Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Have you seen the Sharpie Pencil? Check this out!

On the package, Sharpie's Liquid Pencil is advertised to be smooth like a pen and erases like a pencil.  They also say that the Liquid Graphite Technology eliminates broken leads.  It is, we are told, a No. 2 lead equivalent that will become permanent on paper after about 24 hours.

Naturally I was way past curious, and, since I really enjoy pencil drawing, I wanted to try this out.  Here's a little tour of what I found out when I played with this pencil that is not quite a pencil.

Given my love of watercolor, the first paper I grabbed was 140 pound watercolor paper.  And, naturally, I wanted to see how it would erase!

As you can see, it erases very nicely.  I did see some dents in the paper, but that could be me and my exhuberant drawing style =p
After a couple of days, I went back and erased over it again.  It was mostly permanent, but you can see a lighter area where the arrows are pointing.  That's where I erased it today.  The Sharpie company has stated that the Sharpie Pencil is more permantent than a reagular pencil but not as permanent as their markers.  They also state that you can expect to have some ability to erase indefinitely. 

I then wanted to see what would happen when I put watercolor paint on top of the Sharpie Pencil.

Whoopsie!  Want to erase after 24 hours?  Just add water if your drawing is on watercolor paper.  I think the ability to erase after 24 hours and the 'bye-bye' where once there was shading, are due to the fact that this is a sized piece of watercolor paper.

Thinking about different papers, I thought I would try some others and see what happened.

Plate Bristol had rather disappointing results.  The slick plate surface made it hard for the liquid graphite to adhere.  The faster I drew, the less the liquid graphite seemed to want to adhere to the slick surface.  I usually sketch very quickly so this was just a teeny bit annoying.

I moved on to Strathmore's 400 Drawing paper and drew this little cowbell.

This paper worked much better.  The liquid graphite flowed fairly smoothly unless I drew extremely fast or forgot to hold the Sharpie Pencil a little more upright rather than at a steep angle to the paper.  I was able to get some nice 'darks' on this paper, too.  That was really hard to do on the other papers as the liquid graphite kept wanting to lift.

Having determined that a soft paper with no sizing but with a moderate tooth was the way to go, I tried another paper:  Liquitex Basic Drawing Pad - a student grade drawing paper.

The Sharpie Pencil moved well on this paper and I was able to get a nice range of darks and lights.  I does look quite a bit different that a regular pencil, though.  Here is the same sketch done in a regular graphite pencil.

Pluses for the Sharpie Pencil? 
*You definitely don't have to sharpen this bad boy and I didn't break the lead once!  I also did not have to refill the lead as you would have to with a mechanical pencil.
*The color is a very nice shade of practically No. 2 pencil lead =)

Hints for the Sharpie Pencil? 
*Stay away from heavily sized paper or from paper with a very smooth surface.  Both of these make it hard for the liquid graphite to adhere.  Even your hand resting on your drawing will remove it every bit as good as the eraser =p  Instead, use a soft drawing paper with a little tooth.
*Hold the Sharpie Pencil so that it is more perpendicular to the paper.  You can have it at a slight slant, but too much of a slant and it skips and can't flow smoothly.  It reminds me of the way you would handle a Rapidiograph pen.

The Sharpie Pencil liquid graphite makes me think about using erasable ball point pens.  It has a very similar feel to the way the ink is delivered in those pens and they erase in a similar fashion.  For quick sketching on soft drawing paper, these are easy to use and a lot of fun.

Here are a couple of things to be aware of, though, before you create your next masterpiece with them. 
*One is that there is no data on how archival the liquid graphite in the Sharpie Pencil is.  If you are an artist who prefers to use only archival materials, you may want to wait until there is definative data on these. 
*The other thing to be aware of is that the point on the Sharpie Pencil is close to a .5mm lead.  When drawing with this, you will not have a flexible point, so your line will be consistently the same width.

Are you going to give one of these a try?  Let me know what you think when you do!


PS  The wonderful Etsy Blogger's Team has a great Carnival for the new year:  "Now that it's the beginning of a new year, what goal do you have for your business that you hope to achieve in 2011?" 

Well, one of my goals this year is to have a weekly blog post that will be chocked full of useful hints, information, and tips! 

Do you have a question you would like answered or a product you would like to know more about?  Let me know!  If I use your question, I will link back to your blog in my post =)


  1. Thank you for an excellent review of this "pencil". It sounds very interesting and something I might try.

  2. Great product review! Might be just the thing for my sketchbooks - HMMMM

  3. You are welcome, Marlene and Lee. I had fun testing it out =)

  4. I almost bought one of these myself the other day, Kathy. Thanks for the review!

  5. You are welcome, Linda! I like to experiment with new drawing materials a lot.

  6. I think I want one! And I don't even draw! Yet...

  7. What a great review! As an accountant, I use a pencil every day and am always on the lookout for a better one so I might just have to try this one especially since the lead doesn't break! Love your drawings by the way. I wish I could sketch something other than debits and credits. :(

  8. that's amazing! I've never heard of a liquid pencil. Thanks for the information - I'll be looking for it in the store! {:-D

  9. Fantastic post, thanks for sharing so much information! I never heard of this Sharpie and it's good to know how it works.

    I'm going to pass this onto my daughter who likes to draw. Thank you!

  10. They are pretty cool, rose =)

    Beaded - check it on your paper to make sure it won't rub off. That's the only drawback I could see. On some papers it rubs off if you rest your hand on when you have drawn or written.
    hehe - try a doodle now and then!

    story - you are welcome - check the 'big boxes' in their office supplies.

    Thanks, tamdoll - glad you found it helpful.

  11. Very interesting!
    I love Sharpies, am not a huge fan of the Sharpies pen, but will have to at least give the Sharpie pencil a try. Thanks for the great review!

  12. Thanks, Debbie - glad you found this interesting =)

  13. Thanks Kathleen! I love your demonstration of the sharpie pencil! It looks great! Also thanks so much for stopping by my blog. Your horses are gorgeous!

  14. Thanks for the compliment =) Glad you liked this demonstration. And you are welcome ;-)

  15. This was wonderful. Thank you so much for posting it. Your writing was both clear and interesting, and the pictures really helped get the point across as well. I would like to see an article about how you do your wonderfully loose and vibrant sketching. You capture the "reality" more faithfully than even a photograph could. You get to the heart and soul of the subject.

  16. Thank you, Linda! I appreciate your kind comment! Doing a blog post on sketching does sound like a lot of fun. I really enjoy sketching because it catches the essence of the subject!

  17. That is really interesting Kathy! I haven't seen that for sale here, but I definitely want to get a couple to play with now after your very thorough review :-)

  18. Thanks, Purple Pony! I found a two pack at WalMart and today I noticed that our local Art Store had them. Probably anywhere that carries Sharpies could order them. Have fun!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Related Posts with Thumbnails