Coloured Pencils

Caran D’Ache Luminance 6901





Caran D’Ache’s Luminance 6901 pencils are the Rolls Royce of coloured pencils. They conform to the highest international standard of lightfastness (ATSM-D 6901) and they look stunning. Natural cedar wood, rounded barrels with the colour tip matching the cores. They come in 76 colours are expensive at around £170.00 for the box of 76. They come in a silver tin with a silver tray separating the levels. It is also worth mentioning that they are wax-based pencils.

The pencils themselves are lovely to work with: firm, creamy and dense. Some people find them scratchy and on soft paper, they can be. But I like harder papers like Mi-Tientes and Murano and they perform very well on those. Are they worth the price tag? Yes and No. Yes because they are fantastic. And No, because I am too scared to use them!

Caran D’Ache Supracolor Soft



Soft like Prismas, Caran D’Ache’s Supracolour Soft Aquarelle’s have a high pigment quality, are highly lightfast and come in 120 colours. They are quite subtle colours and have a very delicate water wash which can be built nicely.

They come in 120 colours and in various metal and wooden collections.

I find these to be very natural, earthy colours, which makes them good for landscapes. I have the wooden box of 80 and unlike most wooden boxes the tray doesn’t lift out but slides up as the box opens. It’s rather slick. Much like the pencils.

Please, however, see my Watercolour Word of Warning post in June 2014.

Caran D’Ache Museum Aquarelle




New kids on the block, the Caran D’Ache Museum Aquarelles are what the people at Caran D’Ache call “watercolours in the form of a pencil”. What you actually get are gorgeous, thick pencils, dressed in matt black with the lightfastness information on the barrel. They are hexagonal barrels for easy grip. Thick, dense colour turns to thick, dense paint when you add water.

Currently these come in a box of 12 standard colours (2 of each colour group), a landscape box of 20 and a portrait box of 20. There is also a wooden box of 76 colours. They are very expensive – around £28 for a box of 12. Are they worth it? Dry – possibly. Wet – definitely.

Please, however, see my Watercolour Word of Warning post in June 2014.

Caran D’Ache Prismalo



Available in 80 colours, Caran D’Ache’s Prismalo is a watercolour pencil range with strong, break resistant 3mm cores. Like other artist ranges from Caran D’Ache, they are extremely lightfast with strong pigments. When water is added they have a subtle wash of colour. The pencils shafts are self-coloured and are hexagonal for an easy grip. I find them to be very similiar in feel to Faber-Castell’s Albrecht Durer coloured pencils, less chunky and densely pigmented, but subtle and solid.

They are also not terribly expensive – the tin box of 80 is roughly about £75.00. A good, reasonable choice.

Please, however, see my Watercolour Word of Warning post in June 2014.

Caran D’Ache Pablo





Caran D’Ache’s Pablo pencils are water resistant and come in a range of 120 pencils. Unfortunately I could only afford the box of 80, but those are more than enough to suit my needs. Pablos have a high lightfast rating and what most sellers call an “excellence luminance”.

The pencils have hexagonal barrels and are self-coloured with gold detailing – much like the Albrecht Durers and Polychromos. The main difference with the Pablos is the core – it is much harder than the other Caran D’Aches and they sharpen to a very hard, fine point making them perfect for botanical drawing or subjects with very fine detail.

IMG_1528A box of 80 should cost around £110.00.




Bruynzeel Sakura By Design



These pencils come in a lovely, sturdy, 4-drawer box. They come in 48 colours with slim wooden barrels with the core colour tips at the end. The cores are highly-pigmented and lay down thick and fast. They are also very well priced at around £30 for the box of 48.

As an aside, I work in a school and pupils that go on to take art in upper school are asked to buy this very box for their own use in class. Reasonable and good quality – that’s what you buy these pencils for.

Bruynzeel Sakura By Design Aquarel




Much like the dry versions of these pencils, these are stored, priced and look exactly the same. The only difference is that these are the watercolour version. A little water and you get nice, subtle washes.

Please, however, see my Watercolour Word of Warning post in June 2014.


