Bruynzeel pencils

Bruynzeel pencils

Bruynzeel is a Netherlands pencil and art supply brand, now owned by Sakura of Japan. A couple of years ago, we took a look at the Bruynzeel High Grade pencil. Today, we’ll look at three more pencils:

  • Bruynzeel Triple Grip
  • Bruynzeel design pencil 8615
  • Design by Bruynzeel-Sakura 8815
  • Bruynzeel pencils

    The Triple Grip is a triangular pencil, just slightly oversized. I like the shape and dark blue colouring quite a bit.

    The design pencil 8615 is hexagonal, and finished in grey, with a black cap and red cap ring.

    The design 8815 is round and has a natural finish, with black cap.

    The two design pencils are also marked “Holland”.

    The Bruynzeel name has a different font on each pencil. Maybe the name is considered distinct enough to not require consistent branding?

    Bruynzeel pencils
    Bruynzeel pencils
    Bruynzeel pencils

    The two design pencils write quite nicely (much better than the High Grade), while the Triple Grip unfortunately is just average. I would say the 8815 stands out as another rare example of a high quality round pencil.

    Bruynzeel pencils

    My thanks to blog reader Huib for sending me these pencils.

    Stabilo GREENlighter highlighting pencils

    Stabilo GREENlighter highlighting pencils

    Last month’s look at the Faber-Castell Textliner pencils elicited a response from a reader in the Netherlands, who asked me to compare them with Stabilo’s new GREENlighter products. Fortunately, the request was accompanied by a set of the pencils!

    Stabilo GREENlighter highlighting pencils

    The modest packaging is appealing. A cutout reveals three highlighting pencils, and the text indicates the pencils are FSC certified, with the cardboard package made from 80% recycled paper. The FSC Chain of Custody number is also listed. I tried to look it up – it is held by Stabilo’s Czech branch and covers the purchase and sale of slats, and the production and sale of pencils, in cedar, basswood, Weymouth pine, and jelutong. Does jelutong (a rainforest species) grow in central Europe? I don’t think so. This “Chain of Custody” could be more transparent.

    Stabilo GREENlighter highlighting pencils

    So the product – they are 12cm (70% the length of a typical pencil) oversize triangular highlighting pencils in yellow, pink, and green. The presentation and ergonomics are fantastic. They remind me very much of the Lyra Ferby.

    Stabilo GREENlighter highlighting pencils

    As to highlighting – the results vary by colour. On index cards and a trade paperback, the green and pink had the general issues associated with this pencil category – faint marking, even scratchiness. The yellow was excellent – rich and saturated. Side by side with the Faber-Castell textliner, I noticed that the Stabilo didn’t crumble, another plus.

    Stabilo GREENlighter highlighting pencils

    So the yellow is a winner – but the other colours are a disappointment.

    Carbon and Ebony pencils

    Carbon and Ebony pencils

    The lead pencil’s main ingredients haven’t changed much since Conté and Hardmuth figured out how to blend and bake clay and graphite approximately two hundred years ago.

    Yet a few pencils acknowledge getting a bit of help from mixing in some charcoal, and some others are a bit more mysterious. Of course there are also pencils that clearly identify their marking ingredient, whether graphite, charcoal, or chalk. Here are a few pencils labelled “Carbon” or “Ebony”.

    Carbon and Ebony pencils

    Maybe you use one or more of them? If so, maybe you can share a little about why you like the pencil.

    Carbon and Ebony pencils

    The Sanford Ebony Design 14420 is described on the packaging: “Thick, jet black lead produces expressive images with a matte finish.” To me, “jet black” is an exaggeration. The pencil has an oversized graphite core, and seems to be a typical pencil, but with a soft grade that keeps a point quite well.

    General’s Layout/Ebony pencil 555 is described on the General pencil website as being “extra smooth, extra black graphite.” It also appears to be an oversize core pencil in a soft grade.

    Both are nice pencils, but the “ebony” designation seems to be more a term meant to connote this pencil style, rather than referring to any specific formula. Pencils available in a wide range of grades usually use larger cores for the softer pencils anyway, so the uniqueness isn’t so clear.

    They also reminded me of oversize core pencils from Japan – both Tombow and Mitsubishi offer 4B and 6B pencils with oversize cores. Derwent and Caran d’Ache are also known for oversize core drawing pencils.

    Lyra Rembrandt Carbon 308/3 is one of a few very interesting specialty pencils found in the Lyra “Art Specials” set. The Carbon 308/3 is apparently a charcoal and grease pencil – but you could have fooled me. It doesn’t have that crunchiness or light weight of compressed charcoal. On the other hand, it does leave a dark matte finish. I think it’s very interesting, and suspect it is a graphite/charcoal blend.

    General’s Carbon Sketch 595 is, according to General, “The perfect combination of charcoal and graphite.” It also has a metal cap. I found it to leave an intense dark black line while again not having that charcoal compacting aspect. Anyone wanting a deep black, matte line should investigate this pencil.

    The Lyra 309 is apparently “carbon without grease”. Here I’m wondering if the translation was in error. While the 308 was labelled carbon, the 309 is not, and seems more like just a charcoal pencil.

    Wolff’s carbon Royal Sovereign 2B is another very interesting mixed ingredient pencil. Perpendicular to paper, it seems to squeak when it moves!

    Staedtler’s 7B, 8B, and EE pencils also seem to fit in this category.

    There are no doubt other examples.


    I hope you like the blog’s updated appearance! Please let me know if you discover any problems.

    There are a few changes behind the scenes as well. The categories and indexing have been neglected for too long, making the content less accessible than it should be. I’ve gone through the first two years of the blog, and have attempted to accurately categorize each post. I’ll keep working on this.

    As a small celebration, here’s a contest: The blog’s “banner” is the rectangular photo at the top of each page. Until yesterday, that banner showed green erasers from the FSC Canada pencil. Can you identify the pencil that was shown on the first banner used by this blog?

    The prize:

    A Pilot Foam eraser, a Mitsubishi Hi-Uni Super-DX pencil, and an Ito-ya pencil extender in white.

    Contest prize

    Just leave a comment with the answer. The first correct answer wins. (The winner can send me their postal address via email, and the prize will be sent via Canada Post.) The contest runs until midnight on June 23, EDT.