The IKEA pencil will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever shopped at the Swedish retailer. Out of sheer curiosity, I wanted to see how this unassuming pencil would compare to my drawing pencils and whether or not it might have a place in my pencil tin.
First off, the graphite is hard and feels scratchy when drawing on sketchbook or notepaper. While perfect for ticking off items on a list, it's not so great for sketching. On glossy paper, any lines you make will be faint and barely discernible.
To get a more extensive range of light and dark tones, you need to use a substrate called Terraskin. This product is made of finely ground chalk that’s mixed with resin and pressed into sheets. The resulting surface is particularly receptive to hard graphite and other mediums including Silverpoint.
The pencils are not much more than stubs, so unless you have small hands, you’ll need to fit them to a standard pencil extender or the reverse end of a Bic disposable razor handle. The IKEA pencil with a Bic handle could be the perfect combo for any artist or student on a budget.
Overall, It's surprisingly good when paired with a sympathetic drawing surface like Terraskin. If you’re willing to work around the inherent shortcomings, the IKEA pencil can definitely be used for artistic purposes. And you can't complain about the price!