I first learned about these Blackwing pencils when I started to research pencil sharpeners—but that’s another post! I didn’t know until then that there are many people who are very particular about the quality of their pencil. The Blackwing has its roots in Eberhard Faber—it was introduced in the 1930’s and favored by writers, musicians and artists (John Steinbeck, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein and Chuck Close) for its smooth writing quality and clean lines (and a pretty cool thin, replaceable eraser). After the company closed in 1998, California Cedar Products introduced a close proximation of the cult pencil—the Palomino Blackwing 602, dark grey with a black eraser, which is an excellent writing pencil (they write smoother and put out a nice dark line without having to press down too hard). The Palomino Blackwing, which is matte black and comes with a white eraser, is a softer pencil with a rich dark line that is perfect for drawing.
My kids love these pencils—sometimes they fight over who gets to write with the one we have on hand. Since neither of my boys are natural writers, I have to confess that I made a bit of a show of presenting them with this pencil, telling them a little of the history so they felt it was something special. I’ve also gifted these pencils to children I know who are writers or artists in the hopes of instilling a love of writing in them too.
One more feature we love is the replaceable eraser. The shape of the eraser is long and thin so you can be more precise with your erasures (my kids are at that age where they seem to erase A LOT.) They recently came out with orange, blue and green erasers, which I am sure the kids will love.