Review – General’s Woodless Graphite Pencil Comparison with Cretacolor Monolith

So, last week I reviewed the Cretacolor Monolith all-graphite pencil. This week I was going to review the General’s Woodless pencil, but I realized how similar they are, so I will simply be talking about the differences in the two.

20140430-033722.jpg

The General’s pencil had (I have an older one) an inferior set of markings on the side that wore off quickly and easily. If the newer versions have a similar ink I’d say this is a downside as you can’t see what you’re using. The outer coating is a darker color, which has no real effect except aesthetics. And the back end is a bit more flat.

Is the quality the same? I can’t tell for sure, as they both seem the same, but if I must hazard a guess I’d say that the General’s pencil is a bit more fragile. But for all I know they could be made by the same company.

All in all I’d have to say that if you were going to pick between the two it might not even matter. Whether or not your local store (or where you shop most) carries them, and the color are the two biggest factors I can think of. Really it’s just a toss up. (But don’t actually do that: the pencils might break!)

Review – Cretacolor Monolith 9B All Graphite Pencil

There are always new things to be done with old inventions. They could just be a novelty, or improve the invention quite a bit. And when searching around for pencils, one may come across the all-graphite pencils that have been around. Today I’ll be looking at one type of these, the Cretacolor Monolith.

20140423-011236.jpg

Well, the body of that pencil is nothing to talk about, really. It is all graphite with a thin finish and white text giving standard supply information. There is also a bar code. Really, there is nothing to talk about as all of the pencil is the same material.

20140423-011242.jpg

It isn’t particularly fair to say that I’m just reviewing the pencil in this case, as the pencils will vary highly based on the grade of graphite used. I believe they all have the same hard graphite and finished outer shell. But my particular pencil here is a 9B which is very very soft indeed and means that this particular pencil has trouble keeping a point and wears down very quickly. On the other hand, it can be used to create a magnificent array of shading effects. I have had no problems with snapping, even with the points, but I wouldn’t expect to drop it and have a complete pencil come out of it. They do feel quite fragile. There is also the waste factor from sharpening the pencil, especially when it has been well used, will lose a lot of graphite (I’m not sure what this means when compared to all of the wood lost in standard pencils but I thought it worth mentioning) This can be avoided by sharpening the pencil by using it on its side as a shader. Using the pencil in this way also creates a marking area that is larger than almost any other art supply until one gets to brushes.

Overall a graphite pencil has its special uses, most notably with coverage, but is also fragile and not entirely unique. It’s like a charcoal stick that is much more well-behaved. So I would say it is worth a shot to try one and see if you like it. If you’re prone to using only the point of a very sharp pencil this might not be for you. But if you want flexibility in line width and color (especially with a softer pencil), then this might do some amazing things for you.