Cretacolor Marino




These are decent pencils: metallic blue, rounded barrels with the core colours tipped at the end. They are reasonably priced (approx. £1.00 per pencil) and with a little bit of water you get nice washes. Not terribly exciting but good little pencils for sketches and thumbnails.

Please, however, see my Watercolour Word of Warning post in June 2014.


Cretacolor Karmina




Like the Marinos, these are good pencils. An odd plum coloured, hexagon barrel with the core colours tipped at the end. They lay down well and have a nice range of colours. They are also quite well priced at £12.00 for 12 pencils.


Derwent Coloursoft





Derwent claim this is the UK’s softest coloured pencil and it certainly is very soft indeed, not quite in the same league as Prismas, but pretty close. They come in 72 colours and very handsome round-barreled, dark burgandy livery.

They lay down very dense, intense and buttery pigment. Derwent do say that they sharpen and hold a fine point. This is a bit of a stretch, they do sharpen well but they blunt quite quickly and need to be sharpened quite often, especially on any kind of textured paper. I really like to layer them and then smoosh all the colours together, creating a thick paint-like look.

They are very well priced – you can get a box of 72 for about £60.00 which is really too good to say no to.

The lightfast ratings are very similar to a lot of the Derwent range in that they hover around 7/8, but in the lights (yellows, pinks, violets) you will find 2/3s. So be careful!

Derwent Studio



Derwent’s thin, hard-cored pencils which are great for botanical paintings and fine, detailed work.

Derwent say that these have the same pigment cores as the Artists range but in a finer, crisper, more precise delivery.

They come in 72 colours at around £50.00 and I have to say this, in the interest of fairness, they are not the most lightfast pencils you could buy. Some 8s, but a lot of 4s even in the darker side, and a lot of 1s especially in the light pinks, violets, yellows…be warned.

The Studio line is hexagonal barrelled giving you a better grip, which you’ll need as these hard, fine pencils are great for detailed work. For a hard pencil, they are surprisingly creamy and smooth, especially over cold-press support. It’s almost linear, the surface, which makes covering it a little hard work. But a few layers of these Studio pencils and I got a lovely warm cover of beautiful colour. I can say that the Studio pencils blend seamlessly. I got a smooth and warm transition of colours.

Derwent Drawing



Only 24 in the range?! Yes, but like the sonnet these force the artist to play, to adapt and invent creating wonderful landscapes and portraits. Derwent’s Drawing pencils are the softest pencils you will find – a cross between pencil and wax pastel, they lay down like cream and have the yummiest muted colours. They fast became a favourite with landscape and portrait artists on their release.

Coffees, chocolates, earthy reds, moody seas and cloudy skies – these are the things that Drawing dreams of. They are also great for fur as they are soft and dense and natural. They all carry a lightfast rating of 8 (BW) except for the Ink Blue at 7 – which means your paintings will be around for quite some time. Around £20 for the 24 pencils.

Derwent Artists




The first Derwent coloured pencils, developed in the 1930s and appropriately the first Derwent pencils I bought. These stalwarts are round-barrelled, feature a wide core and come 120 colours. My box also is the fancy-schmancy wooden box that Derwent do so well. These are wax-based pencils and are great for blending and layering. These are your workhorse pencils. Any complaints? Only minor ones. Sometimes the casings are poor – crumbly varnish, inconsistent livery, and sometimes, just sometimes, the pencils are tricky to sharpen. Use a battery-operated sharpener for less problems. The Magenta is a stunning colour and the range of greens are lovely for botanical work. These are well-priced, around £130 for 120 pencils in the wooden box.

Derwent Inktense



The introduction of this range was big news. Vibrant, jewel-like colours, they brought about a revolution in the coloured pencil world. When water was added the pigments became ink-like, they were permanent too which meant once diluted they would stay on the page and couldn’t be lifted off. They came with an outliner pencils too which was water-resistant – no bleeding!

The outliner is lovely – like a graphite pencil but oh-so smooth. Handsome livery too – dark royal blue with gold detailing. High lightfastness on the darker end of the range with 3/4s at the lighter end – something to consider. And they can be used on fabrics like silk. The pinks and purples are eye-poppingly decadent.

