Brand Spotlight: Blackwing
Possibly the most famous ‘high-end’ pencils on the market, the Blackwing has been used by Grammy, Emmy, Academy & Pulitzer Prize winners, including John Steinbeck, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, and Chuck Jones who created Bugs Bunny and many Looney Tunes characters using Blackwing pencils.
“I have found a new kind of pencil — the best I have ever had!”
‘Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed’. The Blackwing 602 was originally manufactured by the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company from 1934-1988. The company changed hands and was manufactured by Faber-Castell from 1988-1994 and changing hands again to become part of Sanford from 1994-1998. In 2011, Palomino/Cal Cedar was inspired to revive the brand. Early editions of the Eberhard Faber pencils can sell online for up to US$100 per pencil.
Today, Blackwings come in 4 general varieties, each a different hardness of graphite. They all feature the iconic ferrule design of the original Blackwing, and are made from Japanese graphite and Californian incense-cedar. Blackwings measure longer than typical pencils, over 20cm, so may not fit in the pencil case with the rest of your collection. Blackwing doesn’t use ‘standard’ grading (HB, B2, H2, etc.) for their pencils. Each pencil has its own unique blend of graphite.
- Blackwing Black Matte – Soft Graphite, Black Pencil, Black Eraser. The softest and darkest of Blackwing graphite closely resembles 3B lead.
- Blackwing Pearl – Balanced Graphite, White Pencil, White Eraser. Graphite falls between soft and firm
- Blackwing 602 – Firm Graphite, Grey Pencil, Pink Eraser—the ‘Original’. Ideal for writing, it is smoother than a typical writing pencil and is most similar to B lead.
- Blackwing Natural – Extra Firm Graphite, Natural Finish Pencil, Grey Eraser. The hardest of the graphite varieties.
For a full history of the Blackwing 602, visit this page from the Blackwing Pages.
A portion of every Blackwing purchase goes to the Blackwing Foundation and its mission to support music and arts programs in public schools.
In 2015, Blackwing introduced the Volumes series, a limited edition pencil released each quarter celebrating the people, places and events that have defined our creative culture. Blackwing has paid tribute to everything from John Steinbeck’s writing ritual to Ada Lovelace’s contribution to computer science. A summary of Blackwing Volumes is presented here.
|Pencil Image||Volume Edition||Graphite Core||Released|
|Volume 17||Balanced||September 2023|
|Volume 57||Soft||June 2023|
|Volume 20||Firm||March 2023|
|Volume 192||Extra Firm||December 2022|
|Volume 7||Balanced||September 2022|
|Volume 55||Balanced||June 2022|
|Volume 200||Firm||March 2022|
|Volume 93||Soft||December 2021|
|Volume 651||Extra Firm||October 2021|
|Volume 64||Firm||June 2021|
|Volume 223||Balanced||March 2021|
|Volume 6||Soft||November 2020|
|Volume XIX||Firm||August 2020|
|Volume 3||Extra Firm||June 2020|
|Volume 840||Balanced||March 2020|
|Volume 155||Soft||November 2019|
|Volume 42||Balanced||August 2019|
|Volume 10||Extra Firm||June 2019|
|Volume 811||Firm||March 2019|
|Volume 4||Soft||December 2018|
|Volume 33 1/3||Balanced||September 2018|
|Volume 10001||Firm||June 2018|
|Volume 54||Extra Firm||March 2018|
|Volume 16.2||Firm||December 2017|
|Volume 1||Balanced||September 2017|
|Volume 73||Soft||June 2017|
|Volume 205||Firm||March 2017|
|Volume 530||Extra Firm||December 2016|
|Volume 344||Firm||September 2016|
|Volume 56||Firm||July 2016|
|Volume 24||Firm (unique blend)||March 2016|
|Volume 1138||Soft||December 2015|
|Volume 211||Firm||September 2015|
|Volume 725||Balanced||June 2015|