Posts filed under Alvin

Alvin Draft-Matic Drafting Pencil Mab Graves Limited Edition Review


(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

Alvin mechanical pencils are much beloved, and these special Mab Graves Limited Edition colors add a lovely bit of charm to a tried-and-true product. The .3mm lead comes in pink, the .5mm in mint green, and the .7mm in violet. Mab chose the colors to represent herself and her Contemporary Pop-Surrealist art style. She also designed the gorgeous packaging with some of her signature 60's style space fairies. The back of the packaging features Mab's bio and her statement of affection for the Alvin Draft-Matic.

The pencils themselves are paragons of practicality. They have a plastic barrel with knurled metal grip and spinning lead indicator, a metal clip, a top button click to advance the lead, a capped eraser, and a 4mm long lead sleeve for drafting accuracy.


The plastic body helps keep the pencil light, to reduce hand fatigue. The interior threads are all metal, to keep them from wearing out. The pencil is still decently hefty. The knurled grip is pretty intense. You're not likely to drop it--I wonder if it might even stick to the wall. This may lead to some discomfort during long drawing sessions, at least until you and your pencil wear each other in.


The capped eraser is one of the tiny cylinder sort, but it erases very well. You'll definitely need another eraser on hand, though. The eraser plugs the lead chamber, which is quite narrow but holds a few backup sticks. The clip feels nice and sturdy. The lead sleeve is long--but it doesn't retract into the nose, so there's some risk of it being bent if it isn't cared for. The lead grade indicator is a handy accessory--but this one spins a bit too freely. The knurling even seems to help it catch on things and rotate when you don't want it to. I wouldn't consider it a terribly reliable indicator. It gives options for 4H, 2H, H, F, HB, B, and 2B. The pencils came with the indicator set to HB, but the lead it comes with is B. The lead itself was very nice to use. It was smooth and nicely dark, and it never broke as I wrote--even when I scribbled with the miniscule .3mm size.


Overall these are a pleasure to use, and I love the aesthetic of this special edition. The artwork on the packaging is so fun, I almost hated to tear it open. But there were great pencils inside, so I overcame my hesitation. They're of course perfect for drafting, but they're also great for sketching or writing. I think they're a good value for the price, and they feel and perform as well as much more expensive pencils.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

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Posted on March 16, 2017 and filed under Alvin, Mechanical Pencil.

Alvin Penstix No. 3013-EEF 0.3 mm Review

Alvin Penstix 0.3 mm

My friend Alex from Economy Pens recently reviewed the Alvin Penstix and was kind enough to send one my way to check out. Alex wasn’t too high on the Penstix, and after spending a short amount of time with it, neither am I.

The Alvin Penstix has potential. My handwriting looked as good as I have seen it in a long while. The plastic fiber tip leaves a sharp, clean line but there are too many oddities in the overall package to put it in the regular rotation.

First of all, the black ink color is almost brown. My photo doesn’t do it justice but this is not a dark ink. I joked in the handwritten review that they should just called it sepia. It is not that bad but it is by no means black.

Secondly, this is one of the most overdone barrel designs I have ever seen. There is too much text, a horrible clip, and a weird cap. I’m not sure what the designers of this pen were thinking but none of it is flattering. This is a simple pen with an overblown design.

If Alvin could fix the ink darkness I could overlook some of the barrel flaws. If they could fix the ink darkness and some of the barrel issues, I might kick my Bic Z4 to the curb.

Posted on March 21, 2012 and filed under Alvin, Pen Reviews, Penstix.

Alvin Draft-Matic Drafting Pencil 0.3 mm Review

Alvin Draft-Matic Drafting Pencil - 0.3 mm

What is it about the design of drafting pencils that appeals to me so much? There is something about the clean lines, long lead pipe, and knurling found on many of this type of pencil that is so attractive. The Alvin Draft-Matic Drafting Pencil is a recent addition to the lineup at JetPens, and is one of my new favorites.

You would think the banana yellow barrel would blow my design aesthetic theory out of the water, but I find it one of the most attractive things about this pencil. The bright color makes the chrome clip, cap, and knurling really pop. Speaking of the knurling, this is some of the deepest I have used, meaning the grip can be pretty rough on your fingers. It doesn’t bother me, but then again, back in my golf playing days I wanted my grips to feel like sandpaper.

The barrel color sucked me into buying the 0.3mm lead size, but I think I should have chosen 0.5mm instead. For my ink pens, I almost can’t get too small, but the 0.3mm lead width doesn’t suit my writing style as well. I don’t break a lot of leads, but I am overly conscious about it, so the 0.5mm lead would have been better in the long run.

Many people compare this pencil to the Rotring 500 because of the plastic barrel and knurled grip combination, and that is a fair comp. The knurling on the Rotring is not as rough - which some may like - but it is a few dollars more expensive. Either one makes for a great entry level drafting pencil. The Alvin does have four different lead widths available, and you can even save a few bucks by purchasing a two or three pencil set.

Posted on September 21, 2011 and filed under Alvin, Drafting Pencil, Pencil Reviews.