Tombow Mono: A Comprehensive Guide

Tombow Mono: A Comprehensive Guide

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.

Table of Contents

  • Pencils
  • Pencil Leads
  • Erasers
  • Other Accessories
  • Background Story
  • Conclusion

Pencils

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.

Wooden Pencils

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

Tombow Mono 100 Wooden Pencils
Tombow Mono 100 Wooden Pencils

Tombow Mono 100 Pencil Sketch
Tombow Mono 100 Pencil Sketch

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. (Side note: Japanese counting for higher numbers is based on four zeroes rather than three zeroes.) 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.

Tombow New Ippo Kids-Friendly Mono-R Pencil Set

Tombow New Ippo Kids-Friendly Mono-R Pencil Set
Tombow New Ippo Kids-Friendly Mono-R Pencil Set

Tombow New Ippo Kids-Friendly Mono-R Pencil Sketch
Tombow New Ippo Kids-Friendly Mono-R Pencil Sketch

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

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.

Tombow Mono Graph Shaker Mechnical Pencil

Tombow Mono Graph Shaker Mechnical Pencil
Tombow Mono Graph Shaker Mechnical Pencil

Tombow Mono Graph Shaker Mechnical Pencil Features
Tombow Mono Graph Shaker Mechnical Pencil Features

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.

Tombow Mono Graph One Mechanical Pencil

Tombow Mono Graph One
Tombow Mono Graph One Mechanical Pencil

Tombow Mono Graph One Features
Tombow Mono Graph One Mechanical Pencil Features

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.

Model Type Tip Sizes Shades Barrel Colors
Tombow Mono 100 Wooden 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H, 7H, 8H, and 9H Black
Tombow New Ippo Kids-Friendly – Mono – R Wooden B, 2B Green + Light Green + Blue (B or 2B), Navy + Blue + Light Green (B or 2B), Pink + Light Pink + Blue (B)
Tombow Mono Graph Shaker Mechanical 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm See lead shades below Standard, Gold, White, Blue, Red, Black, Neon Blue, Neon Green, Gun Metal, Neon Orange, Neon Pink, Neon Yellow, Silver, Lime, Pink
Tombow Mono Graph One Mechanical 0.5 mm See lead shades below Standard, White, Black, Pink, Green, and Blue

Pencil Leads

Tombow Mono offers a wide selection of leads in different sizes and grades. Its sleek lead cases aesthetically match Mono’s mechanical pencil barrels and have an innovative “double guide” cap. To open the cases, slide the cap to the right to get one piece of lead and to the left to get multiple pieces of lead.

Tombow Mono Graph Lead

Tombow Mono Graph Lead
Tombow Mono Graph Lead

Tombow Mono Graph Lead Features
Tombow Mono Graph Lead Features

The Tombow Mono Graph Lead product line flaunts lead with a high-performance core that combines sturdiness with darkness. It offers smooth writing, crisp lines, and great break resistance. The leads come in shiny and colorful cases, including Tombow Mono’s standard blue, white, and black case, which contains 20 pieces of lead. They also come in monochromatic color cases, which contain 40 pieces of lead. The leads are available in multiple sizes (0.3 mm and 0.5 mm) and hardness grades (HB, B, 2B).

Tombow Mono WX Pencil Lead

Tombow Mono WX Pencil Lead
Tombow Mono WX Pencil Lead

Tombow Mono WX Pencil Lead Features
Tombow Mono WX Pencil Lead Features

These leads have charming off-white cases and pastel retro highlights. Each lead case contains 40 pieces of high-quality lead that have excellent core strength and smooth performance. Mono-WX is uniquely available in three distinct iterations of HB lead—HBB, HB, and HHB. For those particular about their shading, the HBB is a hair darker than the HB, and the HHB is a hair lighter than HB. Other hardness grades include 2H, H, B, 2B, and 3B. HHB, HBB, 2B, and 3B are only available in 0.5 mm.

Model Sizes Shades Case Colors
Tombow Mono Graph Lead 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm HB, B Standard cases with bands – Orange, Blue, Red); Light Blue, Blue, Green, Orange, Pink
Tombow Mono WX Pencil Lead 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm 2H, H, HHB, HB, HBB, B, 2B, 3B White cases with bands – Green, Light Green, Light Blue, Blue, Purple, Red, Orange, Yellow

Erasers

We tested all of Tombow Mono’s erasers and divided them into sections based on usage. Read on to learn more about Tombow’s range of different erasers.

