I haven't ever stumbled across a review for Rhodia pencils, which I thought was unusual, considering how beloved the brand is. So, here is my humble contribution to the world of passionate pencil reviews:
I'm going to admit, right off the bat, that the reason I wanted to try one of these pencils so badly is because of the black wood color. I think that pencils with colored wood are just so cool-looking. I'm usually pretty utilitarian when it comes to writing instruments...but come on, colored wood! The question we must ask is, does this pencil match up to its better known half -- the Rhodia notepad?
The paint covering the barrel of the pencil is the same bright orange color as the cover to the Rhodia pads. It will most definitely jump out at you from a cluttered desk, which is a VERY good thing for me ;) This is by no means a "quiet" pencil; ebony-colored wood and eraser coupled with a bright orange body practically screams to be picked up and used. Which isn't a bad thing.
Sharpening seems to be a little tricky. When I used my sharpener (which is a pretty damn good sharpener), the pencil sharpened very jaggedly. This didn't bother me, since, jagged = sharp points with which to write. But if you're a pencil perfectionist, well...maybe your sharpener will be more cooperative than mine? Still, I think it did a good job:
The only type of embellishment or decoration on the otherwise plain orange body is the Rhodia logo, stamped in black on all three sides of the pencil, near the eraser. Yes, that's right: All three sides--
Head shot -- a front view of the triangular build.
This is a triangular-shaped pencil, not round or 6-sided (hexigon). This makes it far easier to keep from rolling off the desk; I'm sure many of you have experienced how frustrating it can get when even your hexagon-barreled pencils start to roll off of a desk. I know I have. So, a triangle-shaped body is great. PLUS, a 3-sided pencil is obviously urging you to try and hold it correctly (I don't, but I'm a lost cause), which is nice.
How to hold a pencil correctly. Step one...
Why don't we let the scan speak for itself?
Scanned (a bit lighter IRL; it scanned dark):
The smudge resistance is above average, but definitely not the best I've seen. The lead is a nice average medium-dark that erases well.
And, they're pretty damn good for sketching:
Drew this guy in about 20 minutes while waiting for my grandma to prepare lunch. Rhodia pencil on a Rhodia gridded pad. I've never drawn/attempted to draw a fox before, and wanted to practice. I think it came out quite well.
PURCHASING RHODIA PENCILS
I'm not sure about B&M (brick & mortar) stores, to be perfectly honest, but Rhodia pencils can be found online at the following retailers:
www.thedailyplanner.com -- 3 for $5.95
www.vickerey.com -- 8 for $12.80
www.pencilthings.com -- 1 for $1.60
www.lisart.com -- 1 for $2.00
www.shopwritersbloc.com-- 3 for $4.50
www.swisherpens.com -- 1 for $1.60
No doubt, these pencils are quite pricey, at no less than $1.50 each. So the big question is, are they worth the cost?
Good question. I like these pencils very much; sadly, I haven't tried enough pencils to be able to do any sort of in-depth comparison. I'd recommend it to people who like to try different types of pencils, because I do think it's a well-made pencil. However, I can't say that I'm crazy to replace it once it's finished. Like I said, it's a good pencil...but, to me, just not good enough* considering the price. Would I purchase it if it were around $1? Probably. But $1.50? No, thanks.
*You have to also remember that I normally favor pens over pencils (though occasionally I do get the urge to write with a good pencil) -- especially fountain pens -- so please take this review, like all reviews, with a grain of salt.
5 new Diamine inks for Spring '09: