Discovering Baron Fig and CW Pencils (New York) last 2017 was like being sucked into a wormhole filled with beautiful notebooks and pencils.
These guys introduced me to this world of paper-pencil lovers that feels right at home. I learned about pencils from all over the world, of different colors and brands, pencil grades and their differences that I promised myself a new set of higher-quality pencils on my birthday this year.
I picked up a few notable pencil brands to go with my Pollux brass sharpener. After my last MUJI pen ran out, I decided to test run the Viarco Desenho 250 B pencil first.
Viarco is a Portuguese pencil manufacturer founded in 1907 and the only one of its kind in the country. The pencil I chose is apparently a classic dating back 70+ years ago.
The Viarco Desenho B is 7″ long and features a classic red hexagonal body that doesn’t break easily when you sharpen it. It also doesn’t come with its own eraser, so I stuck a purple arrowhead rubber eraser I got from my aunt at the end of the pencil.
The word desenho means “drawing” or “design,” so while it may be designed for visual artists, I’m able to use it for daily writing for the past few weeks. I use it to plan my week ahead or for note-taking.
A dark and smooth pencil
The Desenho 250 B has a much larger lead and is super smooth. I usually press hard onto the paper when I write, so it wasn’t long before the tip became dull and short from writing.
You can see from the comparison below how the Desenho B pencil looks like after its gone dull from use. It’s especially striking when I wrote “Viarco” before sharpening it a bit.
Holly certainly likes using it for writing and drawing as well. Lines are much darker and wider, so she’s free to exert as little or as much effort as she wants when doing her work.
But because the lead’s so smooth, it dulls quickly and smudges when you rub your writing. This can be a nuisance if you want your pencil to remain pointed after initial use.
Writing with a pencil vs with a pen
To my surprise, writing with a pencil was a renewing experience. I found myself writing in block letters more than script, and if I go for the latter I had to erase and do over some letters so they look legible. With a pen, I’m able to control my writing speed and strokes so it doesn’t look like it’s all over the place.
I find it to be good practice since I’ve not written this much in a long time. However the Desenho 250 B’s just too soft for this purpose, so it may be best when used for illustrations, sketches, and the like.
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