Polychromos Pencils

A Review

As an artist, I get to trial out a number of different mediums. The thing is that as a general rule, there is so much choice out there, that it’s difficult to know what brand of medium to pick.

For my first art material review, I’ve decided to pick coloured pencils, and the brand is Polychromos by FaberCastell. I have used these pencils a couple of times before, having had them recommended to me by a friend. Prior to this, I have experimented with a number of different brands, including Crayola, Derwent Studio, Derwent Coloursoft, and Prismacolours.

I lightly sketched a drawing of a mushroom fairy house on cartridge paper to use as a trial piece. I would usually outline this with black ink, but for the purpose of this piece, I want to see if the coloured pencil can give the idea of outline without my actually defining it in black.

Then I started to layer on the red for the cap of the mushroom. For this I chose a ‘Dark Red’, a ‘Permanent Carmine’, and a ‘Deep Scarlet’. The dark red is pretty self explanatory, and is what I used to pick out the shadows; the carmine is the lighter colour, which is what I used as the base colour.

Here is a progress photo:

I then darkened the permanent carmine, and used the deep scarlet to blend the two together (Photo below).

On first impressions, the pigment quality is very good, and lays down well. It is thick and creamy, and adds a layer of shine to the image when laid down thickly, but when laid thickly, it doesn’t seem to affect the tooth of the piece, allowing for a decent amount of colour to be placed.

The colours blend well together, and I am impressed with the range and selection of colours. I was also able to lift out a highlight with an eraser, and while I don’t suggest that you try to erase your coloured pencil work, it is possible to some extent, if you were to make any mistakes, for example.

The only slight negative is that the white pencil isn’t necessarily the strongest. It seems to be more of a blending white, than one to add highlights, and I found myself going back to a mixture of the Derwent Coloursoft white, and the Caran D’ache Pablo white to achieve the effect that I wanted.

Here is a photo of my finished illustration:

Overall, I very much like the polychromos pencils, and would highly recommend them to anyone wishing to try coloured pencils. They really are a step up from ‘student’ quality pencils, but at a price that isn’t unreasonable for artist quality materials.

Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.