Before I start my blog about colored pencils I have an announcement to make. My classes at the Society of Decorative Painters’ Conference in Wichita, Kansas are May 15 and 16, 2012. Please read bellow for some important information.
Registration is now open for both of these classes:
This blog is a summary of the pencils I use and my point of view on this matter. Keep in mind that it does not include all the pencils available in the market.
Types of Pencils
There are three types of pencils:
1. Oil based
2. Wax based
3. Water soluble
Pencils that I like to use
A. Sanford Prismacolor
1. Prismacolor Premier (150 colors)- are soft core, wax based pencils. This is the most popular type of pencil because of its wide range of colors and the availability in the market. Most of my pattern packets are done with Prismacolor because I have the student in mind.
2. Prismacolor Verithin (36 colors) – are hard, thin core, wax based. These pencils are excellent for intricate details, making cleaner borders, and lettering.
3. Prismacolor Art Styx (48 colors) – are the same as the Premier but without the wood casing. They are good to cover large areas.
B. Derwent Cumberland
1. Inktense Pencils (72 colors) – water soluble, bright intense colors. Behave like ink. Very hard to erase and might stain paper permanently.
2. Inktense Blocks (72 colors) – the same as the pencils but woodless.
3. Derwent Metallic (12 colors) – These are water soluble but I like to use them dry.
4. Aquatone (24 colors) – These are water soluble pencils that are woodless and are excellent for certain techniques where you scrape the pencil.
5. Graphitint (24 colors) – These are water soluble graphite pencils with a hint of color that do not fade. The color becomes more vibrant when you add water. They are good for drawing.
6. Coloursoft (72 colors) – These are soft core, wax based pencils.
7. Signature Watercolour (40 colors) – water soluble, lightfast pencils
8. Studio (72 colors) – hard core, wax based. These are the same colors as the Artists but slimmer and harder cores. Good for details.
9. Artists (120 colors) – medium- hard core, wax based
10. Sketching (24 tones)- soft, water soluble, good for sketching and drawing
11. Watercolour (72 colors) – water soluble
C. Faber Castell
1. Polychromos (120 colors) – oil based soft core. These are the pencils I like to use for my portraits.
D. Caran d’Ache
1. Pablo (120 colors) – soft core, oil based
2. Luminance (76 colors)-I consider these the Rolls-Royce of pencils. They are soft core, wax based with excellent lightfastness but very pricey.
E. Lyra Rembrandt
1. Polycolor (72 colors) – soft core, oil based
What is lightfastness?
The lightfastness or permanence of a pigment is its resistance to change on exposure to light. The resistance to light will determine the years of life of your work.
Which pencils to buy?
The pencils you will buy will depend on the following factors:
1. How much you want to spend on pencils?
2. Are you doing this as a hobby or as a profession?
3. Are you designing for teaching?
4. Do you want to sell your art?
5. Do you want a watercolor effect?
6. Is this for a portrait?
All pencils can be intermixed and in an ideal world it will be great to get different colors from each brand and expand your palette. On most brands the color matches on their different sets. Except for Derwent where only the Studio and Artists matches the colors.
If you are doing this as a profession, you want to get the pencils with the most lightfastness. You will also want to have a good range of colors from different manufacturers. Pencils that have more lightfastness are more expensive. The same applies for having a good range of colors.
If you are designing to teach, you have to consider that the most popular brand for students is Prismacolor as it is available every where, have the biggest range of color and is not as costly as others.
The type of pencil you use will also depend on the technique you are using or the effect you want to create. With water soluble pencils you can use many exciting techniques and they can be intermixed with dry pencils. But, if I am painting a portrait I want to use the Polychromos oil based pencils.
Finally, we are individuals with different tastes and what you like might be different compared to what another person likes. Try different brands. They have small sets. See what feels better for you.
Don’t forget to sign up for one of my classes!