Sharpie Liquid Pencil

3 03 2012

WHAT A MESS

I’ve been procrastinating on doing this review. I’ve had this writing sample since back when I reviewed the purple Pentel EnerGels. My feelings are just so mixed on the Sharpie Liquid Pencil! I wanted it to be good, I really did. I had a liquid graphite mechanical pencil when I was in middle school (can’t remember if it was actually any good or not), and was hoping this would be even better.

Once I heard these hit stores, I checked Staples every chance I could until they FINALLY got them in.

I can’t complain in terms of design (but then, I didn’t have the rattling problem others have had; maybe I don’t write exuberantly enough). Fits in nicely in the typical American mechanical pencil world without trying too hard, and without blending blandly into the background. And they rolled out more body colors (not all pictured here):

Spoiler alert: changing the color of the body did nothing to improve the performance of the pen. Even turquoise can't help you, Sharpie

Unfortunately, I feel like new body colors is something you should save for when you already have a solid product. Like the Jetstream. Uni-ball can roll out every color and style of body from one end of the visual light spectrum all the way into the ultraviolet; I will still be excited to buy yet another iteration of the Jetstream. But the Sharpie Liquid Pencil? If I weren’t so gullibly pen-crazy and they hadn’t been on sale, I would never have bought these:

Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-derp

Based on the performance of this guy:

The eraser seems to go mighty quick; no wonder the packaging includes so many bonus erasers

The writing sample just about speaks for itself. Though the feeling of writing with the Sharpie Liquid Pencil is deceptively smooth, there’s a lot of blobbing, streaking, skipping, and just generally unpredictable ink/graphite flow. A writing utensil with bad ink flow is like a notebook with bad paper—you’ve fudged on LITERALLY the most important part of the product! A Sharpie representative responding to the same complaint from the Office Supply Geek noted that “the flow of the liquid graphite may occasionally skip just as a ballpoint pen sometimes skips”….yes, maybe in normal people world. But in crazy pen people world, we take those ballpoint pens, quietly put them in a drawer, never speak of or write with them again, and go back to Jetstreams, Zebra Suraris, Pentel Vicunas, Write Dudes ballpoints even, but we don’t just put up with an inferiorly performing product, because we KNOW it doesn’t have to be that way.

These get messy in a hurry

But we’re haggling on that point. No, my big problem is one directly at odds with the very nature of this instrument. It’s TOO erasable. By which I mean, my HAND moving back and forth across the page will erase the things I’ve written. So, this would be a great gift to give a left-handed person you secretly hate. What is the solution to this dilemma, Sharpie? You want me to suddenly learn to be an underwriter? Transform into a right-handed person? I know conventional pencils also smudge, but not to the point of leaving almost nothing left on the page, which I have just accomplished at my desk here on the back of an envelope.

Liquid disappointment

As for the permanence of the ink/graphite, I found I couldn’t fully erase any of the lines after twenty-four hours or so. I could make them a wee bit lighter, but as far as permanence goes, yes, this is much more permanent than a conventional pencil.

Now, you might think I hate the Sharpie Liquid Pencil. I am strongly disappointed in many respects, yes, and yet I can’t bring myself to consign these pens/cils to the graveyard drawer of unused pens. They are fun to write with, when they’re behaving, and when I’m not writing too much/ too fast, and when I make absolutely sure to find some way to keep my hand from rubbing on the page. I also appreciate the effort to try something new, something different, and get it in the hands of ordinary people (I have indeed seen ordinary people using these). There are areas to improve, but they are worth improving. Whether they will be improved or not is up to Sharpie; they’ve got a good idea, they just still have a little way to go before that good idea becomes a great product.

Sharpie Liquid Pencil at Sharpie’s Website

[can also be found just about anywhere pens are sold that isn't a gas station convenience store or the back of a truck]

Can’t have a Sharpie Liquid Pencil Review without linking to these:

Sharpie Liquid Pencil Review by Office Supply Geek

Review: Sharpie Liquid Pencil by the Pen Addict

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5 responses

4 03 2012
Jude

I totally concur with your review. I used my Sharpie Liquid Pencil for some sketch work and it left many extra blotch marks on my drawings. I’m a fan of Sharpie and I have to say, they really disappointed me this time.

4 03 2012
Evan Martin

I just wanted to point out, after testing on many surfaces and paper types, i found that the erase-ability is largely dependent on the writing surface. For instance, on standard loose leaf paper it erases fine, on note cards its awful, but on my Rite in the Rain all-weather memo book it erases amazingly.

5 03 2012
Monday Morning Review Round-up « European Paper Company

[...] No Pen Intended: Sharpie Liquid Pencil [...]

9 03 2012
Penthusiasm! - Tiger Pens Blog

[...] Pen Intended tries to like the Sharpie Liquid Pencil, but just [...]

26 07 2012
Monday Morning Review Round-up | The European Paper Company

[...] No Pen Intended: Sharpie Liquid Pencil [...]

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