I know, I know, it’s supposed to be three items, but for the sake of depth it’s four this time. This is going to assume you have a lifetime supply of paper, make: unknown. My first choice is a loaded GraphGear800 from Pentel, it’s the only thing that’s gonna survive this island and give me everything I need to pencil a masterpiece that will take my mind off a lifetime of solitude. Second, I want a White Pearl eraser, this will be clutch, trust me. Third, I want a Pentel Sharp P205 loaded with non-photo blue lead, this is essential for layouts. Finally, I want a pen I don’t even have right now, but I can choose anything right, I want a Bic Z4, the most versatile pen I’ve come across, it’s a beast, it can do anything.
The Pentel Sharp P207 (or P205 for that matter) changed the whole game: perfect weight, perfect grip, supreme sturdiness, and unassailable dependability, but unfortunately the eraser is poorly designed, its metal carriage is too small, resulting in the entire eraser mechanism having a tendency to slide inside the pencil, failing to erase, but worse: possibly cutting the paper with the exposed metal. Now, we all know that the importance of a pencil is not its eraser, generally it’s better to use a second eraser, it’s safer and, well…safer.
So, all they had to do was fix the eraser, and I’m sorry to report that the eraser on the new version has not been changed. Let me say, I may be bitter because I have been waiting, possibly a decade for them to fix the eraser. Instead, what they have done is offer us a new metallic color. So, to collectors: this is the equivalent of a “repaint.” TISK. Oh well, I still bought it, and I will use it, and if there is something I have missed I will be sure to keep you updated. Remember, the alternative is the Pentel GraphGear 500.
For most of my erasing I use a Paper Mate White Pearl eraser, but before I go full-in on erasing the graphite lead from beneath my pen marks, I use the Pentel Clic Eraser to go over all the most important areas.
The Clic Eraser is very delicate with the page, made out of a soft plastic, perfect for clearing all of the pencil marks on faces, hands, and any other intricately detailed part of your art.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to hold the edges of your paper when you erase, crumpling the page is a struggle that is real, and has caused many a casualty in my line of work. I can’t stress enough to only use white plastic erasers and never pink, the degradation of the medium itself is ten times worse with a pink eraser.
I heard Jim Lee (THE top comic artist of the last 20 years) speak long ago about non-photocopy blue pencils. You sketch in pencil, then pick out the best lines in non-photo blue and erase, only the blue lines will remain, allowing you to have a nice wire frame for your drawing that can easily be removed upon scanning. These days, you can even do it with a mechanical pencil: Like this Pentel Sharp 205 with 0.5mm non-photo blue lead.
I spent years using the trusty Pentel Sharp P207, but a couple of years ago, my favorite mechanical pencil became the Pentel GraphGear 800. The 800 has everything the P207 has, plus a more solidly mounted eraser, a raised grip where your fingers touch, and a sturdy, all-metal, tip that can withstand almost anything. I’ve used all of my GraphGear 800s until the names have rubbed off. You cannot go wrong with this pencil, I’ve spent so much time with the GraphGear 800 that we’re legally married in Kentucky.
The Pentel Sharp P207 is one of the finest mechanical pencils ever made. It’s weight is perfect, the grip is optimal, the clip is removable (which I usually do), and it’s so rugged you can use it to get a rock out of your tire tread and go back to drawing without skipping a beat. With that being said, it has one fatal flaw: The eraser. I’ve been using this pencil for years and would rank it probably my second favorite mechanical pencil of all time, but it has a design flaw that’s never been fixed in its long life time. The metal sheath that holds the eraser in is too thin, causing the eraser to sink back into the pencil every time you use it. Granted: You probably should be using a plastic or gum eraser anyway, but there are always points where you can save time by not switching from the pencil in your hand. As the eraser recesses, the metal sheath is exposed, if you’re not careful, it can actually gouge and tear your paper.
So, it works perfectly until every twentieth line when you have to erase something tiny. I would give Pentel more of a break if they had improved it once in all this time, but, as it stands, I have a new favorite, which I will reveal in a future post. You could do much worse than the P207 (I still keep one with me as a backup), just be careful, and practice safe-erasing.