Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Blackwing Volume 3 The Ravi Shankar Pencil

Should you get them? Yes!

The latest Blackwing Volumes pencil for June 2020 is the tribute to Ravi Shankar. If you know my preferences, you'll already know I was attracted to them because of the perfect yellow color! There's more to them, of course.
Blackwing Volume 3 Ravi Shankar 4
Om - waking, dream, and unconscious states of being.  That could be a journal prompt!
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A tribute to the Godfather of World Music.

In June of 1966, George Harrison met maestro Ravi Shankar in Bath, England. Harrison asked Ravi to teach him how to play the sitar, a task Ravi agreed to only after considerable hesitation. Their collaboration resulted in an explosion in the popularity of classical Indian music and instrumentation in the United States and around the world.

Harrison called Ravi “The Godfather of World Music.” Trained in both traditional Hindustani music and classical European theater, Ravi was an artistic genius who influenced countless artists around the world. He infused structure and spectacle into Indian instrumental music and introduced the West to Indian traditions like meditation. He was a true ambassador of India’s rich culture of mindfulness that extended well beyond the stage.

The Blackwing 3 is a tribute to Ravi Shankar on his 100th birthday. It features a matte turmeric finish accented with a pattern inspired by one of Ravi’s iconic sitars. The pattern prominently features the ॐ (Om), a sacred Sanskrit symbol with three phonetic components that correlate to the waking, dream, and unconscious states of being. The Om was an important symbol to Ravi, and served as a constant reminder of the contemplative, spiritual nature of his music. Translated from Hindi, Ravi means “sun,” and this pencil’s gold imprint and ferrule are a meditation on the light he brought into the world through his music and spirit.

We’re excited to announce that a portion of every pack sold will benefit the Ravi Shankar Foundation and their mission to “preserve the diversity of cultures and richness of their arts.” Learn more at RaviShankar.org. - Blackwing
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I didn't even know Blackwing supports different foundations in accordance with the pencil's tribute. That's a beautiful initiative and certainly adds that little something special to sway me. If I needed swaying. Which I don't. But if I did. If this is important to you, splurging on Blackwing pencils might be something that appeals to you and that you feel comfortable doing. If it is not something near and dear to your heart, no big deal either. I think it's one of those intangible touches Blackwing is really good at that makes me want to stick around and support them when I can.
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I used to try to avoid getting stationery items that I would have to use up, like special notebooks, limited edition inks, stickers, and pencils. I'm pretty comfortable with things like refillable notebook covers, refillable pens, paper clips, and the like. However, in part of my "COVID19" learning, I am trying to let go of material items and just learn to enjoy things instead of holding on to them thinking that's best for me. Maybe it's best for someone else but I enjoy using these items, even though I know it will come to an end.
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The turmeric yellow is so bright and happy and warm that it's worth it to me. Not only do they brighten up a picture, they brighten my desk! I have been using them to (attempt to) draw florals, which I find very satisfying even if they don't look quite like what they're supposed to. That's ok. It's a global pandemic and I'll draw poorly if I want to.⁣ I can't draw real things like kumquats and mushrooms and Link but I can draw lines and put them together and make them look like words and that is exactly why I love hand lettering. And I use this as an excuse to get pretty Blackwing 3 pencils as though I *need* them for my "creations". NEED.
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I usually reach for the soft graphite pencils (like the classic black ones) so I only got three of these, thinking the extra-firm graphite would not be my favorite and would last me forever. Well, they're not nearly as firm as I expected them to be. They sharpen easily with the Blackwing Long Point sharpener and I imagine they wouldn't be troublesome with any other quality sharpener. I'm happy about that because I like how they perform. They're very nice for a slightly darker outline and then very light-handed shading/filling.
Blackwing Volume 3 Ravi Shankar 1
Other than attempting to draw, I am using them for hand lettering. Lettering is what I tend to use my pencils for in general but I wanted to get to know the extra-firm graphite a little better. I think the writing samples came out pretty well.
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Blackwing Volume 3 Ravi Shankar 2
With one swipe of the eraser, it erases moderately well. Truly, a light hand gives more than enough legibility but sometimes you might want to change it up. A full eraser would certainly do a better job because you could scrub away a bit. Of course, the paper will affect the erasability and smudginess, too. I found it pretty smudgy when using a flatter piece of the tip. This works out well for hand lettering and my poor drawings. I thoroughly enjoy the graphite for practicing control in handwriting - light upstrokes, normal downstrokes. It's somewhat meditative for me, as all writing seems to be.

I have even started forcing myself to use the erasers. They're replaceable and convenient, so it seems stupid not to use them. They look pretty sad once they are nubbed down a little. They are not the best erasers ever but that's fine, they work in a pinch.

Are they worth the price? If you like pencils, sure, why not? Unless you need hoards of them, having a box of 12 or picking up one or two is not unreasonable. Yes, you will use them up eventually, but why not have something pretty?

If you are local, find yours at Take Note (which is where I found mine)!

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