I think Germany owes me one, don't you? I've been singing the praises of Schmincke paints for a while now and today I'm talking up 8b Staedtler 'Mars Lumograph' pencils, both made in Germany.
Here are a couple of faces for the 101 Faces project, drawn with the Staedtler pencil mentioned above and then painted with Schmincke watercolor washes. The Mars Lumograph pencil gives me fabulous dark marks and that sensuous texture I like so much from the pencil medium, but they don't smudge as badly as graphite pencils do. I'm not sure what they're made of---they're almost, but not quite, as waxy as litho pencils. They're a lot smoother than Conte pencils. Love them.
I drew these bottles of Iceland with my wonderful bamboo pen and then painted with Schmincke gouache, than which gouache there is no finer. They are SUCH fun to use---you can't imagine how fluid they are and how full of pigment. The exact opposite of Winsor & Newton gouache, in case you were wondering.
Do you ever think how miraculous it is that you can buy bottles of water from Iceland or Fiji or France? I don't do it often now, because I worry about plastic and I worry about carbon footprints and things. But I had these bottles and they are so dear to me, full as they are of precious, pure water.