All this and so well-priced. You can get a box of 72 on a certain jungle-y retailer for about £60.

Please, however, see my Watercolour Word of Warning post in June 2014.


Derwent Watercolour (old)






Derwent Watercolour (new)







Thankfully, Derwent saw sense to update and revise these watercolour pencils. Previously they came in headache-inducing livery and were scratchy, watery and pale. Now we have a much better dark blue livery, hexagon barrels, and lovely smooth lay down of colour with nice washes.

Please, however, see my Watercolour Word of Warning post in June 2014.


Derwent Signature



Derwent’s Signature range were heralded at the very best pencils that you could buy. The highest lightfastness, the finest pigments and the most luxurious pencils. With a price tag to match. But they didn’t do well, coloured pencil artists either weren’t ready or they were hooked on their Prismas – unable to let go. And Signature were discontinued. You can still get them on eBay at inflated prices. They are lovely though – like Luminance in appearance and nice, dense colours with some of the oddest colour names.

Derwent Signature Watercolour



In appearance, these are very like the Signature coloured pencils. But with a little water you get a nice wash of colour. Dry, though, these pencils seems denser and more colourful  than their dry counterparts.

Please, however, see my Watercolour Word of Warning post in June 2014.

Derwent Aquatone




These babies are all core. No wood. Derwent claim that this delivery gives you 4 times more usable material than a traditional coloured pencil. They come in 24 colours and can be used wet or dry. You can peel back the paper cover too and use them in broad sweeps.

Not bad lightfastness – mostly 7s and 8s, but there are a few 4s and 5s and the Burnt Carmine, which is a lovely colour indeed is a 3. Around £20 for 24 pencils.

Please, however, see my Watercolour Word of Warning post in June 2014.


Derwent Graphitint




Graphite and colour! And handsome too. These pencils are metallic charcoal, round-barreled and come in 24 colours for around £30.00. Dry they are just good graphite pencils with a small hint of colour. Wet with a little water and you get a nice wash of natural colours. These are fun and experimental.

Please, however, see my Watercolour Word of Warning post in June 2014.


Dick Blick Studio








Dick Blick is a major art retailer in America and they brought out their own line of pencils to rival Prismas stronghold on the American market. A very nice member of the WetCanvas art forum agreed to send me a box in return for some of my more UK-based supplies. These are very standard pencils – round-barreled, self-coloured and they come in a standard tin, But they have really good cores with bright, creamy pigment. They work well and are very pleasing but you can’t quite get the depth of colour that you get with Prismas and that’s a shame.

Faber-Castell Polychromos










For all-round wonderfulness, these oil-based pencils (so you don’t get the dreaded wax bloom) are my favorite coloured pencils. They tick every box. I have the box of 120. The tin looks great; in the traditional dark green of Faber-Castell, the trays, though plastic but felt-backed, lift out aided by elastic pulls. The pencils are self-coloured in the colour of the pencil, ringed and detailed in gold and have chunky cores. Most have a high lightfast rating. The colour laydown is perfect with strong pigments and they layer very well. The range of reds, pinks and purples is lovely. I can’t fault them. You couldn’t get a better box, if you only buy one set, I’d recommend this. You can often get the box of 120 for around the £100 mark which is absolutely a bargain. Many Prisma die-hards are embracing and dedicating themselves to Polys now.

Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer










I love these pencils just as much as I love Faber-Castell’s Polychromos. They are thick, chunky and a pleasure to hold. The packaging is the same as the Polychromos and the pencils are thick-cored, self-coloured, gold-detailed and have hexagonal barrells. Again, I am fortunate to have the 120 box and you can see that covers pretty much every colour and shade that you would want.

But these are watercolours and you get to play with them a little more. The same strong pigment, the same laydown quality, but with the added joy of being able to add water to obtain painterly effects. Perfect for applying a solid base colour and painting on the top with dry pencils.

Around £120 for 120 pencils.

Koh-I-Noor Polycolor Hardtmuth



Koh-I-Noor have a reputation for selling high quality art materials at very, very affordable prices and I have to agree with them. These Polycolors are lovely: dense, rich colour and at £10 for 12 pencils you just can’t say no. Add them to your usual pencils, use them for bases and backgrounds – you won’t regret buying them.


Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth Mondeluz



Exactly like their Polycolor siblings, these are reliable, pleasing and reasonably priced. You get great pencils for the money. And with water you get a nice wash  of colour that isn’t wishy-washy by any means.



Koh-I-Noor Woodless Progresso



These pencils are all pencil core with a very fine film of plastic as a cover. A great selection of colours and they cover large areas fast. They come in 24 colours for around £30.00 and in a tray that houses each pencil. Great fun and great for expressive pieces or backgrounds.


Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor








I love the Lyra Splender so I had to try the Lyra Rembrandt Polycolors to see if they were as good. I have the 72 tin: standard tin, plastic trays, cardboard pull out handles – but it does come with 2 Splenders. The pencils themselves are slim, wooden shaft and matching tip to the colour pencil. The detailing is black and the pencil information is on the latter half of the pencil.

The pigment is strong and most of these pencils have a high lightfast rating. They lay down smooth and their colour is dense. They blend well. I can’t really criticize these in anyway, such a little workhorse are they. At 72 (and only £65 roughly), in the range though, they could be wider, but I’d be hard pushed to see what they are missing over other ranges like Faber-Castell Polychromos at 120. Great choice of colour, great blendability. What more could you ask for?

Lyra Skintones




These pencils are ridiculously large – child-like, hand-grabby large but they are brilliant. Wooden, hexagonal barrels encase thick, smooth, creamy cores covering every skin colour you could desire. I like using the darker shades to build up darks in my pictures and the black is great for burnishing. Brilliant pencils.


Royal Talens Van Gogh




These are disappointing. Not for any great reason other than they are just very standard in every way. Basic, self-coloured pencils, reliable and predictable colours which lay down as expected. Nothing sparkly and while they are a good addition to your collection, they are not a necessary addition.

Sanford Karisma








I feel like I should say this is in a booming voice “Before there was Prismas…there was Karismas!”. Yes, before Prismas the coloured pencils of choice were Karismas. And they were superior in every way. Beautiful pencils: wooden livery, wedge-cut at the ends to reveal the core, dense, creamy, bright, strong colours. But getting hold of them now is expensive. I paid around £80 for a box of 36 untouched pencils…and now I am too scared to actually use them. Sod’s law.

Sanford Prismacolor Premiers







Nearly every single art instruction book recommends these pencils. This is for a number of reasons: they are relatively cheap in the artist’s grade pencil shop, they are super-soft and super-blendable and in most places (not here in the UK though) you can get them very easily and in open-stock – if you live in America. Prismacolours are wax-based pencils.

Now, the pencils are good: strong pigment, buttery soft and very easy to blend. I can see why they are the number 1 choice in books. Costs are cut in the presentation though. The pencils look bog-standard. The writing is mismatched (possibly a reflection of these being readily available in open-stock leading UK stockists to create their own collections for sale), they smell a bit odd (sickly sweet) and they come in plastic trays that interlock to fit into the very standard tin. If you don’t interlock these just so, then you can’t get the lid on.The pencils are self-coloured, matching the core.

But…and it’s a big BUT, we are concerned with the core and the Prisma’s core is a delight. Particular favourites are Clay Rose and Black Grape.

Until you go to sharpen them. I have gone from using expensive battery-operated sharpeners to hand held little metal ones and still the pencils core fails to remain intact. I get about 60-70% use out of the pencils due to breakage. It is very frustrating.

Sanford Prismacolor Watercolor



These hark back to Karismas in looks, Prismas at the core and watercolour paint in the wash. I bought this box of 12 for £10 after being surprised by them in a card craft shop where I was buying supplies for school. Bright colours, thick washes and so far no sharpening issues.


Sanford Prismacolor Verithin



These Verithins are the same cores as normal Prismas but thinner cores and hexagonal barrels. I find them to be poorer though and while they claim to have the same core, I can’t quite believe that. They seem so waxy that they glide on paper without leaving much pigment behind. I tend to use them now for blending normal Prismas or detailing fine areas before going over the area again with Prismas. Or whiskers. Or small touches of fur to break up the line between background and subject.


