Blackwing Natural: Extra Firm and Kinda Naked.

A few weeks ago, a new pencil from Blackwing was leaked on social media. Shortly thereafter, Blackwing released their first permanent collection pencil in nearly six years: The Blackwing Natural.

Listeners of the Erasable Podcast might recognize some requests that we made repeatedly. The core is extra firm. The barrel is natural cedar. While I wished for a silver ferrule and pink eraser, this gold ferrule and gray eraser look fantastic next to the wood grain and the gold stamping. I’m not disappointed at all.

The barrel of the pencil is covered in some sort of thin varnish or lacquer. It’s matte, grippy, and lovely. The core is fantastic. It’s plenty dark for me, reminding me of the original Palomino that seems to be no more.

There was considerable delay in getting these shipped, but with them being a permanent part of the collection, that’s totally fine with me. A few of mine had quality control issues. Four or five of them have ferrules not attached very well, and one had a big chip in the wood. But I am not under any illusion that this dozen of pencils is going to be mine for long anyway. Once my kids and spouse see these, I’m going to have to order myself another box.

Thanks to Blackwing, for listening to your customers who have been wanting a pencil more or less exactly like this! Personally, I’m glad they have added the extra firm core to the lineup and that they have added a natural option. Natural pencils got me into these graphite beauties in the first place.

I’m holding myself back from buying many gross of these pencils. For now.

Write Notepads ZHŪ Winter Edition.

These notebooks, the winter edition from our friends at Write Notepads pay tribute to the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Pig. They come dressed in red, with a lusciously textured coverstock that is on the light-weight side. Within, Comrades will find 48 pages of bright white paper with a dot-grid ruling. All of the usual things that we ever have to say about pocket notebooks from this company hold true here too. The construction is simple and durable. The attention to detail is top-notch. And the design is wonderful.

And would you look at that gold foil stamping!?

Unfortunately, these sold out really quickly. (EDIT: These are still available from CW Pencils!) This is generally becoming the case each quarter, as Write Notepads seems to step up their game with each limited edition pocket notebook they release. When your Humble Editor found out about the theme, he was floored by the simple genius of the idea and its perfect execution.

Mary Shelley’s Pencils.

It was supposed to be my post-NaNoWriMo reward, but I finally got around to seeing the recent biopic Mary Shelley. The critics’ reviews were mixed, but I enjoyed the film myself. Elle Fanning has sad eyes, which were perfect to portray Shelley.

Of course, there was much in the way of stationery in this film about a writer (and two other writers). While Percy wrote with a plume, Mary always used a pencil in the film. It looked like some square/oval sectioned pencil, and her habit of twirling it was a sort of chorus in the film.

The film opens to the sound of a pencil scratching over a piece of paper, and pencil lovers will find the rest of the picture to be a treat as well.

Write Start Again.

Back in 2012, I posted about my daughter getting into these pencils by Crayola called Write Start. It seems that they’re out of production, but I found some online and bought them for my youngest daughter. If you can get ahold of some for a young person in your life — or anyone else who enjoys colored pencils with pretty hard cores — definitely pick them up. The wide hex shape and the natural finish really make these pencils winners in my book.