The Basic Eraser

Tombow Mono’s standard eraser is higher quality than the stereotypical rough pink school eraser. It will serve you well whether you’re drawing, writing, or working.

Tombow Mono Eraser

Tombow Mono Eraser
Tombow Mono Eraser

Tombow Mono Eraser Test
Tombow Mono Eraser Test

The basic Tombow Mono Eraser is one of the most popular erasers in Japan. In fact, designers awarded it the 2011 Long Life Design Award for its quality and versatility. Available in five different sizes, this unassuming white eraser sports a velvety smooth surface and removes marks efficiently without creating a lot of dust.

Light Touch Erasers

Erasing too hard on thin paper can lead to unwanted wear and tear. No one wants paper damage from over-erasing, especially when working on a final school project or finished drawing. That’s why Tombow Mono has a wide selection of light touch erasers.

Tombow Mono Light Eraser

Tombow Mono Light Eraser
Tombow Mono Light Eraser

Tombow Mono Light Touch Eraser Test
Tombow Mono Light Touch Eraser Test

The Tombow Mono Light Eraser has a soft rubbery feel and its design reduces the pressure needed to remove mistakes. Of Mono’s various light touch erasers, this product performed averagely, erasing well but still requiring some noticeable pressure to use.

Tombow Mono More Light Touch Eraser

Tombow Mono More Light Touch Eraser
Tombow Mono More Light Touch Eraser

Tombow Mono More Light Touch Eraser Test
Tombow Mono More Light Touch Eraser Test

This blueish eraser is the super version of the Mono Light Eraser. It removes mistakes instantly with minimal pressure, making it a perfect tool for those who can’t tolerate paper damage. This eraser also works wonders for removing colored pencil marks as long as your shading is done with a light hand. Of Tombow Mono’s “light touch” erasers, it works best, though it does create lots of dust and has a powdery texture that some may dislike.

Tombow Mono Air Touch Eraser

Tombow Mono Air Touch Eraser
Tombow Mono Air Touch Eraser

Tombow Mono Air Touch Eraser Test
Tombow Mono Air Touch Eraser Test

Originating from the Mono One Holder eraser line, this twistable eraser is lightweight and compact. It’s perfect for students who store metric tons of books and homework in their bags. Of the products that Tombow advertises as “light touch,” this eraser takes the most effort to erase with but is a solid option for those who prefer a smaller eraser.

Stick Style Erasers

Decluttering is in—just ask Marie Kondo. One way to reduce clutter is to use smaller products to conserve space. To erase numbers, words, or other small details, consider these slim and miniature products to save desk and bag space.

Tombow Mono One Holder Eraser

Tombow Mono One Holder Eraser
Tombow Mono One Holder Eraser

Tombow Mono One Holder Eraser Test
Tombow Mono One Holder Eraser Test

According to Tombow, 80% of marks erased at work or school are three characters or less. Thus, Tombow Mono designed the One Holder Eraser so that people could efficiently erase their mistakes. Easily mistaken for lip balm, this petite eraser is a great alternative to the typical chunky eraser. In addition to coming with 6.7 mm of high-quality eraser, it sports a smooth rubber grip that prevents finger discomfort and a convenient plastic cap that protects the eraser from collecting dirt. It includes a roll-proof hook and a hole at the top for attaching to keychains, which can help you prevent losing your eraser easily. There are three models—standard, Air Touch, and Dust Catch. We elaborate on the last two models in our other sections.

Tombow Mono Knock 3.8 Style Eraser

Tombow Mono Knock 3.8 Style Eraser
Tombow Mono Knock 3.8 Style Eraser

Tombow Mono Knock 3.8 Style Eraser Test
Tombow Mono Knock 3.8 Style Eraser Test

The Knock 3.8 Style Eraser works like a clicky pencil with its comfortable rubber grip and knock mechanism, but is actually an eraser. It has a simple and attractive design, with options in three transparent colors—pink, green, and blue. Its slim 3.8 mm diameter can fit into any pencil case and can be used to remove stray marks without erasing surrounding areas. Of all the erasers tested, however, it requires the most pressure to work and creates the most noticeable feedback.

