Thursday, June 08, 2006

How green is my coloured pencil collection?

How green is my pencil collection? Well, given I particularly like drawing gardens and landscapes it's pretty green!

I did a couple of sample pages of my greens a little while ago when it was announced that the Karisma pencils were definitely being discontinued in the UK. I wanted to see what my choice was in terms of what I was left with. Here are all my green pencils - as they were then - laid out in a very rough colour sample chart by brand on two pages of my sketchbook (the pages of which are a pale creamy colour).

I wonder how many of you know the old adage about every shade of green always goes with every other shade of green - it's something to do with nature. But it's interesting to look at all these different shades and their degree of natural 'fit' with one another.

So what was the result of this exercise. Well, I discovered I had rather a lot of choice(!) but that the choice was still limited in some parts of the spectrum. I was particularly impressed when I did this exercise by the range offered by Faber Castell Polychromos and Caran d'Ache Pablos. The latter is particularly good at the lighter and more olive shades. I am however very taken with the very smooth application of the Talens Van Goghs.

One weak area is around the permanent green area - but this is now remedied by the Talens Van Gogh range which offers the best choice with deep, medium and light shades of permanent green.

However my plea to the manufacturers would be for more individual colours within the dark mid green end of the greens that are pigment rich, stable and not scratchy? Most seem to lean pretty much to the yellow or blue end of the scale. I would love to have a really deep dark version of British racing green or a dark shade of the Brunswick Green which was popular during the Victorian period. The situation with the various brands is more or less the same problem that I had for years with pastels before Unison came up with their strong darks. I'm still resigned to having to achieve my really dark darks through mixing complementaries ie with crimson shades. Lyra Rembrandt's Night Green is a particular favourite for mixing purposes.

BTW, for obvious reasons I can't swear that the way these greens look like on your screen will be the same as they look on mine - but you'll get a sense of the range and choice that the different brands offer.

Update on Derwent Coloursoft
I had been hoping to add in the greens from the brand new Derwent Coloursoft range to the above, However but my local supplier (Atlantis Art Materials) tells me they have no intention of stocking this new brand - which has been identified as a possible substitute for Karisma (which they used to stock). I won't buy coloured pencils that I can't get in open stock locally so it looks like I'm going to have to give Derwent Coloursoft a miss until I can find a local supplier..............

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  1. I have been doing research about colour pencils because I wanted to buy a set of colour pencils for myself for christmas...and I cannot decide which brand to go for...thanks for the effort for puting up such an informative blog. I really appreciate :)

  2. Thanks - I read your posts on your blog - of course a girl really needs 120 pencils!


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