A cool new mechanical pencil

October 6, 2023 | 14 Comments

The other week I was in the City to do some sketching and realised I didn’t have a graphite pencil in my kit. So I headed to Kinokunyia and found a very cool simple mechanical pencil by Kokuyo – Enpitsu sharp mechanical pencil with a 1.3mm lead. (Some of you might have noticed me using it last week in my step-by-step article of the Carcoar cottage.)

I bought a white one (with a 2B lead) and a red one (with a red lead). And the next week I went back to get two more. 🙂

Note: The red pencil has been especially useful for me in recent weeks as I am doing some professional workshops for a local Interior Design firm and coloured lead is really handy for preliminary lines when I do technical perspective drawings.


I just love the simple design and the fact that its shape is modeled on a classic wood pencil. It makes it easy to change my grip as the barrel is smooth and there is no clip. I also like how light the pencil is.


The design is very simple – no eraser or no end cap, just a hole allowing you to push a spare lead into the barrel. The spare lead doesn’t seem to fall out.

Yes, it would be better if the barrel could hold more leads but one spare is enough for me. And this system is so cool – no fiddling with caps and erasers.


As for the graphite – it’s soft and very smudgy! A bit too smudgy for my liking but it’s a good challenge for me to develop ways of sketching to reduce smudges.

Although 0.9mm and 1.3mm are not standard thicknesses there are a few other options available that I might explore down the track.


Lastly, one issue that has been difficult for me over the years is finding a graphite pencil that is easy to spot in my pen holder that lives in the front pocket of my bag. For example, you can see in this photo that it’s hard to distinguish the Faber Castell 9000 pencil from the Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils.

These Kokuyo pencils are the best pencils I’ve ever tried in this regard! It’s a simple thing but every time I open the front pocket to get a graphite pencil I smile to myself because these pencils stand out.

So all up – a fun pencil that I’m enjoying using at the moment.


  • Doug Allen says:

    They look very similar in shape to my Le Caran D’Ache 2mm Clutch Pencil from back in in my draughting days. Rotring and Staedtler do similar models too, I still have red, blue and green 2mm leads from back in the 70’s.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Doug. Yes I have a few of those pencils from my architect days and in fact still use them. I’m finding these pencils are lighter and better for sketching.

  • maria bergman says:

    Hi Liz-Thanks for sharing your new find. Like many others, I’m always interested in the tools you use, knowing how you test run before recommending- Thank you for that! I do have a question about the pencil holder inside your bag pocket. Is that a “Walkit” bag repurposed? Looks like a great set up. Thanks.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Maria, It’s a custom made pen holder by Cecilia from Walkit (part of an early proto-type years ago) – not available for purchase

  • Rachael Ayres says:

    If you decide for some reason that these are not your favourite graphite pencils and you prefer to stick with your FC9000, I wonder if you could put it in the pocket with your fudes- then it would be a bit like knowing where the colours are in your palette. If it were me I would probably put my white gel marker in the same pocket!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Rachael – i have tried that but for some reason I find it hard to be consistent with the pockets I return pens/pencils to.

  • Brandon says:

    Hi Liz I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I’m just curious on your relationship with the brands you review. You mention Faber Castell a lot, and link to this new Kokuyo’s sales page directly. Just wondering if you are sponsored by either brand or not, thanks.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Brandon, I have never written any sponsored content/been paid to write posts/promote. From time to time I am sent free art materials to test – and when I do reviews they always reflect my opinion and I always state that these materials have been sent to me by the specific brand. Faber Castell do send me materials to test but I’m not paid to review them.
      Generally I still buy all my own art materials – such as these pencils (which as noted in this article I purchased from Kinokunyia). Hope that answers your question

  • Isabelle Walkowiak says:

    I use 2mm clutch pencils mostly from Staedler and I removed the clips. I don’t like them as they shaft against my hand after a while. The leads are so long that they seem to last for years.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Isabelle – I have removed clips as well from those pencils. These Kokuyo’s are so light and easy to use – so for me they are nicer to use that the 2mm pencils. But agree that 2mm leads are great!!!!

  • Jamie C says:

    I’ve never seen a pencil like that! It looks perfect! I wonder where I might find one hereabouts? Hmmm.

  • Two tips for you to make pencils recognizable at the first sight :
    – use nail polish (flashy colour) on the back of the pen
    – use a posca to draw a star or anything at the back, on the nail polish, to recognize it even more.

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