The Palomino Blackwing Pearl — now, with an exclusive preview!

It’s been a very Palomino-focused spring around here at Woodclinched. I hope that soon I’ll have some more Yikes! stuff to show you, but in the meantime, there’s some news out of California Cedar Products that I can’t resist sharing.

Pencils.com and Palomino (I’ve never sure which brand is now the authoritative Blackwing spokes-entity) just announced this week the creation of the Palomino Blackwing Pearl, the third pencil in the Palomino Blackwing lineup.

It sounds like the performance is just right in the middle of the two existing Palomino Blackwings:

The Blackwing Pearl features a lustrous pearl white finish and black eraser, along with a balanced and smooth graphite core that is softer than the graphite found in the Palomino Blackwing 602, but firmer than the graphite found in the Palomino Blackwing.

I spoke with Pencils.com president Charles Berolzheimer, “WoodChuck“, last week about the new pencil. The phrase they’re using to describe it is “balanced and smooth.” I asked if they’re going to put that as the motto on the barrel, and he said no. Charles did, however,  tell me a little bit about the style of the new Pearl.

“It’s going to be pearly white, almost a pinkish, translucent hue,” Charles told me. “We talked a lot about introducing another eraser for it, but we’re going to stick with the black eraser. We’ll still have a series of replacement erasers so people can hack their pencil.”

Admittedly, I imagine a pink eraser would look really good with this pencil, but honestly, the black eraser on the white pencil with that gold ferrule? That’ll look really lovely.

The Blackwing Pearls will be released to the public on May 2, and will apparently be available both on Pencils.com and in retail stores, where the product line has really been become more and more prevalent. No word yet on their price, but I’m assuming they won’t cost more than their counterparts ($19.95 for a dozen, or $163.98 for a gross).

I am proud to announce, however, that Woodclinched has discovered some top secret images of the new pencil. Prepare yourself for the exclusive world premiere of this highly-anticipated pencil:

A fabulous Photoshop mockup of the new Palomino Blackwing Pearl

Just kidding. This is the product of my terrible, terrible Photoshop “skills”. I used to have a vector of the Palomino Blackwing logo, which I can’t seen to locate, so as you can see, I expertly re-created it.

I will, however, attempt to talk my way into a advance sample, so I can give it a good try, all in the service of my Dear Readers. And hopefully, the real-life thing will look much better than this abomination, above. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, check out the full press release here. And after May 2, check out Pencils.com to buy it!

I get email: A good quality, Blackwing-like eraser topper?

I’m thankful for my readers. (In fact, I’m thankful I still have readers, considering I only posted four times in 2012.) I really hope I can ramp up my posting a bit more this year.1

Anyhow, this came in last week from someone who stumbled across my site after looking for information about Blackwings.

Do you know of any Blackwing-like eraser tops that you can buy as separate items and attach to a regular pencil? I’ve googled but haven’t found anything for sale. Continue reading

A Blackwing movie?

I was looking through all the blogs I usually read each afternoon, and on the Pencils.com blog, Studio 602, I saw an interview, posted seemingly offhandedly, with the filmmakers working on a movie called, simply, “Blackwing”.

This doesn’t actually play the movie file — it’s a screenshot of the trailer. Click the image to jump to the filmmaker’s trailer page.

I watched the trailer, blinked, and was all, “wait, what?” — did someone actually make a film about the Blackwing?

Well, it seems, yes. And at least according to the Pencils.com Twitter feed, it was fairly surprising to them, too:

According to the interview, It sounds like the filmmakers, Outside In Studio, had everything scripted and ready to go with their movie concept — except for the key writing utensil.

According to the filmmakers’ interview with Pencils.com:

We had already completed a few drafts of the script and were already entering pre-production. When we were searching for props for Milo’s room, we were looking for items that were ultra-artistic and out of the ordinary, that really spoke about the character and how deep his obsession was.  It wasn’t until we stumbled upon pencils.com and saw the Blackwing on the homepage that we realized the importance between the artist and their tool.  The Blackwing was everything we didn’t know we were missing.  We were first attracted to its appearance – it was simple but had this demure quality, it was the perfect balance between power and subtlety.

From what I gather from the trailer, the plot is sort of a dark version of “Harold’s Purple Crayon” — a misfit child, Milo, finds power in a magic pencil that turns to life what it draws. It seems, as though, he doesn’t fully understand its consequences.

While the film trailer and the interview doesn’t mention which Blackwing it is — an original Eberhard Faber Blackwing or a new Palomino Blackwing — it is clear that the first Palomino Blackwing is used, though in its brief cheesecake shot, only the word “Blackwing” remained. It reflects the beauty of the gold/matte black finish of the actual product, but only the mystical, mythical name: Blackwing.

Although I am more of a fan of the shark-blue-grey found on the barrel of the original Blackwing and the Palomino Blackwing 602, I can understand why they used the matte black. As they pointed out, it is elegant and dark. It looks more like a magic pencil than a pencil you might take with you to jot down notes at, say, a client meeting.

Like many independent films, the filmmakers are going to make their rounds at the film festivals and hope to open in summer 2013, which means it could be another year or so after that before I can see it anywhere close to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where I live.

Head on over to Outside In’s site to see the trailer, and over to Studio 602 to read the full interview. It is quite interesting.

A party for a pencil

Disclosure: As I try to do whenever I talk about CalCedar and any of their products, I want to mention that I am a former employee. So take what I say with a grain of salt.

California Cedar, the makers of the California Republic brand of wooden pencils and the Palomino Blackwing, their modern interpretation of the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602, is throwing a party they’re calling called the Blackwing Experience, in New York City on April 17, to celebrate the opening of a week-long exhibit running until April 20 at the Art Director’s Club.

I think this is a cool concept — as their tagline says, it’s “the party for the pencil”, and from what I understand, it’s not just the Palomino Blackwing or the EF Blackwing that’s being celebrated, it’s the usage and history of all wooden pencils.

I had a conversation with Charles Berolzheimer, president and CEO of California Cedar, who told me about the origins of this idea:

“We began to get serious about such an event when we started thinking about how to build upon influencer relationships we had established over prior years as well as to support building with the 602 new influencers who participated in our Klout Campaign (I wrote about it here -AW) launched last December. In working with our creative team in New York during the early planning stages we had a ton of great ideas and were looking for the right venues and the final partnership we created with the Art Directors Club we came up with seemed like a natural fit.”

Justin Oberman is an independent creative director who is working with CalCedar to organize this event. You may remember him from my post about his concept ad campaign for the Dixon Ticonderoga.

A mockup of the video "Ode to a Blackwing". Photo from http://blackwingexperience.tumblr.com/

“We have a 64-foot tall 60-foot wide infographic timeline of the pencil — entirely drawn with (Palomino) Blackwing pencils”, Justin told me. He also talked about creating “Ode to a Blackwing” a video produced for the show. He mentioned that it’s all done with Palomino Blackwings and original Eberhard Faber Blackwings, “except when drawing the logos of other pencil companies. Those are done with pencil brands represented by those logos.”

Some other interesting things going on at this event:

  • A panel discussion about creativity with Chuck Jones’ grandson who runs the Chuck Jones Experience.
  • A blank space where attendees can draw themselves in (with pencil, of course) using a camera lucida.
  • Several performances and demonstrations by up-and-coming artists, musicians and writers.

I really wish I could make it to the Big Apple on Monday to check this out! Unfortunately, I’m not in a position where I can do this unless I plan months ahead.

There’s been some supplemental media created for it:

Please note that there is a bit of controversy surrounding that event and CalCedar, which I’ll let you check out for yourself. I’m staying away from that dialog: not only because I formerly worked at CalCedar (but briefly), but also because of my tremendous respect for both Sean at Blackwing Pages and Charles at CalCedar. If you’re interested, you can read further and make your own determination (I won’t be hosting dialog about that in my comments here):

 

Pencils.com engages in a Klout perk *UPDATED*

Two of my favorite things, as many of you know, are pencils and social media. Much of the time, these two interests don’t often converge. Sometimes, however, I get lucky and realize that it’s not just me spreading the love of pencils to my network.

The social innovators at Pencils.com recently ran a Klout Perk. In order to promote the Palomino Blackwing and their new Blackwing-themed microsite, Blackwing Experience, they gave away a limited number of Blackwing sampler packs (three PBs and three PB 602s) mix of introductory items to Klout members who meet the following criteria:

  • Those with a Klout score 50 or more
  • Those who are influential in these topics: actor, business, or gadgets

Unfortunately, that means I don’t qualify! (*sniff, sniff*). It’s all right. I don’t need a Klout Perk to spread the joy. UPDATE: See the comment from WoodChuck below to learn more about the selection process.

A lot of people don't know that I'm actually a time lord.

I’m also not entirely sure where they came up with those topics — I can only conclude that this was recommended to them by Klout (who have mysterious methods in picking influencing topics for users — as of right now. mine are time travel, sweater, and nonprofit).

Unfortunately, it looks like the Perk is closed. Sorry to those who didn’t get in quickly! I wonder to how many they limited the perk.

I know a couple of the people who took advantage of the perk — I’ll try to publish something here when they have a chance to try them out!

Premium Palomino Blackwing-branded notebooks

Note of disclosure: I am no longer employed by California Cedar Products or Pencils.com — though I am still their biggest fan

If you follow Pencils.com on Twitter (@pencilscom), you may have seen this tweet hit the webbernets:
Although I’ve known this was coming for a while, I have no idea what they’re going to look like or when, exactly, they’ll be hitting the virtual stands. But I know I’ll be wanting one or a few with my last, dying breath.

The Gold Fibre Ampad writing pad with antique ivory pages. Great quality paper, lined front/checked back, and all around old-timey fun!

So that’s pretty exciting. I’m still loving my Palomino Blackwing 602s, and I’ve been wanting something nice upon which to write with it. My usual meeting note-taking paper tablet is this retro-rific Gold Fibre pad by Ampad (or its 8.5×11″ counterpart), but it’s not the most formal thing you’ll ever see, you know? And although I have several pad-folios, they take up a lot of room, room in my bag that competes for space with my laptop, charging cord, various pencil and pen wraps and other things that I’ve collected via my borderline hoarder tendencies.

Speaking of Palomino Blackwing branding, I love the new packaging for the Palomino and Blackwing brands, don’t you? Charles sent me this the romance shot the other day (click to embiggen the pencil geekery goodness):

The graphite drawings on the Palomino graphites are stunning, and I love the vivacity of the colored pencil line. (I assume this photo was taking by the very talented Sue Tallon, a still-life photographer who Pencils.com uses for stellar product shots.)

I’ll let you know when the notebooks are released, and I may even have a review up here!

Meanwhile, what pencils and paper products have you been using lately?