Triple Rainbow all the way?
The idea of building a better pencil seems kind of silly at first, but after 450 years even small details can make a difference. The latest Limited Edition Archer pencils from Baron Fig look to improve on your typical #2 pencil. The “Prismatic” line comes in a purple cardboard sleeve adorned with cubes, cylinders and pyramids – “Ideas are the building blocks of great endeavors. What Starts as something small may one day change the world” is adorned across the cap. The packaging is simple but effective – sized perfectly to keep the Archers from rattling around inside.
Opening the tube reveals 12 Archers in three colors – Red, with pyramid designs, yellow, with cuboids, and light blue, with cylinders. All are capped in a dark blue-violet color with “Baron Fig” opposite the geometric shapes. Everything is screened on in white with no embossing, leaving a nice smooth finish. The coating does live up to it’s description, providing a solid grip without needing texture to do so by using a nice matte lacquer finish.
Electric and hand sharpening both produced a sharp tip with no cracking or separation of the graphite and wood. The smooth HB graphite produces excellent line work and shading without creating a lot of excess flaking at the tip. By using smoother graphite I noticed the Archer feels more like a dedicated all-graphite art pencil – and flows easier on paper with a rougher tooth. It holds up well to a blending stick, allowing it to be worked quite easily in my Leuchtturm 1917 notebook. I never noticed a crack or splintering of the graphite even under heavy pressure. The lack of eraser may be an issue for some, but I prefer to match full size erasers to the paper type I am working on so this is not an issue and creates a better balance.
The designs, similar in approach to their previous “Snakes and Ladders” release, run the length of the pencil along a single side. The only complaint I really have about the designs are the color choices – while the red and light blue are great, the yellow is a bit too bright to really see the white designs. I think either starting with a darker color like green, or screening in a darker shade would have helped it stand out a little better.
The “Prismatic” set is available today via Baron Fig for $15 – putting it in the mid to upper range for pricing ($1.25/ea) compared to either the more expensive Palamino Blackwing 602 ($1.87/ea) or the cheaper Dixon Ticonderoga ($.27/ea).
Full Disclosure: These pencils were sent my way at no charge by the folks at Baron Fig for review purposes.