by Amanda Fleet

I know... a bit like Clairefontaine and Rhodia notebooks, we bang on about Blackwing pencils quite a bit too... but that's because they are amazing pencils! And... right now... there is something fairly rare at Nero's... a sale!

Currently, there are three of the limited editions with £5 off... the Volume 93, the Volume 64, and the Volume 651. I have no idea what stock levels are like or how long the sale will last, so if you're wanting them, get them sooner rather than later.

Why do we witter on about these pencils so much? Well, there's a bit of a clue in one of their advertising slogans: "Half the pressure; twice the speed". They are a wonderful dark graphite pencil that's not so soft that they are blunt within half a line of writing. The wood is also cedar, so when you sharpen them, they smell amazing.

Two of the three limited editions celebrate artists; the other a philosopher.

The Volume 93 is perhaps a little softer and leaves a darker line than the other two editions - a soft graphite rather than a hard. The edition celebrates the artist Corita Kent, who taught her students to slow down and focus on the world around them.

"The pencils in this box feature one of the six colourful brushstrokes that make up Corita's iconic rainbow swash.  This was commissioned in 1971, and can been seen on a 140 foot tall natural gas storage tank in Massachusetts."

There are 12 pencils, two of each colour. As ever, there is a helpfully shaped oblong eraser in a ferrule at one end.

Volume 64 harks back to comic books, with a half tone design and a double imprint which is inspired by comic book lettering. The graphite is a little harder than in the volume 93, but great for sketching as well as writing.

Again, there are 12 pencils, each with the iconic oblong eraser.

The Volume 651 is dedicated to Bruce Lee, the philosopher and named after where he opened his first formal school: 651 S. Weller Street in Seattle. The graphite is described as extra firm, but I must confess to not having tried one of these yet, so I can't confirm or deny!

The yellow and black stripes are both simple and striking.

They really are amazing pencils, so if you're fond of the black stuff, grab a bargain before they all go.