Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pocket School-Grade Colour Pencils

Staedtler, Koh-I-Noor, and Faber Castell
school-grade pocket colour pencil sets

I have 3 sets of cheap pocket-sized colour pencil sets and decided to do a review of them after testing them out. These are easily obtainable at neighbourhood bookstores like Popular (except for the Koh-I-Noor in the middle, which I got from Overjoyed) and cost only around $2 SGD. Faber Castell even has a watercolour pencil version. I bought them because they were a handy size and cheap. A lot easier to bring around than my artist quality set (below):

I've recently reconfigured this set, which now contains
Prismacolor and Derwent Colorsoft pencils only.

You can't compare the quality of school-grade products with artist-grade ones, of course, but my pencil roll is not very light, and I don't use the whole range too often. Neither am I keen on sawing the pencils in two. The pocket sets were acquired for convenience. Nothing else. But out of curiosity, I took them out to compare them with each other. Here are the results:

Test was done on a Daler Rowney Graduate A5 sketchbook

How do they compare with my Prismacolors? Honestly, they suck. But what do you expect when a single Prismacolor pencil costs more than a whole box of student-grade pencils? The colours may look pretty saturated in the scan, so here's a photo:

It took quite a lot of pressure to get the colours at this intensity (i.e. I had to press pretty hard). The pencils don't contain a lot of pigment. You will notice that while each set contains 12 colours, there are slight variations. For example, Staetdler and Faber Castell both have beige - though different shades - while Koh-I-Noor doesn't. Faber Castell has GOLD while the other two have an additional shade of red in its place. The details of my findings are in the scan above, but to summarize it, I like Faber Castell's for its intensity and softness, while I prefer Staetdler's colour range. I like the Koh-I-Noor set least. If you look closely, the colour swatches aren't even and there's quite a bit of speckling going on. Maybe I got a lemon, but I'm not going to buy another set to try. Feel free to do so, though. It's only about $2 a box, and if you don't like it, you can give it to your kid or nephew/niece.

In light of this, I think I might go dig out my Global Art pencil case and use that in place of the pencil roll. It can't take as many pencils, but at least I can carry GOOD colour pencils around.

Global Art 24 pencil case

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