The Discerning Pencils: My Few Favorites

Posted by – February 5, 2015

Pencils are probably the tool that I use most often. There are a lot of factors that go into what makes a pencil worth using or the best tool for the job. First of all, every pencil can be a sharp pencil. That’s not the question. Let’s try questions like: how does it feel in my hand? Where can I hold it to get the marks that I’m interested in? How does the weight affect my density in value? Can it work from many angles? Many others briskly work their way through my mind as I’m trying one out and refining the vocabulary of marks and strokes to define depth and shape.

Some examples of works created with just pencil:



As you’re reading through this exploration, feel free to use the comment section to post any questions that arise! All that said, let’s look at some of my favorite tools that I’ve curated over the years allowing me to draw as I do:

Papermate ProTouch II .5mm ( Discontinued… ) Rated 12 out of 10
By far my favorite pencil of all time! Originally purchase for $11.00 at Utrecht Art Supplies. I am not sure how and why, but this has become a Holy Grail of sorts based on the research that I’ve done with others who prefer it and how challenging it is to find. You may find a place that has one. It may be cheap. Alas, it is unavailable no matter what the website says. Luckily, because I liked them so much, it inspired my wife to get some. She had a couple sitting around from her education in architecture which, when I found them, were annexed with a hungry fervor.

The Barrel near the end is knurled (a ridged edge around forming a grip), it has a hearty weight to it overall but my favorite subtlety is the retractable eraser! You can fit a good inch or so in the retractable end. The only mechanical pencil that has an eraser that I use, otherwise its just kneaded rubber for me ;)

Pilot S20  .3mm, .5mm (MSRP $40.00, Amazon $21.00) Rated 9 out of 10
Natural Wooden Barrel, balanced weight, Japanese. Where it narrows, it is great for gripping in the front of the pencil or if you’re interested in a lighter stroke, the back. This is one of my more recent finds. I’ve been hunting for a replacement for the ProTouch II since I found out it was discontinued. Thus far, this is the best overall replacement I’ve found! Also available in a red wood finish. Great for light work and flexible for low tolerance situations. Trying to use as my main tool.

Prismacolor Verithin Poppy Red 744  (MSRP $1.15, Blick $.95 each) Rated 9 out of 10
The foundation of any great drawing is the underdrawing. Like a fancy painting (or like most paintings to be more precise) this color creates a nice warm layer to draw over. Often the base for many of my two-tone images: complete poppy red drawing with details made from graphite leads. Most of my Smarts (small + arts) were two color if you’re interested in an example. Modestly priced ( cheap ), great for mixing with other colors, also nice for a light underdrawing foundation for paintings with gouache or watercolor.

Other Standard Wooden Drawing Pencil, B3 (Various Prices depending on Brand) Rated 8 out of 10
Great option in a variety of hardnesses so you can tailor the pencil to the task. Tip can be as fine or dull as you’d like. Makes filling larger areas a pleasure. A classic.

rOtring 800 Retractable Mechanical Pencil, .5mm (MSRP $74.00, Amazon $40.28) Rated 7 out of 10
Non-slip metal knurled grip. Retractable barrel to protect the tip through simple twist action at the back of the pencil. Balanced weight for holding at any point along the barrel.

I want to like this pencil. I try to use it often. The rigid mechanical metal hexagonal pencil with heft keeps my leg from getting stabbed with the retractable tip! But it’s over engineered. My soft images are challenged philosophically by the cold tool. It will remain a staple but a challenging staple at that…


from Top: Pro Touch II, Pilot S20 Dark Brown, Verithin Poppy Red 744, A Standard “B” Drawing Pencil from Faber-Castell, rOtring 800 (yes the “O” is supposed to be that way ;)


Sputum Invisus : Opening January 16th, 2015

Posted by – January 1, 2015

JANUARY 16TH, 2015

Spatium Invisus is a two person exhibition with Katie Gamb and Me, Eric Hancock, that opens up January 16th, 2015 at HotPop Gallery in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. Uncovering lively spaces that have yet to be discovered created within pocketed hidden worlds around us. Full body of new works from both artists.

Join us at:
Hot*Pop Gallery
201 North Water St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Facebook Event Page Here


Re-envisioning the Blog; Moving Forward Onto 2015

Posted by – December 4, 2014

As I get my work more prepared for 2015, I see there are many great opportunities around the corner. My illustration peeps are evolving in amazing ways, I’m making some great new connections, and several shows already lined up for 2015! I think I may even take the time to use the blog as an alternative to Facebook and twitter: Quick Bits, Updates, News, How-To’s, etc.

I want to connect more with you, the reader. If you have questions, please post them in the Comments below and I’ll get back around. Or, reach out, let me know what you’re insight is, feedback on my work, suggestions, kind words, or whatever: e (at) (this isn’t a link btw; avoiding spambots!)



Here’s some previews of my January show, Spatium Invisus (Co-Exhibiting with Katie Gamb)


A brief update; in pictures.

Posted by – November 20, 2014

IMG_2710 IMG_2699 IMG_2735 IMG_2718 IMG_2686 IMG_2627 IMG_2606

Becoming the Law.

Posted by – August 12, 2014

Hello Folks!

Opening this Friday at Los Angeles’s own Hero Complex Gallery is the group show “I Am the Law / A Life of Crime” exploring the dichotomy  and grey spaces between those that create and enforce the law and those that skirt it. The show opens August 15th at 7:00 pm PST; online sales typically open the next day. For more information, visit their Event Page.

My contributions include “Outlaw” and “Wheelman”


Each one is an 11″ x 14″ OG Graphite on Bristol.
There will be an available printed Limited Edition (10 prints each) Giclée on 280 gsm Rives BFK.

More Detailed Images after the Break.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to check it out, Bottleneck Gallery hosted another Chogrin curated show in Brooklyn over the weekend called: 8 Bit and Beyond 2  which highlighted video games across the ages. My contribution was of a Katamari in nature playing one of childhood’s favorite games.

Now available for purchase through their online store, “So Many Card Pickup!” is a limited edition of 10 Giclée on 280 gsm Rives BFK. Yes, that’s right, Fancy Paper. It has a nice tooth and really highlights and complements the imagery!