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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