Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect

Yes. Pencils do it, too. It's not just fountain pen and ink manufacturers that torture us with limited edition things. Palomino has done this, and I've discovered these 1138s after falling in love with their Classic Blackwings.
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (3)This review will follow my previous pencil review format (see the Palomino Classic Blackwings), with a few modifications that were suggested to me by a good friend. In fact, he provided constructive criticism without making me feel completely inept and terrible, so I thank him (you know who you are!), and I hope you'll find the changes useful!

ABOUT

This series is the third release in the Volumes series - "the sci-fi pencil". Soft graphite pencil is intended for drawing with
Price: £27.50 - box of 12
Where to buy: 
Bureau Direct Banner
The 1138 is the latest limited edition of the Blackwing pencil and is inspired by the 1902 French film - A Trip to the Moon. The 13 minute silent classic directed by Georges Méliès, though rudimentary by today's standards, was groundbreaking on its release and has been voted into the top 100 most influential films as well as being considered the earliest example of science fiction. Taking footage from the film, Blackwing have quite literally put a movie on to a pencil. Using a process known as movie barcoding, the condensed images from the film are printed on to the pencil to create a beautiful grey and white stripe effect. The lead is the soft, smooth graphite of the Blackwing Classic, the softest version, and the pencil sports the first ever silver ferrule or eraser holder. 
And the number? 1138 is widely used in science fiction films having featured in George Lucas's first feature film THX 1138. It can subsequently be found in most of the Star Wars films as well as Indiana Jones and American Graffiti but also pops up in The Matrix, Monsters Inc, Mission Impossible, District 9, Ocean's Eleven. Check out Wikipedia to see where you can spot it. If you would like to see the original film, check out the video tab where you can watch it in full. 
- As seen on Bureau Direct  
- More details on Blackwing
PACKAGING
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (22)
This is a box of 12 pencils. The box is super cool, just like the pencils are. It's thin and firm, with a removable lid. It's matte black and says Blackwing across the top. There is a sleeve on the outside with a picture of the pencil, and some details about it on the back. This is a great box. It's simple, it doesn't just flop open, and it keeps your unsharpened (or sharpened) pencils protected. Like the Blackwing Classic box, the inside pattern is fun. I am a fan.
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (1)
My buddy requested I list a few things to do with the box when the pencils are all used up, which is a good idea.
  • Recycle it.
  • Store extra erasers in it for your inevitable second box of Palominos - that is, if you use up the pencil before the eraser, keep the eraser for the next set of pencils.
  • Keep it with you as a mini garbage can - dump your pencil shavings in it from your sharpener, pop a rubber band around it, and empty it in the garbage at your convenience. Also, it'll be like pencil potpourri. 
  • Keep it on your desk for miscellaneous items - paper clips, binder clips, a little roll of tape, washi tape, lip balm.
  • Make a pencil starter kit for a pencil-n00b friend and gift it to them.
  • Make yourself a pencil starter kit and carry it around to get to know your pencils.
  • Make yourself a tiny mini art kit - a few pencils of varying grades, an eraser, a ruler... you get the picture. 
What do you do with your Palomino boxes?
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (2)

APPEARANCE
Barcode finish. Black eraser. Silver ferrule. Silver imprint. Soft graphite.

Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (4)
These pencils have six sides with rounded edges. The body is that really neat barcode - and I guess it's something you could love or hate. As they said, the ferrule is silver (I have learned some pencil terminology, my apologies for my previous ignorance), along with the debossed print on the body, which I think is a nice contrast to the black eraser and the overall dark grey color scheme of the barcode.

I feel like this pencil does not have the same sexiness factor that the Classic has, because it's not as stealthy, but I do think the barcode concept is interesting.
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (6)
HOW I USE PENCILS

One thing my pal suggested was to preface the review with letting you know how I use pencils, because I'm very new to wood case pencil reviews. How do I use pencils? I try to draw with them. I am not an artist. I cannot draw, but I try. I find that softer pencils make me feel like I can draw better than I can. I do not like the feeling of hard, barely visible, light lead that doesn't really shade or vary with pressure. I like leads that provide variation with angle and pressure, that shade, that catches on toothy paper. I like to hand-letter with pencils. I don't really write with them (neither short notes or long letters), and I know a lot of people do, but I stick mainly to lettering, drawing, and doodling. I feel like soft leads are more forgiving of my mistakes.
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (7)
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (19)
I don't really carry pencils around with me - they're the utensil I keep at home and doodle with while watching a movie, while on the phone, or whatever else I'm doing where my hands are free. As such, I don't need my pencils to be very rough and tough, hardy, and durable. They're pretty safe at home, so if they're pretty and too big to fit in a pencil case, that's ok, because it works for me. At some point, I want to start carrying them around, and I'm looking into a bullet pencil, but I don't understand them at all. If you're a bullet pencil expert, help me out please!
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (14)
I don't use the erasers constantly, except to erase in my doodling, so while I do give the eraser on the pencil a test, I don't care much if it leaves trace behind.

