ScrawlrBox - Blackwing

by Amanda Fleet

I know, I know... we bang on about some brands a lot, but... well... some brands just deserve it. Blackwing pencils are one of the items that fall into that camp.

"Why? What's so special about a pencil?"

That, dear readers, was a quote from my husband, who might just about scrounge up one of those tiny pencils you used to get in a well-known Swedish furniture store, and use it to cross off things on a shopping list. But, since he asked...

I have horrible memories of some pencils from school. I don't know where they bought them or how they managed to make them so awful, but they invariably had bits of something in the lead, so that partway through writing a word, it would suddenly be all scratchy and the lead would dig into the paper and there would be no graphite actually writing anything. Did my school have a special supplier, where they added extra sand to the lead somehow? That's what it always seemed like.

For a long time, I assumed all pencils were like this. And then I bought my own pencils, and realised there is a whole world of variety!

I tend to use pencils for two particular things:

1) when the arthritis in my right hand has flared up horrendously and I've switched to writing  left-handed. For the first few days, I find it easier to write left-handed in pencil

2) I'm editing a book. Then, I have a pot of sharpened pencils and use them until they're all blunt, then sharpen them all again.

Occasionally, I'm doing both at the same time... Either way, my ideal pencil is one that lays down a decent line but doesn't need sharpening every ten seconds, and whose point doesn't break easily. I have a variety of brands I turn to, but Blackwing are definitely in the mix.

They are slightly longer than many pencils, coming in at 20cm, but they also tick all the boxes for definition of line, ability to hold a point, and not breaking easily. All of the Blackwing are excellent pencils, but I'm currently using some done as a collaboration between Blackwing and ScrawlrBox - a company that does subscription boxes of art supplies.

They are a fabulous turquoise colour (and have a turquoise eraser! How snazzy! Although I must confess to frequently removing all ferrules and erasers from pencils so that I can put them point-up in a jar, ready for use). If you really wanted to have a long point on them, you could use the Blackwing 2-stage sharpener which first sharpens the wood and then sharpens the graphite to give an extra long point.

These are excellent pencils and good value for money, so go ahead and treat yourself!

Blackwing ScralwrBox pencils