August 13th is National Lefty Day! To celebrate, we wanted to discuss our most frequently asked question (next to: "do you sell pens?") in the pencil store: What is a good pencil for someone who is left-handed? We asked a panel of left-handed pencil experts to share their top suggestions and tips!
CW Pencil People Izzy Natale and Max Hoerner, along with host of the Erasable Podcast, Andy Welfle, weigh in with their thoughts.
What are your favorite pencils for lefties?
Max: When a lefty comes into the shop I always recommend two pencils first: the Craft Design Technology HB pencil and the Viking Office pencil. Both pencils are an all-around incredible writing experience. The Craft Design Technology retains a point and makes a dark mark while being a rather soft HB. The Viking Office Pencil is a harder HB that retains a point better than most pencils. Neither pencil will smudge much.
Andy: My top two pencils, specifically for left-handism: Test scoring pencils, like the Musgrave TS100 or the General’s 580. They’re really good at not being smudgy while still holding a point. I’d actually put the Golden Bear in there, too, although that’s not how Palomino classifies them. And any of the Write Pads pencils, because Chris Rothe is left-handed and puts the (fantastic) lettering on the barrel so it’s right-side up when you hold it with your left-hand.
Izzy: My top picks for lefty-friendly pencils are the Apsara Stenographer's pencil, the Camel HB, and the Mitsubishi 9850 Office pencil. Right now I’m particularly into the Steno because it has great point retention, barely smudges at all, and the round barrel makes it easy to hold for long periods of time- not to mention it’s a great value.
If and when your pencil does smudge, what eraser do you use?
Izzy: In terms of erasers, I’m partial to the Seed Radar. I’ve found that unlike many plastic erasers, it doesn't tend to smear the pencil around the page before erasing it.
Max: My favorite eraser at the moment is the Milan 430. It's really fun to erase with and works really well.
Andy: I really love the Sanford Black Pearl. The shape is great and it’s juuuust gritty enough to erase light marks (like smudging) without needing to press too hard. I’m also rapidly becoming a huge fan of the Koh-i-noor Thermoplastic eraser. It has all sorts of edges for differently sized erasing jobs. One of the broad sides works great on smudges.
Do you have any tips or tricks to prevent smudging?
Andy: Naw man. You just gotta live with it. I do generally prefer notepads that are top bound, like a steno pad or a “reporters pad,” or regular-format notebooks that aren’t spiral bound, because it’s uncomfortable to rest my hand on the spiral (and my already terrible writing gets even worse when I try to hover my hand over the notebook). Maybe I’m just basic, but this is still my favorite top-bound notepad, available at Staples or Amazon.
Max: Whenever I write I try to do so from beneath, not from the side like a typical lefty. This helps me avoid smudging, but I haven't completely committed to the habit.
Izzy: Before I discovered good pencils, I would basically curl my entire left arm around my page so as not to get the dreaded graphite smear on the outside of my left hand (yet another experience that I’ve found to be common among left-handed people). However, after I learned a little bit about graphite and discovered pencils suited for my specific needs, I’ve stopped letting my fear of smudging come between me and my penciling! One final tip- Japanese HB pencils are generally great for lefties. They’ve got a little polymer mixed into the graphite, giving them a smooth texture while preventing smear.
Happy lefty day, all you lovely southpaws!