I am, and have always been, a stationery nerd. As far back as I can remember, picking out and using new tools for writing and drawing has always been an engaging and absorbing treat for me.

I have always had a preference for mechanical pencils over their wood cased counterparts (don’t tell the Blackwing crowd, or I won’t be allowed into the clubhouse any more). But I have also been a heavy-handed writer. I have learned to be better at this, but finer diameter sticks of graphite seem to break if I look at them cross-eyed.

There are many, many, ultra-fine pencils out there, and people tend to love them. But if I try to use anything narrower in diameter than 0.7 mm, it does not end well. So I play in the deeper end of the pool: 0.9, 1.1, 1.15 mm. There is less choice out there, especially with the softer graphite grades I prefer (2B is minimum for me).

So, when given a chance to play with the Kokuyo Frozen pencil from Notegeist in a 1.3mm diameter, I was quick to agree. It turns out that there ended up being many satisfying reasons: Orange in color (my favorite), 1.3mm lead (not likely to break, even for me), Japanese graphite (even the hard grades tend to be smooth writers).

I really enjoyed putting this hardy little writer through its paces. It was fun to write with, felt good in the hand, had a smooth, dark, and (I must say) luscious line. Don’t just take my word for it: take a look at the handwritten review below and decide for yourself.

For those of you who might not be able to decipher my printing, let me give you the high-altitude summary:

  • Inexpensive in price, but not in feeling: feels good and solid in the hand.
  • The 1.3 mm graphite is soft, dark, and wonderful. It is not going to break unless you are trying (good for novice mech pencil users). Thick graphite, bright color, and inexpensive price means this would be great in the shop.
  • Dark and smooth writing, with reasonable point retention, and not a lot of smudging. This helps those left-handed underwriters out there.
  • Downsides are (in my opinion) minimal: no eraser on the end, light weight can make it feel insubstantial, soft triangular grip may not please you, and there is no clip.

If you are even a little bit of a mechanical pencil person, you need to get one of these and try it for yourself. Even if you are a wood cased pencil person, this might give you a similar feeling of writing. At $3.75, it is less than the cost of a couple of Blackwings.


I received this Kokuyo Frozen Mechanical Pencil from Notegeist for this review. You can find these in their shop in three sizes (0.7, 0.9, and 1.3) and in 9 different, interesting colors.