PERFORMANCE & FEEL

As with the Classic Blackwings, I have used the Palomino pencil sharpener that Bureau Direct also sent for me - the KUM Automatic Long Point. The instructions on the box are: 1. Shape the wood 2. Then the lead. It works well, producing pretty, sharp points, but not very long points. Pay attention to not shape the wood too much. If the lid is closed and the container is full of shavings, you can't see how far you're sharpening, so either empty often, or sharpen and check regularly. It has been pointed out that my point was not pointy! Well, it was, but it was not very long. I am supposed to put it in the first slot, turn it until the lead runs into the stop and the pencil doesn't move any further, then move into the second slot and repeat. I thought I did that, but I obviously didn't. This is why pencil users giving feedback is helpful. I tried to get a long point. Is this considered a long point? I don't feel like this is very long. I might have to resort to sharpening with a knife.
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Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (17)
I tried the pencil out on three different papers to present here, in addition to my regular scribbling on other papers - Field Notes, tracing paper, Moleskine, Moleskine Art Plus, and others. The three papers, in order of smoothest to toothiest: Rhodia, Versanote Journal, and my favorite for pencils - the Clairefontaine Graf-It Sketch Pad.

Performance on smooth paper is boring and I wouldn't do it unless I had no choice. The lead is soft and feels like it's slipping around on smooth paper, resulting in messy, inconsistent lines. I don't like it at all. The lead also comes out light, and a lot of pressure must be applied to get an intense look. While this is something one could do, the lead is too soft to handle a lot of pressure, especially if it has just been sharpened - the sharp tip will break if you exert too much pressure right on it. No big deal, but probably not something you want to do repeatedly. The bright side of smooth paper is the lead erases more easily than on toothy paper.
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (12)
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (13)
Medium toothy to toothy paper is a lot more fun to write and draw on. The lead comes out a lot darker, and the tooth shows variation in the texture a lot better. By changing your angle and pressure while writing/drawing, you can change your line width and lead darkness (to an extent anyway). This makes drawing a lot of fun, as well as things like hand-lettering, where you need a variation in lead and lines.
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (10)
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (11)
Since the pencil performs and feels best on toothy paper, it is obvious it is meant for sketching and drawing. The soft lead will require frequent sharpening and shaping, but if you know this going into it, there's no reason you can't enjoy it (except that you need to buy more, I guess). Soft lead also can lead to messy smudges, particularly for left-handed overwriters.
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (15)
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (20)
I include this from my Classic review, because it remains relevant: the eraser isn't too bad. The small, flat size makes it easier to erase more accurately. I suppose Palomino thought of that when it was designed. It is a refillable eraser as well, which takes all the stress out of using it. I used to hate using my pencil eraser when I was younger because once it was gone, it was gone forever. And then the sharp edges of the metal would scratch me. These erasers remove light lines better than dark, intense lines. It also erasers better on smooth paper rather than toothy paper. It functions well for quick erasing jobs, although I carry a second eraser for bigger areas.

PROS
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (16)
CONS
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (18)
OVERALL
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (9)
I think this is a really cool pencil. I cannot compare to the 602 and Pearl, or many other pencils just yet, but I thoroughly enjoy the toothy, sketchy experience, and the soft lead. It's very tactile and pleasant, and I find it very creatively-stimulating. Although the 1138 is a limited edition, it could appeal to sci-fi peoples out there, right? If not, the Classic is a back up. I thank Bureau Direct for parting with one of these special boxes, just so I could see how I felt about them. They're solid folks.
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (21)
The next pencil-like reviews I'm working on are: Palomino Blackwing 602, Palomino Blackwing Pearl, and Kaweco Clutch Sketch Up 5.6 mm lead holder. I know these are not all in the same category, but they are all pencily, right? If you have a preference for what you would like to see next, let me know in the comments below! I'm having a blast trying to review pencils, and trying to figure out what is worth reviewing in a pencil. It's been so much fun that I've spent twice the amount of time playing with the pencils over pens. Who am I? What is happening?
Review @Palomino Blackwing 1138 Limited Edition Pencil @BureauDirect (5)
I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. I also extend my gratitude to my buddy for providing me with such useful suggestions, which I hope has improved this pencil review. 

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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