31 Responses to Coloured Pencils

  1. Higor says:

    Managed to do it 🙂 its the portrait of a green-eyed gal WIP.

  2. Higor says:

    *edit* Hey I was wondering, do you know if its possible to get the Koh i Noor Mondeluz (Watercolour Pencils) in open stock?

    • SalemSkye says:

      Hi – I don’t know of anywhere that sells them in open stock, that may be because they are fairly inexpensive to begin with. Certainly the cheapest I have found are on eBay or Amazon. Maybe you could try a set of 12 to begin with?

      • Higor says:

        Hm… Just a curiosity to be honest. Thanks again! Also, are you ok WetCanvas? If so, by what name?

        • SalemSkye says:

          I am, Salemskye. I like to be diverse!

          • Higor says:

            Hahaha, mine is really creative too! “Higor Alves” Come to think of it… *checks post on WetCanvas* yup, you helped welcome me to the forum. Now to figure out how to upload something, *scratches chin*

          • SalemSkye says:

            😀 It’s easy to do that, your picture just has to be small and when you write your message, click the wee mountain picture icon, then add your file and click on it to post. WC is a great resource for artists and I visit it daily even though I don’t always post.

  3. Higor says:

    Thanks for your patience, but I’m gonna stretch my luck here.. XD You said before that you find the Coloursofts soft and creamy. While I do find them to be soft, I feel they are quite chalky.. Could it be the paper I am using or just a difference in the phrasing of our opinions? If the latter, by “on the dry side of creamy” do you mean that the Lyras are even chalkier? I promise that that was the end of my vigorous interrogation.

    • SalemSkye says:

      No problem, I like talking about pencils and paper! You are right, Coloursoft can be chalky and crumbly depending on what paper you are using. On Stonehenge they are good. Mi-Tientes not too back, but anything smoother and they can be disappointing. They are not a good substitute for Prismas as much as Derwent would like them to be. The Lyras are great on smooth paper but on rough paper like Mi-Tientes I found them to be hard work. They are rubbery – if that makes sense to you. They act in an odd way on the paper, drag and rubbery. On smooth though, no problem. If I remember right, someone commented on my blog that if they got a little bit of heat they became rubbery but cold and they were fine, so maybe it’s my storage issue (which I have recently changed). Hope that helps and don’t worry about interrogating me – I could talk pencils all day!

  4. Higor says:

    Hey! This is useful stuff! I just have some (i.e. LOADS OF) questions; how hard are the Lyra Polycolors compared to the Derwent Coloursoft and Artists? (The two I have handled) Also, how transparent are they? Opaque like Prismacolors or really transparent? And how blendable compared to Prismas? It’s just that I’m in doubt between buying a set of Polychromos and a set of Prismacolors or the Polychromos with the Polycolors. Ultimately, how do the Lyra Polycolors and the Prismacolors compare, and is it worth buying the Polychromos AND one of these two?
    (A previous post of mine isn’t appearing here so i posted again to be sure XD) Thanku!
    P.S. If you ever feel like giving some away, I’m here for you, hahaha

    • SalemSkye says:

      Thank you – I like to be useful! Polycolors sit in between the Coloursoft (soft and creamy) and Artists (very hard but not dry). They are slightly soft and on the drier side of creamy. The are slightly more opaque than Prismas but not as transparent as the Artists. Not as blendable as the Prismas – but nothing is as blendable as those. Apart from the sharpening issues/core breaking issues with the Prismas, you just can’t beat them. I would pick your Prismas/Polychromos combination over any other combination. But it all depends on the paper you are using too. What supports do you normally use?

      • Higor says:

        To be honest, at the moment, nearly anything I have in “the drawer”; i.e. nothing special. I’m in more of a prolonged practice session than doing finished drawings. However, when I do want to do a finished drawing, any thick (~300 gsm), hot or cold pressed watercolour paper (depending on what I plan to do). Now that you mention it, I was actually planning on buying a few sheets of Canson mi Teintes to try out. Any opinions? And thanks for the help, I appretiate the opinions of fellow “observers of the world” (as I like to call artists(if I can call myself that)). (I like to use parenthesis).

