Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor Pencils

This is my 'back of the sketchbook' colour chart for my very first set of coloured pencils - a 36 pencil set of Lyra Rembrandt Polycolour

Vivien has been so taken with her new set of Lyra Rembrandt flesh colours that I thought I'd show her (and the rest of you) a taster of what she's missing in terms of the rest of the range!

I've tried a lot of different brands of coloured pencils - but keep coming back to my Lyra Rembrandt pencils. They have some great shades which achieve saturated colour very easily, never ever break and don't get temperamental. They seem happy to work with any other brand and particularly like Faber Castell Polychromos. For a proper review see below.

I've done the colour chart image large so if anybody wants to try and decipher my scribble and check the names they should be able to - just click on the image and you'll get the large version.

This is what I said about Lyra Rembrandt Coloured Pencils in my review in the Wet Canvas Product Review
My very first coloured pencils were a set of 36 polycolor pencils made by Lyra Rembrandt. For a period I was seduced by (Sanford/Berol) Karismacolor pencils, but of late have really begun to appreciate again what a superior brand Lyra Rembrandt is (and I bought lots more colours and replenished stock recently).

There are 72 colours plus a set of ten grays plus black and white. The Lyra catalogue - on the vendor site - has a picture of the colour range. They are particularly good for reds and the range of colours used for flesh tones. That said I use Lyra Rembrandt blues and greens all the time in my landscapes!

The pencils are extremely well made in good quality cedar wood casing. I've never had any problems with breakages and the pencils from my old set are now getting on for 15 years old.

The colour range is good and I have some particular favourites I wouldn't be without it - night green being one. This is a very, very dark green with a blue based edge. Contibutes to stunning darks when mixed with darker reds.

They are oil based pencils, firm and soft at the same time and are super smooth in application. They appear to have a dense pigment base. They blend extremely well and can achieve a 'slick' effect with total coverage without too much effort. They also mix very well with other brands of coloured pencils - particularly Faber Castell Polychromos - both being oil based brands.

I can't comment on their coverage on non-paper surfaces but understand they can be used on wood, textiles and synthetic materials.

This brand is seen in sets much more often than in open stock. For those living in the UK I can provide the name of one supplier selling from open stock if you visit - but not mail order.
What I hadn't realised until I started writing this post, is that they are actually water resistant. Which means they should be a very interesting combination when used with watercolour paints!

The complete range of colours is as follows:
  • Yellows: cream, zinc yellow, lemon cadmium, light chrome, lemon, canary yellow,
  • Oranges: orange yellow, light orange, dark orange,
  • Reds: vermillion, scarlet lake, pale geranium lake, rose carmine, dark carmine, rose madder lake,
  • Flesh: dark flesh, medium flesh, light flesh, wine red, magenta, red violet,
  • Violets/Purple : dark violet, blue violet, violet, light violet, purple,
  • Blues: delft blue, deep cobalt, light cobalt, sky blue, true blue, oriental blue, paris blue, ultramarine,
  • Blue Greens: peacock blue, aquamarine, night green, sea green,
  • Greens: hookers green, viridian, true green, emerald green, juniper green, sap green, moss green, apple green, light green, grey green, olive green, cedar green,
  • Brown Earth: dark sepia, Vandyke brown, raw umber, brown ochre, gold ochre, ochre, light ochre,
  • Red earth: burnt ochre, cinnamon, venetian red, pompeian red, Indian red, burnt carmine,
  • Mono: white, light grey, silver grey, medium grey, dark grey, black (three degrees of hardness)
Lyra is a German company based in Nuremberg. The trade suppliers link at the bottom edge of the Lyra Rembrandt website provides details of their importers in different countries.

Green and Stone in Chelsea have the complete set on their website.

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  1. get thee behind me satan !!!!! ;) showing me luscious colours and tempting me to spend - not a difficult thing, to tempt me to spend on art supplies!

    I have pages of colour patches like this in various sketchbooks at various times :) It's good to work out what they look like and how they behave - and then they are just luscious to look at anyway :)

    I've got a few little half length Lyra Ferby - designed for children I think, that I bought at Compton Verney and I liked them too.

    Water resistant??? mmmm now that could be interesting :)

  2. I think you;d really enjoy them Viv - and the water resistant aspect would make them great for you!

  3. I'm relieved to see they work with Polychromos, I bought a set of Lyra yesterday (having bought the Polychromos individually and ended up paying more in the long run). The colours are wonderful and they build up beautifully, becoming quite saturated. (I started out with Cretacolor Aqua Monoliths which are lovely and hard but they are not good for layering and building up the colour.) I didn't notice all the greys you mention - I wonder are they still available? I shall have to look for those.

  4. I just bought a set of Lyra Colored Pencil Giants skin Tones. I need to know the name of the colors of 93407, 93410, 93411, 93432. Can anyone help me out? I'd really appreciate it. It would probably be on an old set.

  5. I see I'm still subscribed to these comments! :) Interesting question, jscobell. I have the Giants Skin Tones and I think I had a look for the same colors in their normal range at the time and couldn't find a match. I've have just done another test using my Lyras, Polychromos and Derwent Artists pencils and still haven't found a close match for any of these colours. (Except 93432 and Derwent Artists Light Sienna but even that isn't *quite* as orange. Derwent's Copper Beech is similar but not as warm as 93411). I'm not sure if you are just looking for a name or for an exact colour match, but I think the Giants skin tones are unique colours, not found in the normal Lyra range. Perhaps Lyra can help?


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