Disappearing details and the illusion of line width

When I started using pencils I found myself wanting to sharpen them all the time. If it wasn’t a fresh-from-the-sharpener needle point, it felt like writing with a crayon after only a few words.

Then laziness took over and I got used to writing with a pretty blunt point, and found I got the knack of maintaining a reasonable line width – wider of course, but not too wide. The funny part is that I was convinced that I writing a much wider line, butt when I look at the writing later I can’t see the difference.

It seems like while I’m writing I notice details that seem to disappear over time. While I’m writing I might think a particular word was written perfectly, each letter exactly as it should be. Five minutes later I can’t tell the difference between that word and the ones next to it. I’ll sketch something, and everything looks off and terrible. 5 minutes later I look at it again, and I’m astonished because it looks too good to have been drawn by me. While I’m writing, a wider nib or a blunter pencil point feels like I’m writing with a broom. Characters with loops like a’s, e’s and l’s seem closed up. But later, I don’t even notice the change in line thickness, or if I do, the wider line is actually easier to read.

Anyone else run into these kinds of disappearing details? Does what you write or draw change for you?

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