Tombow Mono Zero Eraser (2.3 mm and 2.5 x 5 mm)

Tombow Mono Zero Eraser (2.3 mm and 2.5 x 5 mm)
Tombow Mono Zero Eraser (2.3 mm and 2.5 x 5 mm)

Tombow Mono Zero Eraser (2.3 mm and 2.5 x 5 mm) Test
Tombow Mono Zero Eraser Test

Most erasers are advertised for how much they can erase. Yet erasers that can erase precisely are just as important, especially for cleaning up small details in drawings and designs. The Zero meets that need with your choice of a minute, 2.3 mm circular eraser or a 2.5 mm x 5 mm rectangular eraser. It is also equipped with a short feed knock mechanism that prevents it from dispensing too much eraser. For this eraser, we recommend erasing carefully with a light hand if you’re removing bigger details, or else unwanted paper damage may occur. Refills are available.

Dust Minimizing Erasers

Eraser dust is so minuscule that it’s almost negligible—except when it creates messes or triggers dust allergies. Eraser dust is especially onerous to deal with when a large area needs to be erased or when it gets stuck in other media, such as watercolor. To keep the workspace tidy, consider some of Mono’s dust minimizing erasers below.

Tombow Mono One Dust Catch

Tombow Mono One Dust Catch Eraser
Tombow Mono One Dust Catch Eraser

Tombow Mono One Dust Catch Eraser Test
Tombow Mono One Dust Catch Eraser Test

The Mono One Dust Catch is a black eraser in the One Holder Eraser product line. When used, it produces a long string of rolled up dust that can be easily removed with fingers. Of all of Mono’s dust minimizing erasers, it performs the best. One word of caution is that it’s very bendy and harder to control than other Tombow Mono erasers. The black material, while camouflaging the pencil marks on the eraser, can actually transfer onto paper. This can be remedied by gently erasing the stained surface.

Tombow Mono Non Dust Eraser

Tombow Mono Non Dust Eraser
Tombow Mono Non Dust Eraser

Tombow Mono Non Dust Eraser Test
Tombow Mono Non Dust Eraser Test

The Non Dust Eraser may look like any standard white eraser, but the dust that comes from this eraser rolls up into very manageable clumps for easy clean up. Though less bendy and more solid to hold than the Dust Catch, it does produce more clumps.

Tombow Mono More Dust Gathering

Tombow Mono More Dust Gathering
Tombow Mono More Dust Gathering Eraser

Tombow Mono More Dust Gathering Eraser Test
Tombow Mono More Dust Gathering Eraser Test

This eraser won’t create a mess, which makes cleaning up infinitely simpler. Of the products advertised as non-dust, however, this product creates the most dust “rolls.”

Tombow Mono NP Non-PVC Eraser

Tombow Mono NP Non-PVC Eraser
Tombow Mono NP Non-PVC Eraser

Tombow Mono NP Non-PVC Eraser Test
Tombow Mono NP Non-PVC Eraser Test

For a rubber alternative, try this non-toxic, non-PVC styrene synthetic rubber eraser with a 100% recycled paper sleeve. This eraser requires more rubbing pressure but erases excellently without smearing or creating eraser dust.

Ink Erasers

If correction tape isn’t for you, you might appreciate the magic of ink erasers. In addition to removing ink, these niche products can be used to create a faded, vintage look on calligraphy projects.

Tombow Mono Sand Eraser

Tombow Mono Sand Eraser
Tombow Mono Sand Eraser

Tombow Mono Sand Eraser Test
Tombow Mono Sand Eraser Test

This eraser is made of silica sand, which produces a fine glass-like powder that cuts paper when it erases. We tested this eraser on gel ink and ballpoint ink. The latter was easier to remove since ballpoint ink stays on the surface of the paper while gel ink seeps deeper into the paper fiber. As a caveat, this eraser does require some pressure to erase with and may create unseemly tears on your paper.

Tombow Mono Sand & Rubber Eraser

Tombow Mono Sand & Rubber Eraser
Tombow Mono Sand & Rubber Eraser

Tombow Mono Sand & Rubber Eraser Test
Tombow Mono Sand & Rubber Eraser Test

This eraser is a multi-purpose product, comprised of a white rubber side for erasing pencil and a gray rubber and sand side for erasing ink. While the white pencil eraser side of the pencil is not as smooth as Tombow Mono’s basic white eraser, the Sand & Rubber eraser is still a handy product for those who use both pens and pencils but only want to carry one eraser.

