Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Uniquely Alien

This India-made pencil is delicious to use, but
I lost quite a bit when it broke during sharpening.
11/5/23 Camlin Kokuyo 10B in Uglybook 
(all reference photos by Earthsworld)

The more ears I draw, the more I’m convinced that ears must be among the strangest-looking, nearly alien, visible body parts. One reason they might look especially foreign is that, unlike the nose or eyes, we can’t see our own ears easily, even in the mirror. In addition, when interacting with others, we are rarely in a position to observe their ears. Maybe only parents who clean their young children’s ears regularly have the opportunity to spend quality time observing ears.

11/6/23 silver Japanese pencil (brand unknown)
Despite its thick core, it was harder than I expected
it to be. I was told later that the grade is about 2B.

A reader, both a genealogist and portraitist, commented on my last Pencilvember post, “I identify folks in old photos by ear structure compared to known identity frequently! It’s a well known and reliable tool!” Fascinated by this, I could totally see why ears would be useful in identifying individuals. As of this writing, I’ve only sketched 11 so far, but I believe I could identify every one of these Earthsworld models from their ear if I ever saw them in person. (If I ever did, it would be hard to resist exclaiming, “I know you! I’ve drawn your ear!” Way to watch someone run as fast as possible in the opposite direction.)

11/7/23 Escoda 4B

Although I'm familiar with (and have a few) Escoda
brushes, I did not think the Spanish company also 
made pencils. Speculation in the pencil community is 
that Escoda does not make its own pencils, and this one was
likely made by Viarco or another European maker.

Another India-made pencil with excellent graphite.
Despite its soft grade, it didn't break while sharpening.

11/8/23 Apsara 12B

11/9/23 vintage Tombow HB

With an adorable floral print, this vintage Tombow
feels a bit harder than its contemporary counterpart.

11/10/23 Kitaboshi HIT 6B

With excellent graphite, the Kitaboshi HIT is available 
at Daiso stores.

11/11/23 Caran d'Ache Grafwood 4B

Grafwoods always need exactly the right paper 
tooth to feel good to me, and this Uglybook isn't it. 


  1. hiiii have you seen the new Caran d'Ache Keith Haring collection? interested in your thoughts on the colored pencil set! (no pressure of course)

  2. I have to admit, the noses were starting to creep me out so I was happy to have you move on to ears. Now THEY are starting to creep me out! lol


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