Brad is somebody who probably doesn't need an introduction, but if you don't know who he is it's probably because you don't use a lot of pens. He's the man behind the Pen Addict podcast (along with the lovely Myke Hurley) and likely the most famous pen guy on the internet. Fountain pens may be a generally expensive habit but what makes Brad so good at what he does is that he's no pen snob--he loves a great Pilot roller ball as much as a bank-breaking special edition. His podcast and blog are accessible, informative and just really fun. And guess what? He also likes pencils!
What is your first pencil memory?
Am I disqualified if it is a mechanical pencil? My grandfather had a huge amount of office and art supplies at his house, and I remember being attracted to the various red, white, and blue barrel pencils he had. There were even some double-sided mechanical pencils, which blew my young mind. As I became familiar with the Autopoint brand when I was older I am pretty sure that’s what these were.
As I got into middle and high school, I regularly swiped the Pentel P205 from my dad’s work, or bought the Pentel Quicker-Clicker because of the cool colors.
Do you have a favorite pencil/pen pairing?
I’m all about the Palomino Blackwing 602. This was the pencil that opened my eyes to a whole new world of graphite. Who knew the pencil writing experience could be this nice! I often pair it with the Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3 mm black gel ink pen (in the Pen Type B barrel) for an excellent carry combo.
What do you look for in pencil?
Firm, yet dark cores. I tend to sit on the H side of the scale, and regularly use 2H to 4H if I can find them dark enough. I need that point retention to keep my small-sized handwriting under control.
Do you have any special pencils that you're saving for a rainy day or ones that you acquired in an unusual situation?
I just recently sharpened an original Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 from the 50’s or 60’s that I had been holding onto unsharpened for the last two or three years. Curiosity got the best of me, and you know what? The modern 602 is better.
Do you think that there are any similarities between a pen and a pencil (besides the obvious)?
Physically I don’t think so, but writing with analog tools in general puts you in a similar mental state. Being able to focus or dream away from a screen is why we all enjoy these tools so much.
If you could make your perfect writing instrument what would it be?
This is the quest I have been on my entire life! And sorry to disappoint, but it would be a pen. :) I think it would be a gel ink pen with an extra fine point and a retractable barrel for a cost under $10. I look at this perfect pen not just for me, but as a pen I could give to anyone and they would understand what a good writing instrument is like.
What's the thing you love most about podcasting?
Being able to talk to another human being about stationery! It’s some of the most fun I have every week, and gives me an outlet other than the blog to talk about the goings on in the stationery world. Myke and I have so much fun recording every week I hope it never ends. I need that outlet to joke and complain!
As a pen guy, how do you feel about erasing?
I’m pro eraser, although I rarely do it myself. Even with pencil I tend to scratch out rather than erase. Old pen habits die hard.
What's the best thing that a pencil can do that a pen can’t?
It smells amazing! There is nothing in the pen world than can compete with a freshly sharpened cedar pencil.
For your listening pleasure: Brad as the surprise guest on the April Fools episode of the Erasable Podcast, and an interview with yours truly on the Pen Addict.
PS. Brad is also the co-founder of Nock Co., where he makes perfect, colorful, utilitarian pen cases.
P.P.S. Brad helped us curate this lovely sampler pack so you can enjoy his favorites too!
You can find Brad here: