The secret life of a pencil


Since software programs have come to dominate offices and studios, the pencil has become a symbol for creative freedom. Apart from stimulating the world’s most important creative minds, the pencil has become the modern creative’s ultimate fetish.

This book by designer Alex Hammond and photographer Mike Tinney presents a unique collection of close-up pictures of pencils from some of our foremost artists, designers, writers, architects and musicians. What makes these pictures compelling is the fact that they somehow reflect the creative personalities of their owners: Philippe Starck’s is a stylish black and red, Paul Smith’s is a classic jewel-like thing worth £3,000 (a present from Jonathan Ive), William Boyd’s is nicely aged and rusty, while Anish Kapoor’s is sculpted into a mini ArcelorMittal Orbital tower.

The pictures are complemented by material such as sketches, quotes and brief interviews, giving a further insight into the workings of these great creative minds.


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This English book was first published in March 2018 by Laurence King Publishing.

The book has a hardcover, measures 15,7 by 21,9 cm and counts 144 pages.


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