicolor has come out of my bag. Although I’m using it only for the graphite component, the Bic 4-Color 3+1 is staying in for now. And June Gold leads contained in my Multi 8 are my only coloring agent. They ought to keep me happy for the duration of the challenge.