Added 2 new A* pages:In which I continue the fascinating tale of my journey for the ideal pencil! Yesterday I got to talking about Japanese pencils, and how I found, at a local store, the US market version of one, the Tombow Mono, and it was pretty sweet. I also mentioned the Mono's rival in Japan, the Mistubishi Hi-Uni. (Note that the Mitsubishi Pencil Company is not related to Mitsubishi Group, the automobile manufacturer.) Well, shipping from importer JetPens.com is fast enough that I got my hands on a Hi-Uni—well, a dozen, since that's the smallest amount in which they sell them :P—a few days ago, and ran it in a HEAD TO HEAD BATTLE against the US Mono, a pencil almost 1/3rd the Uni's price.|
I liked the Mono better. The Hi-Uni, pictured below
(sharpened with my new imported Uni sharpener, which was a bit expensive ;_; but hey, I suck with a pocket knife, wood shavings, and besides, chances are good a standard sharpener won't fit these slightly wider than normal pencils) was significantly scratchier than the Mono, and lighter, almost as if the "H"-grade Hi-Uni is more like a "2H"-grade Mono or something: harder and not as dark. They both seem about equally smeary, though, which would definitely give the Mono the edge. In any case, the Mono H felt more like the H-grade 0.5 mm Pentel leads I've been using in my mechanical pencils—ie, more like what I'm used to. It was smoother than the Hi-Uni, and, well, I just couldn't find any up-side to the Hi-Uni; not that it's a bad pencil, it just isn't quite as good as the Mono, at least according to my peculiar tastes.
So the Mono it was; the handsome box of a dozen imported Hi-Unis was relegated to my bankruptcy-inducing art supply cupboard of shame. However, one nagging thought remained: what if the Japanese Mono 100 *is* better than the plain Mono (or "Mono Professional," strictly speaking) they put out State-side, as some would-be hard-core pencil importers maintain? Why, I'd be using a sub-standard instrument!
Perhaps you can guess what will happen in the next installment of the pencil saga...which won't be along until a certain package arrives, probably first thing next week.
Danger with these Monos is overloading on graphite. Kinda did that on page 40 here. Gotta be clearer with decisions when it comes to shading so I don't end up muddling around. Well I suppose that'll come with practice.
EDIT: Over a year later, I've actually switched over from a Mono to a Hi-Uni after some consideration and re-testing!