This is a really hard question. Personally, I still have too much to learn to say this (see this answer for a good example of why). It’s not that there were any particular “picks” that I would personally recommend, or that I was particularly impressed or enamored with one of the pencils I tried. If I had to pick one, though, I would say that I have gotten the most out of this collection over the years by experimenting and testing that pencil.
All of my picks have been pencils that allow me to try different shapes and different shapes of things: shapes that I know for sure, and then trying different styles of the same shapes, and finally experimenting with something else (like the old black pencil used in my experiments with my sister). Also, it is very important that I learn to think about how the way I write, how I draw, and how I color are different, and why.
However, if you are like me and find that you simply cannot get to a pencil that works for you, you might just want to try one of these out. There is nothing wrong with trying these different pencils out to see what works for you.
What can I say? I tried my hand at a lot of different things. I made up little sketches, tried out the new “black” pencils I had gotten, looked up other black pencils that I wanted to try, tried out different old pencils, experimented using “the old black” pencil with my sister and then with her mother, and tried different black pencils with my mother’s hand. It was all in the service of building a solid pencil collection that I really enjoyed using.
Now, some of these pencils are extremely expensive; it depends on if you have the money to buy a lot of them or not. In addition, some of these pencil are so expensive that they are hard to find. As I am writing this, the most expensive black pencil I would really look at, the “Vintage Black”, is priced at almost $15. However, it is a great, unique pencil, and as a student of old art history, I have great admiration for it. But I would only recommend one or two black pencils over a thousand dollars (at the same size and shape, of course). I am not a hoarder. And it would not be at all unusual to get a black pencil for $1 or less (or even zero).
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