        • SalemSkye says:

          Mi-Tientes is probably my favourite support to work on closely followed by Daler Rowney Murano. They are both quite toothy and robust and work well under my heavy hand when layering. Plus you get both in a wide selection of colours. If you don’t like the toothy side then the back of it is smoother. It’s also fairly inexpensive.

  5. Andreia says:

    Great blog! Really helped me decide what to buy!

  6. simon says:

    Thank you for the illuminating overview – just what I was looking for! 🙂 Lately, I’ve been scouring the net as to what coloured pencils to buy next. I own the Polychromos and a set of very hard Derwents. I love them, but am rather jealous when reading my books on c.p.s or watching videos, at how some pencils seem to be so buttery smooth and blend almost like oil colours. And so I’ve decided to buy and try some. Now, I’m still a bit confused as to which to choose – Prismacolours seem to be all about smoothness, but I’m worried about the quality (lightfastness, wax-bloom, breaking, etc.). Generally, oil-based pencils seem better with regards to quality, but are there any that are as smooth and easy to blend as the Prismacolours? And, if you were to choose wax-based pencils, would you get Prismacolours or the Derwents? It would be really great, if you could give me some additional pointers. 🙂

    • SalemSkye says:

      Thanks very much for your kind comments. I am guessing that your hard Derwents are Artists or Studio? I like them both too. Polychromos are the best oil-based pencils. Choosing between Prismas or Derwents – I guess Coloursofts? That’s a difficult one. If you are looking at lightfastness, then both have fugitive pencils and I would probably favour the Prismas. Wax-bloom is an issue with both but as long as you are using a fixative then you shouldn’t have much of a problem. Quality – that’s easy, the Coloursofts win. They are reliable, sharpen well and the cores don’t break too much. Prismas are appalling; the cores break all the time, casing splits and they don’t hold a point very long. Some of that can be fixed by blasting them in the microwave for a few seconds – make sure it is just that as some contain metal paint on the barrel. But if I really had to choose, I would go for the Prismas because when they do work, they are unbeatable. Soft, smooshy pigment that layers and blends wonderfully and gives you a painterly, smooth thickness to your piece. They are both much of a muchness money wise. But if money isn’t a concern, then have you looked at Caran D’Ache’s Luminance 6901? No lightfastness issues, no poor quality issues, beautifully smooth wax based cores. But boy, do you pay for them! Hope this helps and let me know how you get on.

  7. Nathalie says:

    You should have a look for the Koh i noor magic pencils! I got them last weekend and the really look magic with different colors in one lead. Have to try them more still.

    • SalemSkye says:

      I have never heard of these before, they look like a lot of fun. They remind me of the 4 colours in 1 Lyra pencil which is good. I’ll have to get a hold of these though – Koh-i-Noor are fantastic at providing good quality art materials at reasonable prices. Thanks for bringing them to my attention and visiting my blog.

  8. Bronte says:

    You have a hugeeee collection of pencils! How do you get to use them all? Thank you very much for these reviews, I found it very helpful, I own a 72 set of Derwent Watercolour Pencils, and Artists Pencils (and a 48 set of coloursoft). I use the watercolours exclusively, because they are a lot easier to apply (than the Artists, which are extremely waxy) and the fact that you can blend the colours easier with water. I agree completely with your review on the Coloursoft pencils! The sharpened points blunt so quickly it is a nuisance to use them, and though I brought mine brand new, from an expensive art shop, the colour in some pencils did not apply easily, it had gone hard? This also occurred with my set of Derwent Pastel Pencils. Was wondering if you had any idea how to soften the core/pigment so that it was usable again? Thanks again for sharing this review 🙂

    • SalemSkye says:

      Hi Bronte – I don’t get to use them all, that’s the simple answer! I wish I did but I really just like to try lots of different brands and makes to see how they perform and one day I might just find my favourite ever pencil. I do choose which pencil to use based on the subject and support of my piece but generally I stick to a select few: Polychromos, Prismas (when they don’t break), Lyra Rembrandts. I agree about the Derwent Artists range – they are very waxy and take a patient and light hand to get the best out of them, but I do like their firmness. I rarely use Watercolour pencils, but only because I am not confident enough with wet media. I like the intensity of Derwents Inktense range and use them for more fun, loose projects rather than coloured pencil pieces. If I use Watercolour pencils, I tend to use them dry just like regular pencils, kind of defeats the purpose of them but they often lay down better than regular dry pencils. Caran D’Ache Supracolor are a prime example of this.

