They say, ‘The pen is mightier than the sword,’ but who reigns supreme in the pen versus pencil debate? The age-old stationary debate has plagued academics and creatives for centuries, and you’ll struggle to find someone who likes both equally. So, which is better – pen or pencil? With so much conflicting advice, we’ve decided to settle the debate once and for all. In this post, we’ll run through each tool’s pros and cons and what they’re best used for.
Which is Better: a Pen or Pencil?
The pen and pencil have been pitted against each other for many years. However, we believe that each tool has its purposes, and there are certain activities where pens work better than pencils and vice versa. The most important thing to consider when investing in a pen or pencil is your personal preference and which one you find the most comfortable working with. To put it simply, both tools get the job done and just like everything in life, they both have their pros and cons. So, choose your writing tool wisely and enjoy it!
Pen vs Pencil
The pen is arguably the most sophisticated writing tool of them all; the writing experience the pen provides is unmatchable even in this digital age. You’ve got to admit there’s nothing quite like the feeling of putting pen to paper, and we don’t mean your average biro (although the biro has many great qualities). But, whipping out a classy fountain pen is certainly going to get a conversation going.
In our opinion, the best thing about pens is their diversity. They come in a variety of forms, from ballpoint to fountain or even felt tip. There’s plenty of choice for a variety of purposes. Not only are pens the ideal writing tool they can also be used to sketch and draw, just like pencils.
Many high-quality pens are made from precious wood or metals such as titanium and sterling silver. They also come in various styles and colours; luxury pens are a great way of reflecting your personal style. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming, so it’s important to do some research to find the right pen for you.
Advantages of pens:
- The writing is clear and bright.
- Ink is durable and adheres well to paper, so it’s unlikely to wear off.
- A pen is always ready to write and requires no sharpening.
- The tip of the pen is unformed, so unlike the pencil, it consistently creates even lines.
- There’s a much wider variety of pens: ballpoint, fountain, rollerball, gel, hybrid inks, erasable etc…
- The wide variety of inks available in pens is an added bonus. The different ink types significantly impact the overall writing experience.
- Unlike pencils, pens are permanent and functional for official documents.
Disadvantages of pens:
- You cannot erase any mistakes.
- If the ink hasn’t dried, you might smudge it with your hand.
- In hot weather, ink liquefies, which causes leaks.
Pencils are typically the first tool creatives reach for when sketching out a new drawing, technical sketches, or even clothing designs. The great thing about pencils is their adaptability; they can be used for writing and drawing purposes.
Traditionally, pencils are made from wood with a graphite core. They also come in a variety of forms, with different levels of softness and hardness. The variety of softness and hardness available makes them the perfect tool for shading and creating a sense of texture, depth and volume.
If you are new to drawing or journaling, we recommend using pencils, to begin with – they are a little more forgiving! You have the ability to erase any errors along the way. Thus, giving you the freedom to express your ideas freely, which is impossible with a pen. Using a permeant pen forces you to focus carefully on every line you draw. Focusing and being so precise every time your pen touches the paper can harm the creative process.
We now live in a digital world, where many prefer taking notes digitally versus writing them by hand. However, studies have shown the advantages of taking notes by hand. So, if you prefer the traditional notebook and pencil – we recommend using a pencil so you can jot down notes without worrying about any mistakes.
Advantages of pencils:
- You can find a pencil for every colour of the rainbow!
- Made an error? No problem – simply use your rubber to erase any mistakes.
- Pencils are great for artists. You can use a pencil to scribble, doodle or maybe create a masterpiece.
- You can buy pencils that vary in hardness – making them very versatile.
- It can be used from different angles to create different textures.
- Does not need time to dry.
Disadvantages of pencils:
- Needs to be sharpened regularly.
- The tip of the pencil gets thicker until sharpened, making it hard to create an even font size due to the pressure applied when writing.
- Depending on the design of the pencil, the graphite might be hard to read, depending on the writer’s handwriting style.
Mechanical Pencil vs Pen
Mechanical pencils can easily be mistaken for the traditional pen – they are similar in appearance. And you can find mechanical pencils in elegant colours and styles similar to luxury pens. Mechanical pencils are also designed to be ergonomic to provide a luxury writing experience, similar to the pen – that doesn’t tire out the hand.
When deciding between the mechanical pencil and a pen, they both have their strengths and weaknesses and their best uses. Although there’s a lot of debate around mechanical pencils vs pens, even more so than the ‘pen versus pencil’ debate, we believe they can work together in harmony – mechanical pencils don’t need to replace pens. They can be used in conjunction to achieve different effects. If you want the sophisticated appearance of the pen but still want the freedom of erasing any mistakes then, the mechanical pen is a great option!
So, whether you’re getting creative or technical, a mechanical pen is worth a second look. Adding a mechanical pen to your arsenal will be one of the best investments you can make.
Pens Vs Pencils: The Final Battle
Here are our top recommendations on the most appropriate uses for each writing tool, including mechanical pencils:
We now know that traditional pencils are widely used by creatives for drawing. Depending on how they’ve been sharpened, pencils can create fine point detailed work or harsher and border strokes and shading. On the other hand, drawing with a pen can save time, especially if you get bogged down by little mistakes and stop to erase every minor error. And drawing with a pen signifies confidence – a pen is bold and can produce striking results that you can’t achieve with a pencil. Unlike pencils, pens can offer precision and consistent linework for artists. This is why they are a popular medium amongst illustrators. You’ll find pens especially made for almost all types of linework, including sketching, cartooning, calligraphy, drafting and more.
- Technical Drawing
Whether you’re creating detailed technical drawings or plotting rough designs, anyone who draws exhaustively needs a pencil that is steady to use and creates smooth, solid lines. Mechanical pencils and wood pencils can be used for technical drawings. However, it’s a lot more work to create the same effect with a wooden pencil as it is with a mechanical pencil – it can be very time-consuming having to sharpen the pencil to ensure all lines are uniform. That’s not to say wooden pencils aren’t great for drawing too. In fact, you can create a very fine point with traditional pencils – this can’t be achieved with mechanical pencils. If you’d like to find the best quality mechanical pencils for drawing and writing, head to our recent blog post!
All writing tools work for general writing. The choice between them usually comes down to personal preference. Mechanical pens are made with balanced weights so the pen can rest comfortably in the hand, which is ideal for anyone who has to write for long hours. However, pens are the most popular writing tool, especially for journaling. The most popular pen for writing is the fountain pen – this luxurious pen is bound to make a statement. Not only is the fountain pen easy on the eye – it’s easy on the hand too. Fountain pens require less pressure which then eliminates the dreaded hand cramp and improves handwriting!
Pens are great for writing anything that needs to be permeant because the ink is more durable than graphite. Making it the perfect tool for signing receipts, legal forms, or writing letters – pencils should be avoided when signing important documents because they can smudge and be erased.
So, when it comes to pens vs pencils which one is better? Both pens and pencils have their benefits, and neither is necessarily superior to the other. The choice to use a pen or pencil is entirely down to personal preference! If you want something that shows confidence and is longer lasting, you’ll probably opt for a pen. If you want to use something that glides over the paper and doesn’t leak, you’ll maybe prefer using a pencil.
If you need any inspiration on the best pens or mechanical pencils, check out our extensive range; we’re sure you’ll find the perfect one for you!