Seeing a two-tone pencil, especially one of the red and blue variety, takes me back. They seem like a cool relic of the 1960’s, although I assume they have been around much longer that that. If my memory serves me, I first ran across them in the 1970’s and 1980’s in my grandfathers art studio. It was one of those pencils that you only found on a table or in a desk there, giving them a bit of cachet in my young pen addict’s brain.
I liberated one or two over the years I’m sure, allowing me to double-blade long before Darth Maul made it popular. But they weren’t great pencils. The red was often too orange or too light, and the blue was similarly faint. Plus, I’m sure I would get in trouble turning in a school assignment in red colored pencil.
But red and blue two-tone pencils have an aura about them. If you see them in the wild, you know serious or interesting work goes on where they rest, more so than a desk full of yellow pencils or Bic Clics. Having one on my desk makes me feel like I am in Mad Men about to edit the new Coca-Cola ad copy.
The Uni Mitsubishi Vermilion and Prussian Blue Pencil is the first one I have tried in years, and I’m very happy with the results. Both pencil cores are dark enough, and the red isn’t too orange. The blue is softer than the red, so if you are using them in equal amounts the blue will need to be sharpened sooner. Also, don’t even bother with trying to erase them. That’s not happening.
This leads to another interesting bit about two-tone pencils. As if they weren’t unique enough, they come in different color proportions. This one is a standard 5:5 model, meaning the ratio of red to blue is exactly even. There is a 7:3 model available, with red taking on the lions share of the core. That’s the one my editor would need to use if I actually had an editor. Red would be all over the page.
And that is where the use case for two-tone pencils lies today. If you aren’t using them as a markup tool for editing, engineering, or teaching, you may be using them as a colored pencil for artwork and sketching. Outside of that, they aren’t a great writing pencil. A traditional graphite pencil will outwork them every day of the week. But they are cool. And they are old school. And they add a little bit of brightness and inspiration to any desk they reside on.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)