Staedtler Mars Technico 2mm clutch pencils, by Artist Sophie Lawson

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2mm mechanical clutch pencils. Unlike regular mechanical pencils, with clutch pencils when you press down on the top, the lead will continue to fall out until you release. This means you can manipulate the length of the lead with ease, and being 2mm, they’re much thicker than regular 0.5mm mechanical pencils; more inline with the thickness of a traditional pencil.


Everyone is different, but I find these are best to use for quick sketching and time constrained sessions at Life Drawing class. For Realistic Drawing, I like to stick with my 0.5mm mechanical pencils most of the time, as I find they allow for more fine detail, but these will always be close at hand.


Leads are available in various weights, from 6H to 6B. You buy the refills in these cute little sliding cases, which holds 12 leads. The really cool thing is, as the lead holder only comes in blue, when you buy a pack of refills, Staedtler also supple a little cap in the end so you can work out which of your clutch pencils has which lead inside :) Very handy!

Staedtler Mars Technico 2mm clutch pencils Refills, by Artist Sophie Lawson


The sharpener is officially called a lead pointer tub, it comes in a nice little box and does what it says on the tin, or box :) It did confuse me a bit at first though, I was trying to put the lead into the little holes with the arrows pointing towards them, but you actually put it in the big middle hole, push down ever so gently, and then rotate the top. The thing works like magic. It takes a bit of getting used to, it did for me at least, I broke a few leads pushing too hard, rotating too hard etc. Once you get the hang of it though, it’s pretty cool. Once you’ve sharpened your lead, if you take the lid off and look inside there will be nice fine lead powder in the bottom. I’m collecting it in a glass jar as I feel you could reuse this in your drawings for blending with tissues etc.

Staedtler Mars Technico 2mm clutch pencil lead pointer sharpener, by Artist Sophie Lawson
Staedtler Mars Technico 2mm clutch pencils, by Artist Sophie Lawson


When I initially picked up the clutch pencil, the first thing that hit me was just how nice it was to hold. It’s of a really high quality, feel very solid with a nice weight to it. You feel like you could throw one of these off the roof and it’d still protect the lead inside :) It does take a while to bed in, whenever I put a new 0.5 lead in my mechanical pencils I always have to scribble for a minute or so just to get a nice point, these take a while longer and so at first they may not seem as awesome as they truly are.

I love these pencils for quick sketching, drawing exercises like People Sketching, Drawing Spheres and Life Drawing. However, for Gesture Drawing I prefer my 5.6mm Magic Clutch Pencil, that one just glides across the paper much nicer. I also don’t use the Staedtler Mars much when producing Realistic Drawing, instead opting to stay with my 0.5mm mechanical pencils. I just find them to be more apt at producing fine detail. The Staedtler Mars has become my go to pencil for sketching though, you hardly ever have to change the lead, it feels really nice in your hand and it produces nice free flowing lines. I love it!

“The refills come with little colour coded tips for the blue holder, so you’ll be able to tell which one has which lead inside :)

– Sophie’s Top Tip

“Hands are the Tool of the Painter, The Artist.”

Agnes Varda