October 20, 2016
I was super intrigued by the Blackwings since everyone seems to hype them up so
much, so I bought a case of these and the Pearls to try out. I'm going to try to
be as thorough as I can for those of you still mixed about trying these out, as
I did a LOT of research and read a lot of written and video reviews before
committing to two 12-count boxes of this Blackwing brand. These are based on my
personal experience of them, so here we go;
I'm an artist, and it's just my personal preference to draw with softer leads (
I prefer working with 4Bs and up) because I like getting dark dark lines with
very little pressure. In this regard, the Pearls (being the balanced lead of the
Blackwings) were just a little too firm for me (It's pretty much equivalent to a
3B) but they are quite smooth still, and I still enjoy using them. It is still a
very nice pencil! What I like best about it might just be the beautiful lacquer
finish instead of the actual lead itself though. The finish is smooth and so
comfortable to hold. So, if you are an artist and/or writer who likes a dark
line and likes a slightly softer lead instead of a very firm one, I highly
recommend the Pearl.
As for these regular Blackwings, these are much more my speed. They are a bit
softer to write/draw with than the Pearls, and are about equivalent to a 4B. But
because these are soft, the point will wear down faster, so these are probably
more suited to artists instead of writers, unless you don't mind sharpening your
pencil frequently. The black matte finish is also very nice! It gives you a nice
grip as you write/draw. So, if you prefer soft lead and very dark lines without
applying much pressure, don't mind sharpening the pencil frequently, and aren't
concerned with keeping a sharp point, go with these, the Regular Blackwings.
Suitable to you artists out there; writers be wary.
I do NOT like firm lead pencils, which is why I didn't buy the 602 box set and
can't really give a review on them. But based on the info provided, they are the
firmest of the three (about 2B equivalent), so in my opinion, if you like a very
firm lead that still makes a dark line, go with the 602. Probably the best for
The Cedar incensed wood is also a nice touch; it's a very good type of wood,
which makes these easier to sharpen than most other pencils, as they won't break
or splinter like some other brands do.
One thing to keep in mind with these pencils is that the added ferrule and
eraser at the top adds a little extra weight to them, so these pencils are a bit
top-heavy and might take some getting used to at first.
In regard to the erasers; I find that they work just fine! They erase pretty
well, as long as you don't press down on the pencil to hard. I'm not sure why
people shoot them down so much. Blackwings are meant to be darker lead pencils,
so it's sort of obvious that ANY eraser isn't going to fully erase lead this
dark. Take it from someone who also uses Uni Boxy erasers. I put the Blackwing
eraser and the Uni Boxy to the test with these pencils, and found that they both
erase the lead the same amount; the only part that didn't erase was where I
pressed down on the lead super hard. So like I said, they will erase very well
as long as you don't put too much pressure on it as you write/draw. Also keep in
mind what paper you are using. The more textured/toothier it is, the harder
it'll be to erase, no matter what brand the pencil is. The smoother the paper,
the better it'll erase (I like Marker paper because it takes pencil very
The last thing I want to cover is the 'buttery-like smoothness' everyone seems
to talk about... I really wouldn't go that far. When I ordered these I also
ordered a 4B Tombow pencil, which in all honesty, is much, much smoother to
write/draw with than these regular Blackwings. So if your all for the
'smoothness' of a pencil as you write/draw, look into Tombow pencils instead.
These are not like writing with butter. Truly.
So all in all, 4 stars out of 5, because really; they are just pencils, and
whether you'll like them or not is going to just come down to what pencil lead
grade you personally prefer:
If you like firm but dark lead (2B), consider the 602.
If you like very soft, very dark lead (4B), consider these regular Blackwings.
If you like dark lead that is not too firm nor too soft, (3B), consider the
Otherwise, if money is a concern and you don't want to splurge for a box of 12
of these, just stick to what you use that you know you like. These really aren't
the 'Holy Grail' of pencil brands like people make them out to be. In the end,
they are just what they are; pencils... pencils they make you buy in boxes of 12
instead of as singles *eye roll*