The Palomino Blackwing pencils seem to have an aura that comes with them, almost like they are the holy grail of pencils. The infamous Palomino Blackwing pencils are things of times gone by and creative dreams. They come across as the ultimate pencils. Or is this just clever marketing?
The Blackwing range are some seriously good looking pencils. From top to bottom these pencils are very attractive. The barrel colours are great, black, grey and white - all simple colours that work well within the range. The gold lettering on the Blackwing and 602 looks really good contrasting the pencil barrel. The Pearl has black lettering to stand out against the white finish. All in all well thought out yet simple design.
The ferrules on the Blackwing pencils are distinctive from other pencils available within the market. They are much bigger and wider adding weight to the pencil. The rubbers on these pencils are actually really good. They are not the same colour as the original Blackwings, however they still work well with the updated design and are very inoffensive. Everything here again has been thought through and no corners have been cut resulting in a high quality pencil.
There are alternative rubbers that you can buy to make these look like the original Blackwings, and also some different crazy colours just for fun. I have not tried any of these so cannot comment on them but I am sure the standards will be the same. Pencils.com have also just announced a special edition series of the 602's in conjunction with Chuck Jones which take the distinctive old school pink rubber and combine it with the popular 602 pencil.
The Palomino Blackwing.
This is the first pencil I managed to get my hands on. I found these online at a UK online seller, Pedlars, where I bought 4 singles. The Palomino Blackwing has a dark soft graphite, which doesn't hold a sharp tip for very long. I can imagine if you are someone who sketches this could be a good pencil for you, however personally for me I use pencils mostly for writing and this does not suit my requirements. I have found that when using this pencil in notebooks there is a lot of smearing and my handwriting seems to become huge to account for the soft graphite wearing down very quickly. Beautiful pencil, but not for me.
Palomino Blackwing Pearl.
Finally, the Palomino Blackwing 602
This is the best of the three for me. Its a lovely pencil to use and has everything I like. The grey pencil barrel is not my favourite but it still looks good. The 602 comes with a nice little message on the other side of the barrel which you don't get on the other two Blackwings. 'Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed' really does sum this pencil up. The graphite is much lighter on the 602 when compared to the Pearl and original Blackwing. It also feels like its the strongest too and can take a heavy hand like mine. The 602 is the pencil I happily will carry round with me and chose to write with on a daily basis.
To me there feels like there is an element of Moleskine style marketing with the Blackwing series of pencils. There is a degree of 'glamour' with the Blackwing series owing a lot to their history as a favourite from some notable figures. When you first use any of these pencils there is already an expectation in place, which can in a lot of cases, lead to some disappointment, if only initially. That was my experience with the Blackwing pencil, however the more you delve into this brand and try out all the Blackwing options there the more you can enjoy these pencils.
For UK readers, Pedlars have both the Blackwing and the 602 available in singles. These guys have great delivery service too so you won't be waiting too long. For the Pearl I could only get this through Pencils.com which does mean there is a bit of a wait and without buying the Collection Pack you can only get these in packs of 12. These are just friendly hints, I am not being asked to promote these online retailers.