Parables of the Pencil

This sketch has a twofold purpose: illustrating the anatomy and the personal application of the pencil. I began by drawing a large pencil and focusing on how it is made from what I learned in lecture, beginning with the tree itself and moving on towards the wooden slats and insertion of graphite.

Ultimately, however, I wanted to go deeper than its anatomy and explore some lessons and inspirational meanings that something as simple and commonplace as a pencil could teach, so I searched and brainstormed the following sayings depicted in the image:

  • Pain always sharpens you
  • Allow yourself to be guided by the hand that holds you
  • Success is a worn-out pencil
  • What ultimately leaves the mark is on the inside
  • Don't waste time looking for a better pencil; learn to write better

I am truly in awe of how practical and profound these ideas are, all derived from thoughts about a mere pencil. Indeed, who knew that something so ordinary could so wisely teach us about pain, trust, diligence, character, and work ethic? 

Often the greatest teachers in history conveyed meaning and truth not through intellect, superiority, or glory, but rather through the humble, the simple, and the ordinary, using parables to connect with people's lives, and I am grateful to have discovered such parables through the pencil as well.