May 21, 2006

Blackwing Scavenger Hunt...


So it seems a fellow story artist(who judging from his profile is a dead ringer for Gary Busey)has announced a truly worthy scavenger hunt: a search for hidden Blackwing pencils. To participate, one need be in or around Burbank, California, alas--but what a concept!

In one of my earliest posts I waxed rhapsodic on my eponymous writing instrument, the Blackwing: "Half the pressure, Twice the speed" is the motto punched in gold against the grey wood. If you go back to my first month's posts you can find it, if interested. It's a special pencil, long discontinued, and always sought-after; a favorite of animators back in the day, and to the present. I can't wait till Mr. Bread gets his first clues up.

I'm going to recuse myself from actually hunting, as I already have what I think is a fair share of these babies, but the rest of you so inclined--good luck!

8 comments:

floyd norman said...

I was introduced to the Blackwing pencil in 1956 at the Walt Disney Studio. Seems it was the choice of many of the animation artists back then.

I put down my Blackwing when I moved to Disney's story department where most of us used grease pencils or China markers. The "Old Man" preferred this because our drawings had to be simple and bold. I'll always miss my Blackwing though.

RoboTaeKwon-Z said...

I loved Blackwings!!! I used to grab 'm by the fistful when I worked at Disney in th 90's. Today, I think I posses 4.
Why do they always discontinue the GOOD artsupplies? I'd love an explanation as to why this pencil is no longer made.

Jenny said...

Hey Floyd-I can well imagine missing drawing with this elegant pencil--but I'll bet you had a ball with those china markers, eh? I love the look of those boards from that time!


Robo'--check out the second link in my post-second paragraph(if you come back here and happen to reread this): that link actually has the full scoop on the supposed reasons why it was discontinued(of coure, it's always--money). But it's true--this, the Blaisdell, all the great ones seem to disappear--it stinks!

mark kennedy said...

even the Berol China Markers and Berol black Prismacolors - long my instruments of choice - were ruined when Sanford bought them out and changed the "formula". I contacted Sanford several times but they deny that they changed the way the pencils are made.

Jenny said...

That's interesting, Mark. I thought I'd noticed a difference in the Prismacolors, starting several years ago...I'd have to really concentrate to think when--but I too would swear they're not the same texture or makeup they were 15 years ago, no way! What a colossal drag.
The china markers I'm just not as familiar with--but nothing would suprise me; would you say offhand that they're "drier" than they used to be? That's how they seem to me. No flow--not like they should have. I'd just bet that fi there's a cheaper way to produce anything, that's of course what a company will do--and it always shows. : (

mark kennedy said...

Yeah, the china markers are dry and scratchy and the seem more brittle. The Dixon brand china markers are o.k. but they're TOO waxy. Some people over here wnet through a phase where we used Crayola black crayons but they're too light for my taste.
Ah well.....we certainly sound like big tempermental babies, don't we? Just draw the godamned thing with a stick dipped in India Ink already!

Anonymous said...

The Dick Williams Studio in the early 70's swore by the Mars Omnichrom black grease pencil, but that got discontinued decades ago. The version one finds now can barely write on a cel, which is what Williams and company did with them when animating things like "A Christmas Carol" (the only animated cartoon to win both the Emmy and the Oscar, as far as I know, and still not available on DVD). I worked with that pencil in the seventies, drawing directly on cel, and it was a hoot! What texture, what remarkable control! About the only pencil still made from that time seems to be the Berol Draughting, which translates to about a 4B. Hanna-Barbera used it when still animating and assisting in this country. It wasn't as good as a Blackwing, but what is?

Anonymous said...

I was introduced to blackwing pencils by a screenwriter at MGM in the 50's and early 60's. It was the only pencil he would use, and the only one I can use. Alas, I have only one left.