As promised, I wanted to provide some reviews of the tools I use when drawing, writing, etc. One of my go-to items over the last several months has been my Rotring 500 (0.7mm) drafting pencil. This purchase was my first drafting pencil, and I was more than a little apprehensive. I was always a wooden pencil/charcoal artist,
and I definitely looked down my nose at people who used mechanical pencils. The cheap, plastic bodies. The constantly breaking lead. The flimsy erasers.
I am pleased to say that I have now converted. The first thing that hits you when you first see this pen is the stark, industrial-like design. The hexagonal body, with its matte black finish and knurled grip, is beautiful in its simplicity. I know that one of the things that encourages me to use a pen or pencil is how it looks. Something about writing with an instrument that is visually appealing is, well, appealing.
Once you pick up this pencil to actually draw or write, you notice that the plastic body feels unlike any other plastic pencil/pen you have ever held. I am still unconvinced that this is actually plastic. It really feels like lightweight metal. The balance of the pencil is perfect. With a plastic pencil, you would be expecting that the button/eraser mechanism might cause a little bit of top-heaviness, but this is not the case with the 500. The leads included have proven very resilient, and I don't recall ever having one break yet.
I use this pencil for all of my sketching and first drafts. It handles smoothly on the page, and does not dig in or catch. The eraser is a little weak but, hey, you cant have everything. That's why you buy the Boxy, which is the only eraser I will ever use.
Rotring offers the 500 in 0.5mm and 0.35mm. I have not used either in this size. In hindsight, I think the 0.5mm would probably be a better fit for my drawing style, as I prefer a slightly finer line, but the 0.7mm has been wonderful so, no regrets. Rotring also has the "Big Brother" to the 500, the 600 and the 800. I have not used either of these but, as far as I can tell, the only difference from the 500 is a metal body (both the 600 and the 800) and a retractable lead sleeve (the 800) which is, admittedly, pretty friggin cool. However, I don't know if either of these features warrants the step up in price from the 500.