• Supplies
January 30, 2023

Blackwing Pencils for Sketching and Writing

By Maria Coryell-Martin

Four different-colored Blackwing pencils, tucked into the narrow, vertical pockets of a black A5 Art Toolkit.

Growing up, my mother’s original Blackwing pencils always caught my eye with their elegant steely grey color, distinctive eraser ferrule, and embossed “Half the pressure, twice the speed” slogan. The Eberhard Faber Pencil company first introduced Blackwing pencils in the 1930s. These pencils were an instant hit among artists and writers, and their popularity only grew from there.

Blackwing pencils were discontinued in 1998 yet remained coveted. I remember the day my mother gifted my brother and me complete boxes of twelve pencils, one for each of us. “You know,” my brother remarked, “these pencils are selling for $40 each on eBay.” I resisted selling the box and instead sharpened a pencil and savored the pleasure of using it.

My family and I were thrilled by the Blackwing revival in 2010. The company has since expanded its line of pencils, each with the iconic eraser ferrule with elegant finishes.

An artist sketches value scales in a sketchbook with a Blackwing pencil.

Now, in 2023, we are happy to offer the four core Blackwing pencils in 12-pack gift boxes to keep or share. The core pencils include the Blackwing MatteBlackwing NaturalBlackwing Pearl, and the classic Blackwing 602. They are made from genuine incense-cedar and premium Japanese graphite, and each one features the iconic square Blackwing ferrule and a replaceable eraser.

Four differently-colored Blackwing pencils evenly spaced and on the diagonal.

Blackwing describes the Pearl as a “a favorite of calligraphers and illustrators,” the Natural’s graphite as having a clear matte finish that “works well for extended writing and detailed line work,” the Matte as an ideal pencil for “musicians, woodworkers, and anyone who prefers a soft, dark line.” Finally, the classic Blackwing 602 features “a firm and smooth graphite core that helps it deliver on its promise of Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed.”

A hand holds a sharpened, black Blackwing Matte pencil against a blurred background.

We have enjoyed exploring the subtle differences between these four pencils and love what each one brings to urban sketching, note-taking, and detailed drawings. We’re thrilled to offer the 12-pack box sets in our shop and hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

In addition to Blackwing Pencils, we also stock Helvetica Pencils and Helvetica Mechanical Pencils.

An artist sites on a rock, dipping a paintbrush in a Pocket Palette.

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