Coloured pencils

One of the things which has astonished me lately is that there are people out there making youtube videos showing you how to use Crayola coloured pencils to make eyeliner.

Anyway, this is by way of an aside. I bought a couple of sets of coloured pencils in the last couple of months and now I am going to rabbit on about my endeavours to be mildly artistic.

If you’ve read my previous lyrical waxing on pencils, you’ll know that I have a focus on watercolour pencils. However, I didn’t get any more watercolour pencils (this was a mistake as I should have bought two sets of Museum aquarelles but that’s by way of an aside) but focused on water resistant pencils this time. The first set I got were a dozen set of Faber Castell Polychromos, and the second was an 18 set box of Pablos by Caran D’Ache.

Much of my late night youtube crawling features coloured pencils and reviews of same. I got the dozen Polychromos for two reasons: 1) I’ve seen some stunning dry pencil art and 2) a box of 12 was not expensive, not compared to a box of 24 or 48 anyway. If you’re not going to go any further…no point in outlaying a lot of money. My strong belief is if you are going to do something, you should get the best tools you can possibly afford, hence my decision to skip the Crayolas for now.

I like the Polychromos pencils. They are nice to work with and really, the primary disadvantage with them, as is also the case with the corresponding Albrecht Durer box of 12 watercolour pencils is the lack of colours you get. Blending the dry pencils is harder than blending the watercolours and so, there’s more flexibility with the watercolours (plus I’ve extended the available colours with a few additional purchases). This tends to limit what I do with them. The other minor issue is that they are round pencils.

I could write a long essay on pencils, and talk about how round mechanical pencils are okay but round wooden pencils are not. Suffice to say all my watercolour pencils are hexagonal and they are more comfortable in my hands. It isn’t a deal breaker, but…

Anyway. When I was drooling in Schleiper a few weeks ago, I spent some time on my knees in front of boxes of Caran D’Ache pencils and trying to decide what I should best do. I eventually decided to best buy a box of 18 CdA Pablo coloured pencils. Mainly I did that because whatever they had in the way of Luminance pencils were outside my “I can justify this to myself” price range.

(and likewise the Museum Aquarelles).

The Pablos are beautiful pencils, and because they have a slightly wider range and are hexagonal, I’m more inclined to reach for them than I am for the Polychromos.

Leaving aside the openstock pencils I have bought, one of the interesting things is that the colours in the Pablo and the Supracolor II boxes line up exactly, as do the colours in the Polychromos and Albrecht Durer boxes. I think this is a good thing. I’ve augmented both the Supracolor and Albrecht Durer sets with some individual pencils from the openstock options which I can get here so I have some more flexibility. I’m not currently happy with how these are stored and if I’m deeply honest with myself, I probably should have gritted my teeth and bought a full colour set from one or other range.

Theoretically, as a photographer, I really shouldn’t be seeing art as expensive. But I have a shopping list of pencil stuff that I’d like and that’s not going to come cheap.┬áThere are things I’d just like to have.

  • 120 box set Supracolor II
  • 80 box set Museum Aquarelle
  • 120 box set Luminance
  • 120 box set Pablo
  • 120 box set Polychromos
  • 120 box Albrecht Durer.

There is probably around 1500E worth of pencil sets there.

Which is, of course, far less than I spent on camera gear in the day.

That aside, I probably need to look at prioritising and if I do cough up serious money for full colour sets of pencils any time soon it will probably be the Supracolor II tin set and the Pablo set. These will cover me for everything that’s not covered by my graphite collections.

In the meantime, I have an art journal under way which is mainly watercolour pencils and fineliner with one or two graphite sketches. mostly these are done after the fact, based on reference photographs or reference sketches from my handbag sketch book. I’ve found that sketching makes airplane journeys go faster for example.