As an illustrator of letters, I find myself always going back to my tried and true art supply: the pencil. Pencils are the perfect tool to capture the essence of your sketches. They come in all different softnesses, colors, shapes, sizes. Pencils effortlessly capture gesture and liveliness and can easily be erased when needed.
So what makes the perfect pencil? Well, it’s different for each artist. For me, I prefer a middle of the road softness, preferably HB or 2B. I like a pencil that keeps its sharpness and has a beautiful outward aesthetic. I love a good pencil that holds up when it’s thrown into my art bin and can travel with me wherever I go.
Enter: Blackwing. Blackwing pencils are known for their luxuriousness and smooth finish. According to Palomino, “The Blackwing pencil was introduced in the 1930′s by Eberhard Faber and was the pencil of choice for Oscar, Grammy, and Pulitzer Prize winners throughout the 20th century. After it was discontinued in the 1990′s, fans began paying as much as $40 per pencil to seize unused stock. In 2010, Palomino revived the Blackwing, and it is now available in three different models.”
image via Blackwing
The Blackwing pencil has a middle of the road softness that I really enjoy. The website says that this particular model was made for artists and musicians. You can get some dark darks but also keep the value of a lighter shade if you relieve hand pressure. This pencil works really well for calligraphy practice as you can continue with the pressure and release method applied in pointed pen calligraphy. Blackwing pencils are visually stunning and hold up well with wear and tear as they are crafted to perfection. The erasers are replaceable which means your pencil can last even longer.
They are pricey. At $21.95 plus shipping, you’re paying about $2 per pencil. If you’re a pencil snob, it’s totally worth it, though.