Every day, being the pencil enthusiasts that we are, the ladies at CW Pencils are asked for recommendations for pencils with some verrrry specific qualities. After all, we carry dozens of pencils - there's got to be nuances that set each apart, right? On this blog, we'll be nailing down many of the frequently asked ones, to offer a handy reference guide for your pencil purchasing.
So... Proofreading. A little about me first - prior to my foray into pencil ladyship, I worked in communications, including a lot of professional writing and editing. Red penciling might be one of my favorite tasks of all time (I'm a bit of a grammar junkie), especially when it involves an actual red pencil, and not just the digital one provided by Microsoft Word. So, of course, this post is a little self-serving.
Red and blue pencils are used in editing for a few reasons: 1) they stand out from black text, making it easy to see marks and notes; and 2) some shades of red and blue do not show up on some photograph, copier or scanning processes. Ever heard of "non-photo blue"? That refers to shades of blue that don't photograph, used in processes like animation. For example, an animator will use blue pencils to begin outlines, and then go over lines in black - the scanner will pick up the black lines, but not the blue (in theory, anyway. I am definitely not an expert on non-photo blue).
At least as a copy editor I look for a few qualities in my editing pencils, photo properties aside (we'll have to test our pencils for that quality in the future!). They have to write with soft but bright pigment so it stands out well and don't require a lot of pressure (making small editing marks makes it difficult to press hard), and they have to be somewhat erasable. Double ended red and blue pencils are nice, because you can use one color for editing and one for notes, or just switch back and forth, but it's not a necessity in my book.
I gave a quick field test to all the red and blue editing pencils we have in store (see the image above for the test - I used erasers on the scribbles), and have come to a few conclusions:
1. Musgrave Harvest and Hermitage red and blue combo pencils are remarkably similar in quality, while the Hermitage Thin Red pencil stands out as being softer and more erasable.
2. I prefer the bright color of the Mitsu-bishi 2351 and Caran d'Ache Bi Color, but the Bi Color is a clear front runner because it erases MUCH better.
3. Red erases better than blue, although despite trying three different erasers, none of the pencils erased perfectly. (P.S. the Technik is the best eraser for almost-perfect colored pencil erasing.)
The winner? Definitely the Caran d'Ache, but the Hermitage Thin Red was a super close second.
Any other editors out there have a second opinion for editing pencils? I'd love to hear your thoughts (and uses!) for red and blue pencils!