After hearing about Blackwing pencils for half my life, I have FINALLY bought some recently and am in love with them! Blackwings were these really awesome pencils that animators adored, and then they were suddenly discontinued in 1998! *gasp!* For many years I heard stories about how wonderful they were, and finally in 2010 another manufacturer decided to make a version as close as possible to the original. Then in 2011, they made one even closer to the original, which is the one pictured above. There is also another kind of Blackwing pencils with a white eraser. I haven't seen or tried them. You can check it out here: Blackwing Pencil
The Blackwing 602 are truly beautiful pencils, and the lead just glides across the paper like velvet. You have to have a light, delicate touch to avoid getting too dark with the lines. Let the pencil "kiss the paper." :) Unless you're a storyboard artist and are going for fast, bold sketches. But beware, it can smudge quite a bit, especially if you use it in a sketchbook. It is also great for tapering lines from thick to thin.
If you would like to hear about the sentimental value these Blackwing pencils have for animators, check out Jenny Lerew's blog post from 2005: http://blackwingdiaries.blogspot.com/2005/11/why-my-blog-is-titled-as-it-is.html
If you would like to try it out, you can buy a pack at Amazon or Pencils.com for $20. If you would like an original, I'm sorry to say that a pack of vintage pencils sells for over $100 on eBay! :o
Blackwing: Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed