I never thought that colored pencils would take my breath away but the Caran D’ache did just that. Up until this point I have used primarily Prismacolor Premier pencils and don’t get me wrong prismas are pretty excellent but in order to broaden my horizons I decided to save my dollars and splurge for these bad boys.
Now let’s dive into these fellas and why they are the shiz! First when I opened the box you could tell right away that they are quality. The box is lined with foam that cradles each pencil in its own little slot keeping it safe from the world around it. The packaging indicates these bad boys are precious and are made of quality materials. The design of the pencil is also something inspiring. You can tell the designers put a lot of thought and effort into making a visually appealing pencil.
Now I know it doesn’t come down to looks but I have to admit… they were impressive. I almost feel like I have to put on an evening gown to be worthy of using this pencil.
Upon first inspection I found that the barrel is larger than others I have used. It makes for a more sure hold and less strained fingers not to mention a thicker diameter lead. The lead is an interesting texture. Being used to the uber soft nature of prismas these ones took a bit to get used to. Blending is very easy with prismas and at first the Caran d’ache the pencils didn’t seem to do it with much ease but after I gained some knowledge of how it behaves the colors mix splendidly well.The pencils are a mix of oil and wax making this unique combination the perfect blend between soft and hard. This 76 pencil pack also comes with 2 blenders which I never used with prismas but now I find that having the oil and wax compound of the caran d’ache the blender is a very useful tool.
With other pencils my biggest complaint is the delicacy of the lead. If you even think it might break it probably will. With the Caran d’ache I have not had that experience the pencils are very sturdy and robust. I have yet to break a tip. The wood also seems to be of a very high quality. It doesn’t break and crumble when sharpening it.
This set has about half of the colors prismacolor premier has but how has time to use all those colors. I have been able to get all the desired effects from the Caran D’ache with the 76 colors. And let me tell you. They are beautiful and vibrant. The saturation is palatable and delicious to the eyes.
These pencils so far have ticked every box but there is one wee downfall that I am sure with time I can figure out how to manage. Blending is on point, color richness as well, where the struggle is keeping a refined point for detail work. In an effort to work through this my next quest will be testing a large selection of sharpeners to see what helps keep the refined tip.
One of the main reasons to venture to the higher quality Caran D’ache offers is something they call lightfastness. This is how long an image keeps its color integrity before it starts fading by facing the elements. These fine pencils last a blooming 100 years before they even start to lose their luster. So if you are trying to make it as an artist and want your art to last through the ages the Caran D’ache is where your dollars should go. Yes, they cost a limb or your first born child but they are worth the investment. I mean I am smitten and it’s just been a few weeks.
To sum it up if you are wanting the best pencil in the industry this is it. If you are just getting into it stick with prismacolor premiers.