Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Smooth, Dark, and Fast

I wrote previously about the end of the original Blackwing pencils and how disappointed I was when Eberhard Faber stopped making them. At the time I didn’t know that I was far from alone in my admiration for this particular pencil, and it seems to be a particular obsession here in LA.

My pencil supply has been dwindling, so knowing that other than the name, and a reputation and quality to live up to, and that the Palomino Blackwing and the Pearl have no connection to the original, I went ahead and ordered and have tried out both.

From top to bottom: the original Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602, Ebony,
Palomino HB, Palomino Blackwing, and Palomino Pearl

After working with them, I’m starting to lean towards liking the Pearl the most. It seems a little smoother and blacker. They both live up to the slogan, are smooth on the paper, dark, hold a point a bit longer than most, and they smudge and erase well. For now I’m happy to have the familiar shape (not round, so they don’t roll away) and the removable, replaceable (and customizable) eraser. These are made by the Palomino Company, the same company whose pencils I turned to when I first ran out of the original Eberhard Faber Blackwings. The tagline printed on the original and new pencil is “Half the pressure, twice the speed” – clearly the choice for anyone with a light touch.

Another plus in my estimation is hearing back from Customer Service at Pencils.com that "No animal tallow is used in the manufacture of our pencils. Some lead suppliers used to dip their graphite leads in the fat from whales, but this practice ceased a long time ago. Pencil leads are now dipped in a petroleum-based liquid."

Will it live up to its predecessor? Seems promising. I guess we'll see.


Kathryn Hansen said...

i never tried that pencil before...my favorite is Tombow. but now my curiosity is piqued! does Swains carry them, because i don't recall seeing them there?!!

R.L. Delight said...

I haven't tried that pencil either. Thanks for the vegan heads up. Always on the lookout for good vegan art supplies. Will have to give it a try!

Jean Spitzer said...

This is something to try. My favorite up to now has been the cylindrical graphite pencils that are coreless.

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Kathryn - the Tombows are nice. I've used them too.

R.L., my pleasure - I always want to know about vegan products too.

Jean, I'm not sure I understand what a coreless pencil is. Is it a mechanical pencil?

Pencil choices are so personal, aren't they? Specific for each artist's technique and expression.

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