      Alas, Derwent do have a problem with dry, crusty, filmed pencils occasionally – I don’t know why it happens. I notice it the most in the Pastel pencil range and the Artists. Sharpening down helps, sandpapering off the film helps, but if all else fails Derwent are more than happy to replace the offending pencils if you send them with a covering letter.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment on my site and if there is anything you would like me to look at, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I like having a purpose!

  9. Alexandra says:

    Thanks for this awesome review, so detailed and extensive. It helped me choose my pencils and I have just ordered Derwent Drawing Pencils and a set of Polychromos as well.
    For some time I have had Koh-i-Noor Mondeluz pencils ( the watercolor pencils you mentioned in your review), a set of 24, and I quite like them, most of the colours are really nice. They are sort of breakable but otherwise they are ok, especially for the price.

    • SalemSkye says:

      I am really pleased that my thoughts helped you. You have picked some good pencils – the Polys you just can’t go wrong with and the Drawing pencils are very different – good fun. Koh-i-Noor pencils are amazing quality for the price – get a Maped sharpener (the Vivo if you can get it, if not another line) and you may find that he pencils break less. I am very impressed with Maped sharpeners – cheap but very effective. Thanks for visiting! Do come back and let me know how you get on with your new pencils when you get them! Happy drawing.

  10. Fiona says:

    Hi SalemSkye;
    On the previous comment, I mean to write ” lead” instead of ” core”.
    So my question was , how would you compare the lead’s soft/hardness of Koh-i-Noor polycolor with Faber Castell polychromos?
    Many thanks!!

    • SalemSkye says:

      Fiona, thanks so much for visiting my site. Sorry for the delay in replying but a combination of moving house and the festive period took me away from my site for far too long, something I am to remedy in 2012. I have answered your question in a blog post as I wanted to give you a full answer – hope that’s ok! I hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas and all the best for 2012.

  11. Fiona says:

    Thank you SalemSkye for all these photos of your color pencils, your website is very informative and your artworks are so lovely.
    Do you think Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth Polycolor set of 72 would be suitable for botanical drawings? what’s the soft/hardness of their core compare to Faber-Castell polychromos? which oil based color pencil would you recommend for doing finer drawings?
    Thanks so much for your put.
    Wish You A Happy Holiday Season!

  12. Futural says:

    Greetings from Colombia,
    I would like to ask you, based on your experience, which brand do you think is the softest dry color pencil, and if you know if the Mitsubishi Uni Color Pencil from japan is wax or oil based?
    Thanks for your attention.

    • SalemSkye says:

      Welcome from Scotland. The softest coloured pencil, I think, is Derwent’s Coloursoft. Of course many artists use and swear by Prismacolor, insisting that they are the softest, but in my experience and what I have heard from some coloured pencil artists, the Coloursoft is much softer, some even say too soft. As for the Mitsubishi Uni coloured pencil, I haven’t tried it at all as it is way too expensive to get a hold of, but from what I know of it, that the parent company/distributor is Sanford, who also owns Prismacolor, and they look very much like Prismas, I would hazard a guess that they are then wax-based coloured pencils.

  13. elaine says:

    Mouthwatering! Thanks for his post. It is an excellent resource. May I ask what paper you made the swatches on? The colours look superb on it.

    • SalemSkye says:

      I use 300gsm Cold Press Watercolour paper – I buy the postcard A6 size in bulk and use them for swatches, doodles, ideas etc. You can get them on eBay for very good prices. Mind you, I buy 100 and think they’ll last me for a year and they don’t! Just as well they are reasonably priced. Thanks for visiting!

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