The word “basic” is often used to describe something contrived or uninspiring. But basic also refers to fundamental and timeless staples, like an antique watch or a classic black dress. In stationery, one of the leading brands of basic products for everyday professional and school use is Tombow Mono. It takes inspiration from the Greek word “monos,” which means “the only one” and “unequaled,” and as such, is well-loved for its reliable products. Below, we have compiled a comprehensive guide that breaks down this popular brand’s beloved products.
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Tombow Mono pencils, whether starter items for children or indispensable tools for professional artists, contain high-quality break-resistant graphite lead that is encased in thoughtfully and beautifully designed barrels.
Tombow Mono’s wooden pencils are excellent for drafting and sketching. They are available in “adult” versions—the Tombow Mono 100 wooden pencils—as well as “kiddie” versions—the Tombow New Ippo Kids-Friendly Mono-R sets.
Tombow Mono 100 Wooden Pencils
Outside, all Mono 100 pencils have a beautiful glossy black paint exterior with shiny bronze embellishments. Inside, each pencil contains a high-density lead core of very fine particles. This product is called Mono 100 because each lead core has 10 billion fine particles per cubic millimeter—or, one hundred 100 million particles. While break-resistant, they’re incredibly smooth to write with and easy to erase.
The Mono 100 pencils have 17 lead grades and can be paired with Tombow Mono’s many erasers.
These whimsical wooden pencils fall under Tombow’s Mono-R product line. The “R” stands for “regular,” as in regular and essential everyday items. The pencils are available in different sets of colors—green, light green, and light blue; navy, light green, and blue; and pink, light pink, and light blue. Precocious Picassos and Shakespeares will appreciate the pencils’ B and 2B lead grades that are soft to write with and easy to control. Like the Mono 100 pencils, these pencils don’t have an eraser, but pair well with the equally vibrant Mono One holder erasers.
Mechanical pencils are loved for their thin, precise lead and long-lasting bodies that don’t require sharpening. Tombow Mono offers well-designed and built-to-last mechanical pencils that are a pleasure to use in the classroom and workspace.
The Tombow Mono Graph Shaker Mechanical Pencil marries form and function, deservedly winning the 2014 Good Design Award and 2016 Red Dot Design Award. It provides multiple options for retrieving lead. For a traditional approach, use the side clicker on top to retrieve lead. For a more “fun” alternative, simply shake the pencil and watch the lead magically extend. To prevent lead waste, the shaker mechanism can be geared off with a switch on its side. The popular Tombow Mono eraser is installed at the top of the pencil and can be twisted out for use.
This product comes in two lead sizes—0.3 mm and 0.5 mm. It is available in 15 colors—including standard, metal, and neon options. Eraser refills are available. For a demonstration of the shaking mechanism, watch the video here.
The Tombow Mono Graph One has a long 50 mm eraser and a comfortable grip made of smooth plastic. Its chubby barrel is a natural fit for those with bigger hands. Retrieving lead is very easy—simply click at the bottom side knock without having to lift a finger from your paper.
This pencil comes in six colors: standard, white, black, pink, green, and blue. The black pencil sports a black eraser that shares the same technology as the Tombow Mono Dust Catch eraser, which prevents eraser dust piles. Eraser refills are available.