Artgraf - Watercolor Graphite
The only Portuguese pencil factory

With its unique romantic image, the Artgraf Watercolor Graphite, a product by the Portuguese company and brand Viarco, is able to obtain all the shades of graphite with the same product. From the lighter, transparent tones, to a darker, black palette.The watercolor graphite was a challenge presented to Viarco in the 1990s. Years later, following a suggestion given by the artist José Emí­dio, the project was reactivated.

With excellent market acceptance, today, the Artgraf Watercolor Graphite is an innovative Portuguese product that revolutionized the artist’s relationship with graphite. Using a brush and water, this revolutionary product can be applied to different surfaces, dries very fast, but also has a great correction capacity. Commercialized in two versions - pocket (20gr) and atelier (60gr) - the Watercolor Graphite has opened the doors to new forms of plastic expression.

«It is a can of graphite that is used like a brush which means that what you would normally do with a pencil, you can now do with a brush. This permits a range of shades from black to transparencies, it’s really very good.»

«With watercolor graphite we can paint and change, correct.»

(José Vieira - Administrator)

Water soluble

20 or 60 grams

Protective cloth bag for a clean drawing

Viarco - Portuguese Pencil Factory was, in the beginning of the 20th century, a pioneer company in the creation of writing equipment, leaving a testimony of great value for the history of the Portuguese industry. Today, Viarco develops products that are one-of-a-kind in the world. A historical brand that shows us how to make history... every day!

More than 100 years of history

«We want to use the past to promote the future.»

  • (José Vieira - Administrator)

Viarco, also known as Portugália, had its start in the city of Vila do Conde, during the year 1907. After the first few years of success, the Portuguese company had some difficult moments caused by Portugal’s role in World War I and particularly because of the 1929/1931 economic depression. In the year 1931, Manoel Vieira Araújo, a renowned businessman in the hat making sector and prominent personality in São João da Madeira, acquires the Portuguese pencil factory.

In 1936, Vieira Araújo & Cª, Lda., registers the brand Viarco, a name that would later be associated to the most famous pencils of that time and that still remains very present in the Portuguese collective memory. The Portuguese company operates in Vila do Conde until 1941, when it is transferred to the São João da Madeira installations, where it remains until today. The place where the company is located witnesses the growth of many companies from different sectors. At one point, there were five companies with distinct activities coexisting within the same perimeter: hat making, pencils, plastics, shoes and shirts.

Years marked by consecutive technological developments followed, which led to the creation of wax crayons and a vast range of technical pencils used in different trades. During the 1970s, the pencil factory becomes independent and is then called Viarco - Indústria de Lápis, Lda. At this time, Viarco - Indústria de Lápis is dedicated to four distinct market segments: School Office, Professional, Advertising and the Artistic sector, which was in frank expansion.

Projects that Viarco wants to embrace

Viarco has plans to totally recuperate the building that holds a unique industrial archeological estate, adapting it so it may receive the many visits that are requested and thus actively contribute to the development of industrial tourism in Portugal. One of the other projects it has in mind is the construction of the Pencil Museum, a project whose goal is the preservation and divulgation of this centennial company’s estate and history.

«The Pencil Museum will be a way to organize and show the existing estate. It is important to preserve it and the initiative is related to the preservation of our own history.»

  • (José Vieira - Administrator)

Attentive to new artistic talents, Viarco also plans to develop diverse ateliers for young artists who are just starting out their careers. The establishment of partnerships with institutions linked to education, culture and solidarity that create social benefit dynamics and permit the development of relationships and mechanisms that value the community where the company is inserted, as well as its interveners, is another one of the company’s priorities. On the other hand, Viarco plans to create and produce writing equipment with superior quality that stimulates the values of national identity.

«It is very important that products that are one-of-a-kind in the world and that are having a fantastic acceptance, have very visible the indication ‘Made in Portugal’, it is very important that the origin is known and that it is associated to Viarco.»

  • (José Vieira - Administrator)
Viarco, the only pencil factory in Portugal and one of the most innovative in the world!

Technical Information

Company: VIARCO - Indústria de Lápis, Lda.
Address: Apartado 454, 3701-914 S. João da Madeira
Telephone: 256 830 880
Owners: José Vieira
Employees: 21
Founded in: 1907