Colored Pencil Pandemonium: What Determines the Price and Quality of Colored Pencils?

Coloured pencils have develop into wildly fashionable lately. Artists have rediscovered their inventive potential with higher high quality, extra permanence, and extra selection accessible. Many non-artists have found the advantages and pleasure of coloring books for adults resulting in the rising gross sales of coloured pencils.

However what determines the standard and worth distinction in coloured pencils? It isn’t the vary of colours in packs of 12, 24, 36 or extra pencils. It’s the quantity of pigment used within the combination that in the end turns into the “lead” within the pencil. This is called “pigment load”. This time period is utilized in all paints in addition to coloured pencils and is the issue that drives value greater than some other.

One other huge issue is the lightfastness of the colour, or permanence of the colour. It took a few years of testing, however within the late 1970’s lightfastness requirements had been written for oils, acrylics, alkyds, and watercolors. The group accountable for this testing is the American Society for Testing and Supplies (ASTM). These requirements led to scores of I and II (right this moment there are V) with I being the colours not prone to fade over time. This offers artists the choice of choosing supplies which have gone by rigorous testing for lightfastness. Within the 1990’s, this similar testing started for coloured pencils and by 2003, ASTM D6901 was created — the requirements for lightfastness for coloured pencils. Additionally marked I and II are these pencils made in compliance with the best requirements of ASTM D6901. In truth, one model is the Caran D’Ache Luminance 6901.

So, the price is pushed by pigment load, high quality and kind of binder (the stuff that holds the pigment collectively contained in the casing), and the casing itself. Higher high quality pencils have cedar wooden casings {and professional} pencils just like the Luminance 6901 have considerably heftier casings, thicker and extra substantial, and a few artists imagine a nicer really feel when grasped. Cheaper pencils use molded wooden fiber and generally mysterious supplies which don’t sharpen effectively.

For essentially the most half, binders are secret formulation that firms defend, particularly within the skilled grade pencils. Binders not solely maintain the pigment collectively, however play a giant position in how the pigment goes down on the floor and the way effectively colours layer and mix. The mixtures of wax, resin, oils, and/or gums varies and watercolor pencils, for instance, comprise gum arabic as a binder as a result of it is water-soluble.

Coloured pencils with a primarily wax binder might be very tender and care have to be taken when laying down the colour so as to keep away from a burnished floor. Additionally, some wax pencils go away a wax “bloom” the place white specks of paper present by the colour. Resin binders are extra widespread in inexpensive or scholar grade pencils making them tougher. Mixed with much less pigment, very cheap pencils might be irritating to make use of breaking simply and never placing down the decrease pigment ranges very effectively.

There’s really an excellent number of coloured pencils at your native, impartial artwork provide retailer. Some sellers will even allow you to attempt before you purchase. I’d suggest attempting before you purchase if in any respect doable so you possibly can see the distinction in efficiency of the totally different plantable pencil.

Good high quality paper, lined in one other of my articles, additionally performs a task in how effectively the colours apply, layer, and mix.

One ultimate notice. There is a corporation referred to as the Coloured Pencil Society of America. It is a fantastic web site to be taught extra about coloured pencils, compete of their reveals, and to see some unbelievable coloured pencil artwork.

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