Getting into the world of pencils (both wooden and mechanical) is a slippery slope. Some say it has an even bigger following than fountain pens. There’s a huge following of wood pencils especially. There are many brands of pencils that are noteworthy (for example, see my previous review of the Caran d’Ache Edition Number 9 Pencil here). Palomino Blackwing is such a company that is known for their high-quality pencils. And every quarter, fans such as myself wait with bated breath to see what fun limited edition pencils are getting released. Their themes are new, fun, and just oh-so-creative! One of their more recent releases is the Blackwing Volume 3 Ravi Shankar Pencil.
I love so much about this pencil. Everything from the tribute to such an influential musician to the color of the pencil being called “turmeric yellow” is inspirational. First, this is a tribute to Ravi Shankar on his 100th birthday. Shankar was trained in both Hindustani music, and classical European theater. His influence reached countless artists around the world. Most notably is George Harrison, who asked Shankar to teach him how to play the sitar. The resulting music helped popularize classical Indian music and instrumentation in the United States and around the world. Ravi Shankar also helped introduce the West to Indian traditions (like meditation), and became an unofficial ambassador of India’s culture.
Second is the Blackwing Volume 3 Ravi Shankar pencil’s design. It truly reflects so much of Shankar’s life and personality. The most prominent part of the design is the “Om” symbol all over the turmeric finish. This pattern is inspired by one of Shankar’s most iconic sitars. I really like how everything matches on the Volume 3. The turmeric finish, the golden ferrule, and the part that holds the eraser, the turmeric eraser, and the golden imprint all have the same color range which shows great attention to detail.
Third is the box. You may be wondering what can make a box that these pencils come in so special? Well, Blackwing changed the functionality of their pencil boxes completely for the better. They used to come in the same style of box that your pens come in – a smaller inner tray with the cover extending over the outer edges of the tray. But now the box is vertical – like a built-in pencil cup! This allows all 12 pencils in the box to stand up on your desk for quick, easy access.
Lastly is the graphite. The Blackwing Volume 3 Ravi Shankar pencil uses extra firm graphite. This was the only thing that made me hesitate to get mine. I usually love soft graphite. Anything “B” grade or softer is right up my alley. HB is okay since it’s a medium hardness. When I saw that this pencil uses extra firm graphite, I was doubtful about enjoying it. Usually I associate extra firm graphite with the attributes of a very light color and being very brittle. However, after obtaining a sample of the Volume 3 to try out, I was hooked (and instantly regretting not getting other limited editions based on the graphite being extra firm). A week later, I loved it so much that I bought a second box. This graphite isn’t noticeably lighter, and I haven’t broken the point yet (so it’s not too brittle for me).
What do you think? Do you have yours yet? You can check it out here.
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