Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Royal Talens Van Gogh Coloured Pencils



It seems appropriate during Van Gogh project month that I should finally find the link to the excellent Van Gogh coloured pencils on the Royal Talens website.

This link takes you to the English version of their main (Dutch) site. The route from there is then 'other'; 'English'; 'products' from top menu line and then 'pencils' from the left hand menu. The web page then provides you with information about all the various sets of pencils they produce but does not provide any technical information about pigments used or lightfastness (see last post for general gripe about that)
(Talens Van Gogh website)
....These pencils are unique due to their guaranteed lightfastness. Royal Talens has combined its expertise in the use of pigments in artists’ paints with the specific properties of pencils. The result is a complete range of fine art pencils with an excellent colour transfer and colour intensity.
  • Complete range of fine art pencils
  • Colours remain unchanged thanks to guaranteed lightfast
  • Manufactured with the greatest of care from cedar wood that has been acquired in a responsible manner
  • Excellent colour release and colouring power
  • Easy workability
The website also has a tips section for using coloured pencils and even has an outline and then an approach for using their coloured pencils to draw Van Gogh's famous painting of his room in Arles! You can download it from here.

Here's my review of these pencils:

Pros:
  • very smooth application - creamy soft. This applies to both artist and watercolour pencils; the latter are only slightly drier.
  • excellent pigment strength; lots of scope for getting saturated colour quickly
  • Van Gogh Talens participated in the very first ASTM test of lightfastness in coloured pencils and the pencils are guaranteed to be lightfast.
  • range of colours is not as extensive as other makes - but the range available is a very good choice. I find I want to use their colours a lot.
  • an excellent range of greens and blues - very useful for the plein air sketcher
  • If was going out to sketch and could only take one brand and a limited range of colours in my sketching kit I would take my Van Goghs. Apart from anything else they have a rather nifty carry case!
  • the Van Gogh watercolour pencils (white top) are the best I've come across so far - although I'm no expert in this particular area.
Cons:
  • it's quite difficult to get hold of these pencils. Which is surprising given how good they are and that they are guaranteed lightfast. I'm very lucky in having Paintworks, the main importer located very close to me and can buy colours from open stock for both artists and the watercolour products. (They also do mail order both for single colours and tins - you can find prices quoted in the drawing catalogue)
  • You can find suppliers which sell Talens goods on the Talens website. Unfortunately the site does not provide a list of colours.
  • these are very soft pencils which sometimes get eaten rather fast by sharpeners.
  • the fastening on the carry case can be irritating at times.
If you ever get a chance to try Van Gogh Coloured Pencils, you'll be very pleasantly surprised. I'm very happy to recommend them.

Note: For general information about lightfastness in coloured pencils and specific information about all reputable brands of lightfast pencils see various links on Coloured Pencils: Resources for Artists.

Links:

4 comments:

Renee said...

Hello Katherine,
In regard to Royal Talens Van Gogh coloured pencils, if you go to their site www.talens.com, you will find in the upper right-hand corner the word "download." If you click on that, it will take you to Van Gogh colour pencils colour chart, which includes pigmentations and lightfastness of each pencil.
Sincerely, Renee

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Renee - Thank you very much for the tip. I'd never noticed that downloads line before or realised that it related to colour charts. I shall alert people!

dougm said...

I must say that now that I've found a set of the Talens Van Gogh pencils, I think I'm hooked. I could only get my hands on a set of 30 but so far they are wonderful. I need the rest of the colors and probably the watercolor pencils as well.

I found a set sitting on a shelf getting dusty at a relatively local art supply shop. They had about a half dozen. They haven't been selling which may be partially due to no open stock to replace them.

Potential US customers should scour their local art supply stores. They may have them. Also, ask about them. We need to increase demand or they won't come back.

Doug

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Another fan!

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