Model Eraser Type Sizes Shape Residual Mess Erasability
Tombow Mono Eraser Basic Small, Medium, Medium Wide, Large, X-Large Box Medium Very High
Tombow Mono Light Eraser Light Touch Small, Medium Box High High
Tombow Mono More Light Touch Eraser Light Touch Medium Box High Very High
Tombow Mono One Air Touch Light Touch Eraser Diameter: 6.7 mm, Barrel Length: 7.4 cm Retractable Knock Barrel High Medium
Tombow Mono One Holder Eraser Stick Style Eraser Diameter: 6.7 mm, Barrel Length: 7.4 cm Retractable Knock Barrel Medium Low to Medium
Tombow Mono Knock 3.8 eraser Stick Style Eraser Diameter: 3.8 mm, Barrel Length: 13.4 cm Retractable Knock Barrel High Low – better for small details
Tombow Mono Zero Eraser Stick Style Eraser Diameter: 2.3 mm, 2.5 mm x 5 mm; Length: 11.9 cm Retractable Knock Barrel High Medium to Low – best for small details
Tombow Mono One Dust Catch Dust Minimizing Eraser Diameter: 6.7 mm, Barrel Length: 7.4 cm Retractable Knock Barrel Low High
Tombow Mono Non Dust Eraser Dust Minimizing Medium Box Low High
Tombow More Dust-Gathering Dust Minimizing Medium Box Low High
Tombow Mono NP Non-PVC eraser Dust Minimizing Small, Medium Box Medium Very High
Tombow Mono Sand Eraser Ink Medium Parallelogram High Medium for pencil
Tombow Mono Sand & Rubber Eraser Ink Medium Parallelogram High Medium

Other Accessories

Correction Tape

If you dislike crossing out mistakes in ink but don’t want to use an eraser or correction fluid, correction tape is a convenient and efficient alternative.

Tombow Mono 2Way Correction Tape + Eraser

Tombow Mono 2Way Correction Tape + Eraser
Tombow Mono 2Way Correction Tape + Eraser

Tombow Mono 2Way Correction Tape + Eraser Application
Tombow Mono 2Way Correction Tape + Eraser Test

Multi-purpose products are a blessing. On one end, the Tombow Mono 2Way Correction Tape + Eraser has a blocky high-quality retractable eraser, and on the other end, it features correction tape. Coming in five vivid colors, its polycarbonate monocoque plastic body is as cute as it is durable. Refills are available.

Tape

Adhesive tape is the unsung hero of students, professionals, and artists everywhere. It’s an alternative to glue that is exponentially easier to remove and less messy to deal with.

Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive Tape Runner

Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive Tape Runner
Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive Tape Runner

Tombow Mono 2Way Correction Tape + Eraser Application
Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive Tape Runner Application

Crafters will appreciate this nifty gadget for scrapbooking, card-making, gift wrapping, and other artsy projects. Creating double-sided tape ad hoc can be a hassle and glue can be messy and difficult to remove. The mess-free Tombow Mono Tape Runner dispenses adhesive with a convenient sliding mechanism. It is less permanent than white glue and requires no drying time. The adhesive is acid-free, safe for archival materials, and photo-safe according to the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). Refills are available.

Background Story

Founded in 1913, Tombow (which means “dragonfly” in Japanese) is one of Japan’s top five office products manufacturers. In 1967, Tombow launched the Mono 100 wooden pencils to commemorate its 55th anniversary. At the time, an eraser was included with the pencils as a gift. The eraser gained popularity and was launched separately as the “Mono Eraser” two years later. Over time, Tombow Mono became the trustworthy stationery icon that it is today.

Conclusion

Elegant and functional in their simplicity, Tombow Mono products prove that going back to basics is actually a great thing. We hope that this has been a useful guide for understanding the different products available from one of Japan’s most popular brands for students and professionals. Let us know in the comments below what your favorite Tombow Mono products are!


SOURCE:https://www.jetpens.com/blog/tombow-mono-a-comprehensive-guide/pt/915

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