Wednesday, 6 November 2013


I was watching television the other day when the program was interrupted by seemingly unending commercials. One of the commercials did, however, peak my interest. It portrayed a yellow graphite pencil, much like the ones that we used to use in grammar school. The commercial extolled the benefits of what we're left to believe is the pencil, whereas at the end of the commercial the camera pans to the rear of the pencil and reveals a tablet computer. The message is that everything that we once did with a graphite pencil is now possible with the tablet computer. Whoa......just a minute now, are we to believe that all of the subtle nuances that can be achieved with a graphite pencil when it explores various weighted, or textured, drawing papers is achievable with a graphic art program on a tablet computer. I think not, and my advice to the tablet maker is to rethink what you're saying. Okay, so it's unlikely that the tablet maker would ever see, or for that matter address, my remark, but it's true, the computer is unlikely to ever replace the graphite pencil when it comes to drawing and sketching. It may come close, but, and I'll stand by this, it'll never replace the graphite pencil.

Anyone who has read my blog, and I suppose that there are a few of you out there , have come to know that I absolutely love to draw and sketch with a graphite pencil. It's my favourite sketching tool. Nothing else performs like a graphite pencil. It doesn't matter rain or shine, hot or cold, one can rely upon the performance of a graphite pencil to capture the moment then go on to provide detail back in the studio. As I related in my diary a few years ago there's nothing like a new pencil to fuel the creativity: -

SEPTEMBER 1, 2009: While walking home after having attended the Monday Afternoons With John writers session I found a pencil. I had just crossed Yonge Street with the lights and was walking up Eighth Street passed the Dairy Queen when, there it was, lying on the sidewalk. It was in perfect condition, black with a silver eraser holder. It was brand new. I knew that it was brand new because the lead was still sharp and the eraser was unused. I was beside myself. I realize that some would find this strange, but for me anything that can make marks be it a pencil, pen, brush, or crayon represents an opportunity for expression of one form or another. With a pencil I can write a poem, or an essay. It also enables me to make marks and to express the endless imagery that constantly runs through my mind. If I had found a used pencil I wouldn't have been as excited. You see a used pencil has been emptied of most of its possibility. A brand new pencil, however, is filled to brimming with possibility. It was a treasure to behold. I rushed home and with my brand new pencil began to write and sketch-

Attached are several pencil drawings of the Rocky Mountains, Lake Superior, Algonquin Provincial Park, Killarney Provincial Park, and Georgian Bay. Tell me that it's possible to do these drawings on a tablet  computer.

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