(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
The Kaweco Sketch Up Lead Holder is a brass instrument for holding lead between 5.4 and 5.7mm thick. It comes with one 5.6mm 5B graphite lead, so you'll probably want to order refills (see below) along with your lead holder.
The Sketch is a solid instrument with an octagonal barrel. It is 10.3cm in length, 13.8cm in diameter, and weighs 1.5oz. It does not come with a clip, but you can add one if you like for $6.75.
The clutch mechanism looks like something out of Alien or Terminator. In other words, it's pretty cool. You press on the back push button to open the clutch and insert the lead. This is also how you advance or retract the lead.
The push button is removable, and integrated inside is a lead sharpener. This lead holder is like a James Bond gizmo–a removable push button with a secret sharpener, a clutch mechanism that could be used to crush someone's pinky while interrogating them, and a pencil, too!
The Sketch feels comfortable in the hand, and although it is heavy, the weight is balanced. I didn't feel any fatigue using it to sketch. However, JetPens also offers plastic versions if you think the brass might be too heavy (see below).
The lead itself is soft and malleable. You can draw fine lines when the lead is sharp and use the sides for softer, thicker lines. Because the lead is so soft, it smears easily, so keep a good, soft eraser handy.
My daughter is the real artist in the family. She used the Kaweco Sketch to draw this griffin. Pretty impressive, huh? (I'm a wee bit biased).
Here's a closeup of the lead on paper.
The sketchbook used for these drawings is the Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Premium Sketchbook for multimedia. It is an excellent 62-page sketchbook, with a hardback cover and archival 150gsm paper. The pages are sewn and the notebook lies flat if you bend back the binding. These are available at Dick Blick for $15.99.
You can order the Kaweco Sketch Up Clutch Lead Holder from JetPens for $36.00. A brass chrome version is also available as are three plastic versions (3.2mm in gray, black and mint) for $19.00 each. A variety of refills are available, including Kaweco graphite 3-pack ($6.50) and Kaweco colored lead 3 packs (in blue, red, yellow, green) ($6.50). E+M offers a pack of eight colored leads for $10.00.