37/52: Pens and Pencils

It matters what you write with…


Each week for a year, I’m designing a shirt and releasing it on my Threadless store. This is the design for week 37.


Several years ago, I was looking for new podcasts to listen to. I was regularly listening to Upgrade with Jason Snell and Myke Hurley and Myke mentioned that he had another podcast, The Pen Addict. An entire podcast on pens? I was curious and so I downloaded an episode to check it out. It didn’t take long before I had a collection of different writing utensils, inks, bags and sketchbooks.

I’ve mentioned before how uncomfortable I am with my handwriting and writing in general, but with better tools, writing was far more enjoyable. I really like writing with a fountain pen. Choosing the ink and the right nib style. Cleaning and taking care of them. I love the feel of drawing with a good mechanical pencil. I adore sharpening a wooden pencil and getting a perfect point. 

Most people don’t think about what they write with. They use the pen in the office supply cabinet or whatever happens to be laying around the house. The last wooden pencil they used was a cheap #2 in elementary school. There is nothing wrong with that approach, but I believe the experience of writing changes when you use a good pen or pencil.

One of my earliest sketches for this shirt-a-week project was a short, fat pencil and I refined it into this shirt, Pens and Pencils. I’m going to the Atlanta Pen Show in April and figured I’d release the shirt now so I can order one and wear it to the show.

You can buy Pens and Pencils at my Threadless store.

Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. He's currently in the middle of a project to design a new shirt a week for an entire year. Follow Bob on TwitterInstagram and Micro.Blog.