Greg Simkins

Greg Simkins

Greg “Craola” Semkins, street artist and full-time painter from Los Angeles, CA.

Jes Dory

Jes Dory

Jes Dory is an author and illustrator of young adult fantasy and children’s books.

My Favorite Steinbeck

Our hearts are mending slowly since the passing of Thom Steinbeck last week. He was an inspiration to many, including those members of our team who were fortunate enough to get to know him in the past year.

While we reached out to offer condolences to his family right away, we’ve been struggling for several days with how to properly acknowledge Thom’s passing publicly. The truth is, we became more than just fans. We became his friends.

The first time I met Thom was a revelation. He was cordial, entertaining and immeasurably astute. He spoke like he wrote, in a manner unsuitable of the anonymity that embraced him for so many years.

I left every visit with Thom inspired. His wisdom captivated in a way that is difficult to put into words. If Thom made this kind of impact on me in just nine months, imagine what he meant to so many others.

Though he would never admit it, or even accept such a notion, Thom’s brilliant work was often lost in the shadows of his father’s legacy. He told us once when asked why he waited until so late in life to publish his first book, “They wanted a novel. I kept telling them, the Steinbeck that writes novels is dead. I write short stories.”

I got a chance to tell Thom, and anyone else who would listen, that “Down to a Soundless Sea” is the single best collection of short stories I’ve ever read. Now, the Steinbeck that wrote short stories is gone. May he rest in peace knowing how many people he touched, and that his inspiration will be felt for generations to come.

We hope you will help us honor him by reading his work and supporting a cause he was so passionate about – artists’ rights. You can learn more about both at

Here’s a great clip of Thom talking about being the beneficiary of his father’s used pencils.

Dream Deep National Coloring Book Day

Dream Deep on National Coloring Book Day

Last month, we launched Blackwing Colors, our colored pencils designed specifically for coloring. Well, today is National Coloring Book day, and what better way to celebrate than by throwing some pigment onto a page.

We teamed up with the talented (and awesome!) Bee Stanton to give you something to scribble on if you don’t have a coloring book handy. We’re dreamers, and the notetakers, doodlers, lyric-jotters and draft-makers who use our pencils are too.

Dream deep.

Dream Deep National Coloring Book Day