Designer Toolkit: Blackwing 602 wooden pencil

A unique looking pencil

Designer Toolkit is a new weekly series on Sketchbook B that will highlight an analog tool that designers should be using.


Why designers will love the Blackwing 602:

A bold, dark line. The Palomino Blackwing 602 is a wooden pencil that provides a bold, dark line. The lead is relatively firm and the point lasts longer than with other pencils. It’s a great all purpose pencil for taking notes or sketching.

Replaceable erasers. Blackwings have replaceable erasers. So you don’t have to worry about using the entire eraser and making the pencil practically unusable. Bonus, you can “hack” your pencils and replace the erasers with colored ones. I’ve got some green erasers that I love.

There’s just something special. If the last pencil you used was a yellow #2, you’ll fall in love with the process of using a wooden pencil. With the 602, there is something special about the smell of the wood, the process of sharpening and smooth grey lacquer finish. It’s a really enjoyable experience that you don’t get from mechanical pencils.


Things to know:

Range of pencils. The 602 is part of a range of pencils offered by Blackwing. The original Blackwing is soft. The Blackwing 602 is more firm. And the Blackwing Pearl is somewhere in between. Blackwing also has a subscription service with limited edition versions, some of which are very cool.

You’ll get your hands dirty. I forgot how dirty wooden pencils could be. Graphite all over my hands and in my pencil case. I finally put all my pencil stuff in a separate bag to keep my pens clean.

Get to the point. You’ll need a pencil sharpener. And while any sharpener will work, I recommend the Blackwing long point sharpener, a two-step manual sharpener that delivers an awesome point. Fits great in a pencil bag and costs $7-8.


How much?

Blackwings are around $22 for a box of 12. You can get them at a variety of outlets online, but I recommend JetPens or buying from Blackwing direct. JetPens also has colored erasers if you want to customize your look and sharpeners if you need one.

Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. In his spare time, he writes things... in pencil... in a notebook. Follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram.