Eraser Art In Los Angeles
“A pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.” J. A. Meyer
The number two pencil is kind of the middle of the road when it comes to pencils. It is not too hard and not too soft. It is not too dark and not too light. In other countries who do not use numbers it might be called the HB pencil. Architects like higher number pencils because the points are harder. Sometimes artists use lower number pencils because they like the softer tone. American schools have always preferred the number two pencil. It is said that the SAT scanner will only pick up a number two pencil. It is definitely easier to erase than a number three.
I volunteer at an after school writing program in Los Angeles called 826 LA. It is the only time these days that I see pencils. I do all my writing on the computer.
These hand-held pencils have had staying power amid the rise of the typewriter, the ballpoint pen, the computer and all the modern hand-held messaging devices over its century-and-a-half existence. In fact, the U.S. is the single largest market for wood-encased pencils today, most of which now come from China.
Pencils are dependable. The first mark you make with a pencil will be the same as the last. A pen might leak or run out of ink. There are no batteries, crashing, psycho auto-correct or waiting involved.
There is a lot of erasing at 826 LA. A pencil’s eraser tends to dry out and get dirty long before its lead runs down. Europeans tend to buy erasers separately and are more sensitive to this issue. This year we got some new erasers that were not attached to the pencils to deal with the high volume of erasing. We found some other things to do with these brand new very pink erasers. This is our first showing of eraser art.
I’m not sure why they still spend so much time with pencils and erasers in school. I’m very close to telling a group of seven to ten-year olds that they will never use them again once they get out of school. Especially the ones that have trouble with the physical act of writing but have so many great ideas.