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!
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.
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.
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.
So the yellow is a winner – but the other colours are a disappointment.
The highlighting pencil is one of those specialty pencils that never really worked for me – the idea is great, but the ones I’ve tried from Lyra, Staedtler, and International Arrivals had weak pigmentation, and were not very effective.
I’m very happy to report that I’ve finally found a woodcase highlighting pencil that works as well as the liquid felt tip alternatives.
Faber-Castell’s Textliner 1148 is oversize, and in Faber-Castell’s popular “Grip” format – triangular with raised “grip” dots.
Announced this year, it appears to supersede a hexagonal predecessor, even assuming the same bar code. I actually have a couple of the hexagonal variety that I never got around to trying.
Available in five colours, the lines are fluorescent and saturated, just as they should be.
Close-up photos reveal that they leave a bit of pigment residue, the only minor flaw that I observed. They have become a standard office supply for me, and I have no trouble recommending them as a great specialty pencil.
In March, we looked at the Lyra Mega Liner highlighting pencil. The offerings in this category are few, but there is at least one alternative.
I just discovered that Staedtler Austria also manufacture highlighting pencils. The ones I found are packaged in a “blister pack” and are sold as “Bible Highlighters”.
The pencils are round, and finished in white with black text. The caps are dipped in a colour corresponding to the highlight colour – blue, green, yellow, and pink.
A couple of nice touches – each pencil is supplied with a protective plastic cap, and there is a sharpener included in the kit.
I tried them on a pocket Larousse French-English dictionary, and on newsprint. (The packaging specifically mentions dictionaries.) While they are definitely gentler than liquid pigment highlighters, and thus probably a better choice for finer papers, I wasn’t completely sold. The highlight looks more like a faint smudge than a “highlight” to me.
Overall, I suspect they could be useful with the right paper type, but weren’t great on the paper types I tried. They are also a standard pencil size, so sharpening should not be a problem.
A specialty pencil for highlighting, the Lyra Mega Liner 96 is a woodcase pencil with a fluorescent wax core.
It is oversized, with an oversized core. I have yellow and blue versions, but it also comes in green, orange, and pink. The diameter is about 11mm, so they just fit in most large hole sharpeners.
The pencil is hexagonal, and has a very lightly varnished natural finish. It is imprinted:
Obverse: Germany [logo] Lyra Mega Liner 96 962n
Reverse: paper + copy + fax
Let me mention that I like liquid pigment fluorescent highlighters. My favourite, the see through Zebra Zazzle, disappeared from Canadian shelves a few years ago, but I still have a few.
The Lyra Mega Liner is not just for show – it is a working highlighter, leaving illuminated marks on paper.
I tried it on printed paper, and on a laser printout. It works, though it doesn’t give the saturated effect of fibre wedge highlighters dispensing bright yellow pigment.
Lyra Mega Liner, printed paper
Lyra Mega Liner, printed paper
Lyra Mega Liner, laser printout
Zebra Zazzle (for comparison), laser printout
If I could find these locally, I might be using them every day. But via mail order, they become expensive for an ancillary item.
I just saw these pencils at a new local stationer. The incredibly bright assortment of oversized hexagonal colour pencils was very eye catching.
The package identified them as “fluorescent pencils” from International Arrivals, and made in Taiwan. The pencils are marked “VERY BEST SUPPLY CO.” and the pencils are printed in the left-handed style. (The text readable when held in the left hand, unlike most pencils.)
I was told in the store that the pencils are for highlighting. This really pleased me, as I’ve wanted highlighting pencils for some time, but have never seen them for sale in a brick and mortar store.
They are oversized hexagonal pencils, with an immense core. The pencils are varnished in very bright flourescent colours. The assortment seems uneven – yellow, dark blue, green, and three in the red-orange spectrum.
As highlighters, I tested them on both bound books and laser printer output. The yellow, the traditional highlighter colour, was faint, and took a lot of pressure to leave any noticeable mark. The blue and green were slightly better, and the reds (which on paper turned out to be light pink, dark pink, and orange), were the most noticeable.
Needing a lot of pressure, and not leaving especially useful highlights, I’m not sure these really are “highlighting” pencils, like those from quality pencil companies. I think they’re just brightly painted, nicely packaged cheap pencil crayons. Which is is too bad, since they look so nice.