Monday, March 13, 2023

Review: Be Goody Color/Graphite Bi-Pencils


Be Goody colored and graphite bi-pencils from Daiso

I’ve seen the name Be Goody, a Japanese pencil brand, on novelty colored pencils as well as graphite pencils. I hadn’t paid much attention to it until I saw these interesting specimens at my neighborhood Daiso store: They have a colored core on one end and graphite on the other!

Swatches made in Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook

If a pencil has two different colors on it, I’d call it a bicolor, but I’m not sure what to call these . . . how about bi-pencils? In any case, the bi-pencils pair Vermillion or Prussian Blue with B or 2B graphite. Like many Japanese pencils intended for school kids, the reverse side offers a space for a name. And like most Japanese pencils, even those made for children, the barrels are attractive (except for an ugly barcode that at least sharpens off early in the pencil’s life from the graphite end), and the cores are well-centered.

A space for your name.

Each Daiso two-pack contains either B or 2B graphite with vermillion on one pencil and blue on the other.

As far as color goes, the vermillion is on the pale side, and the cores are middle-of-the road in softness. When I made the swatches, I thought they were on the hard side, but as I made the sketch below on mildly toothy Uglybooks paper, I was pleasantly surprised by their softness (for an editing pencil). I’d say they are comparable to the well-known Uni Mitsubishi Vermilion/PrussianBlue bicolors.

I went through a period several years ago when I sketched regularly with red/blue bicolor pencils to help me identify values. It was really handy to be able to flip the pencil back and forth as I drew – the ultimate in a simple sketch kit tool. Maybe this is idiosyncratic, but the only downside I found with sketching with the Be Goody bi-pencils is that my habit from those value studies made me expect to find blue and red on opposite ends – and instead I’d find graphite.

3/11/23 Be Goody vermillion, Prussian blue and 2B graphite 
in Uglybooks sketchbook (Earthsworld reference photo)

The B and 2B graphite are what I would call smooth, competent, reliable Japanese graphite grades. Nothing special but no surprises, either – they are beautiful for both writing and drawing.

I think editors, teachers and others who still mark papers by hand (I hope you are still out there) would find the colored ends hard enough to write with. (A few decades ago when I was still editing professionally on hard copy, I would have happily used these pencils, but sadly, that was long before pencils became an important part of my life.)

Although these colored/graphite bi-pencils are not unique, they are unusual. The only others I own are the Caran d’Ache Graphicolors, which are available in red/graphite and highlighter yellow/graphite (as well as the more conventional red/blue pairing). The red/graphite shown in the photo below is one with the (sadly now closed) New York City pencil purveyor CW Pencils name. It was also made by Caran d’Ache. (Are there other colored/graphite bi-pencils? Leave a comment if you know of one!)

The only other colored/graphite bi-pencils I own, made by Caran d'Ache.

The Caran d’Ache Graphicolors are $2.80 each at Blick; the Be Goody bi-pencils are $1.75 for a 2-pack at Daiso. A much better value, the Be Goody bi-pencils are all-around decent in an unusual, practical form.


  1. Time to head to Daiso! Thanks for the review!

  2. I haven't seen any bi-colored pencils like these. You find so many interesting items!

  3. I have been looking for a reason to make a Daiso trek. Thanks! ;-) Anne


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