“I have found a new kind of pencil ― the best I have ever had. Of course it costs three times as much too but it is black and soft but doesn’t break off. I think I will always use these. They are called Blackwings and they really glide over the paper.” So said John Steinbeck, according to a Paris Review article (PDF) that pulled together quotations from the author over the course of his career. Steinbeck’s high praise for the Blackwing is just one notable voice in a choir of legendary figures.
In his autobiography, “Q,” Quincy Jones explained how he composed “Suite to the Four Winds” by running all over Seattle, “working it out bit by bit on every piano I could find. That piece was the most valuable thing I owned. I carried it around with me every day, like money, scrawling on it, fixing it, changing it, carrying it under my sweater with a Blackwing No. 2 pencil in my pocket to make continual fixes.”