Saturday, October 17, 2015

Walmart Art Supply Review: Papermate Clearpoint

Some of the items I purchased to review were an intentional walk down memory lane- they were the same things I used 15 years ago when I first got started, and I wanted to see if anything had changed with them or with me over the years.   Papermate Clearpoint mechanical pencils were my sketching pencils of choice as a teenager, back before I knew you weren't supposed to draw with mechanical pencils (bad habits die hard- I've never really drawn with wooden pencils if given the choice).  They were the nicest mechanical pencils my Walmart carried back then, and are still some of the nicest, which is a little disconcerting to be honest.

As a teen, these mechanical pencils seemed both fancy and expensive and my tastes have only grown more expensive over the years.  The set I bought at the Luling Walmart included replacement erasers and a box of leads- not a bad deal for an artist looking to get their set started.  You also get two pencils- quite a deal.

Walmart isn't the only place you can get Papermate Clearpoints- if you order them through my affiliate link, you'll not only get your own Papermate Clearpoints, but your purchase will help support this blog.

Papermate Clearpoint Features


  • .7 Lead
  • Side Advancement
  • Twist up white vinyl eraser
  • Retractable tip


This package included



  • 2 Papermate Clearpoint mechanical pencils
  • 2 Replacement erasers
  • 12 pieces of lead



The Packaging






Cardboard with a plastic bubble.  Nothing is new in this old town.  The upside is- no impossible to open clamshell packaging.  The downside is- no reusable packaging either.  This package comes with two pencils, two replacement white vinyl erasers, and a box of .7 lead.


The Pencils Themselves



These mechanical pencils are really cute- they come in fun, bright colors, with a clear body.  The rubber grip isn't substantial, but the curved body does make drawing easier.





The set I bought has clear bodies with pink or purple accents- very cute.  The pencils did not come preloaded with lead, which is just as well- if anyone had dropped the package in the store, the lead would break inside the pencil.  The eraser is generously sized, and twists up, and you refill the pencil by pulling off the entire pink cap at the back.  The front features a rubberized grip that helps you hold the pencil but doesn't cushion your fingers from the pain of overuse, and a large lead advancement button.

You don't have to use the included lead with these pencils- you can use any you like, including non photo blue or red lead.  The non photo blue lead isn't available at Walmart, but many Walmarts WILL have the red lead.

The Field Test

This illustration was inked, and used for the Alex watercolor test, also part of the Walmart Art Supply Review series.

I've gotten used to using thinner, heavier mechanical pencils (like the Pentel Graphgear, which is made of metal), so the Clearpoint felt a little bulky.  The included lead is also much darker than I'd expected, without checking the package I'd say it's a 4B, and I expected an HB.  Although the package SAYS HB, be aware that the included lead is much darker and softer.

I also had to get used to a side advancing mechanical pencil- I've become very used to back advancing mechanical pencils, and I usually advance my pencil by jamming that back advancement button against my collarbone, rather than moving my hand.  I found the side advancement to get in the way of how I grip a pencil.

I don't generally use the erasers that come with mechanical pencils, but I've used the Clearpoint erasers in the past, and they perform as well as any white vinyl eraser.  They may smear a bit if the graphite is applied particularly thickly, but if you are persistent, they will erase cleanly.

The grip doesn't really provide protection for those of us who clench our pencils too tightly, but it will improve your grip without cutting into your finger (the way metal grips do to my hands), and keeps the pencil from slipping (seriously though, has anyone ever had a problem with this?)


The Verdict

Honestly, the only way you'll know if a pencil is a good fit for your hand is to use it for a long time, figure out it's nuances and it's flaws, and decide if the price is worth any hassle you might've incurred.  Most pencils will perform just about the same, so it's really up to your personal preferences.  I like pencils that feature a back lead advancement, as I've developed a bad habit of using my collarbone to hit that back button, so I don't have to move both hand from the paper.  These pencils feature a handy side advancement, which I remember really liking as a teenager, and a colored rubber grip which is really cute.