Thursday, March 30, 2023

National Pencil Day

Today is National Pencil Day. First thought: That's stupid. How important can a pencil be?

Second thought: I can actually think of a couple of pencils that are important to me.

The blue pencil is the one I use several hours each day to draw comics with. It's a mechanical pencil with "non-photo blue" lead. A quick note on making comics: traditionally, the art is drawn in pencil first, then gone over with black ink. When I scan my art for publication, the light blue lines get very faint and are easy to delete, so I don't need to erase them (in the old days, light blue was invisible in photocopies and photostats). This simple plastic pencil is probably my most essential tool.

The wooden pencil was made from a redwood tree that was in our yard before our 2017 fire. We know people who saved big sections of their downed trees to create beautiful tables and such, and we would have liked to do that, but at the time the logistics of cutting, moving, storing, slicing, drying, and crafting enormous pieces of wood were more than we could handle. We just needed the dead trees gone. 

However, Karen saved some chunks of our trees, and a woodworking coworker of hers turned them into a beautiful little bowl and this pencil for me. Honestly, I don't use it a lot because its graphite lead is thick, but every time I do it reminds me of a tree I loved and the kindness and skill of someone who knew how to make it into a pencil.

Happy National Pencil Day!

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