Pencils in Community – Sam Drake

This is the next in a series of posts called “Pencils in Community”, where I share the stories of other people in the pencil world alongside me. Today’s guest is Sam Drake, who I met through the Erasable Podcast Facebook group.


My name is Sam Drake, I’m an Engineering student and recovering techoholic.

What pencil made you fall in love with pencils?

I think the first pencil that made me fall in love with pencils is likely the Field Notes pencil that they toss in to packages for free a lot of the time. It’s just a great pencil all around and even if you pay for them, they’re still a tough value to beat.

What is your current favorite pencil?

I’m a student, and I take a lot of notes and use a lot of highlighting. Because of that use-case, despite it’s other drawbacks the Staedtler WOPEX is my go-to pencil. It’s got high point durability and it won’t smear no matter how hard you try, which my other pencils will do when you try to highlight over them. It’s still hard to erase and hard to sharpen, and the fact that it’s plastic keeps it from filling the pencil sized hole in my heart. However, it’s the right tool for the job, so it’s never far away.

What is your go-to pencil?

I think my current favorite pencil is hard to nail down, but I think it’s the HB Tombow Mono 100. It’s just a little soft compared to most HBs, but for a premium pencil you can’t go wrong. I do a fair amount of writing and drawing and this pencil splits both jobs easily.

What do you say to people who don’t know about this whole world of pencils that are curious about it?

It’s good to find a buddy that’s willing to give you, like, one of everything if you’re trying to get in to pencils. If you don’t have someone willing to build you a sampler pack, ask around for the best value pencils and start from there. A dozen Palomino Golden Bears are great pencils and they cost like $3. The only other thing you need is a good sharpener, which can cost anywhere from $5 to $50. Again, the community is your friend here. I’ve had good luck with the Carl CP-80 and the Kum Automatic Long Point.

Strangest reaction you’ve had to you being a “pencil person”

I’ve had a lot of people in class take pity on me and offer me a mechanical pencil. Other than that, I’m already the analog weirdo in my friend group so at this point, pencils were just the icing on the cake.


If you would like to have your story of how you discovered the pencil world featured here, send me an email at

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