Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Which is your favourite make of artist grade coloured pencil?

Time for an update and feedback on the poll about Which is your favourite make of artist grade coloured pencil? which has been running on my Coloured Pencils - Resources for Artists website for quite some time.

This is especially relevant to those people who haven't seen it before. However it also seemed a good idea to pause and take stock as the poll recently topped 500 responses. The poll now comprises 509 votes.

Poll result as at 22nd April 2009
  • Overall the pattern has been pretty steady for a long time now with Faber Castell Polychromos and Sanford Prismacolor neck and neck and fighting it out for first place.
  • Sanford Prismacolor are currently very slightly ahead of Faber Castell Polychromos in terms of which pencil is the favourite brand. To date, these two brands have attracted 29.9% and 29.1% of the votes respectively - which means that there is an even split between wax and oil based pencils with these two being the leading pencils for each constituent.
  • Derwent Artists - this is a long established brand which I have grown to like a lot - although I'm careful which colours I use. It's moved up to 3rd place with 10.4% of the vote from 5th place (8.5%).
  • Caran d'Ache Pablo now comes 4th with 9.4% - up from 6th (7.3%). I expected this brand to rise as the new Luminance lightfast range got off the ground despite the fact that pricing suggested this might take some time. It would be good to split out the two brands from the same manufacturer to see how they both do individually.
  • Derwent Coloursoft (positioned to replace the very popular Karisma pencil) did very well initially and came 3rd last July with 11.3% of the vote. However since then it's dropped to 5th place with 8.8% of the vote.
  • Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor was in 4th place last July with 9% but has now dropped to 6th place with 7.1%. This is also an oil based pencil like the Polychromos and the two work extremely well together. It's a brand which I've used for a very long time and always finds a home in my pencil tubs and it also does pretty well on the lightfastness tests.
  • Talens Van Gogh pencils have attracted few votes - but show a slight deterioration from 2.8% to 2.2%. I'm surprised by this as these are excellent pencils with the bonus of also being lighfast. (Talens and Derwent were the two manufacturers who developed lightfast pencils first). I'm pretty certain this is due to the availability of this brand in open stock - it's not easy to find.
  • Both Bruynzeel Design Fullcolour and Derwent Signature have attracted very few votes. It's very difficult to find any information about the former on the web and Derwent announced some time ago that the latter brand was being discontinued.
The problem with the current poll is that it reflects history. People who voted back at the beginning may have expanded the range of pencils they use and consequently changed their minds about which ones they like the best.

A new annual poll to detect trends

I'm toying with the idea of introducing another poll which will be annual and have a cut-off date. This would enable us to see the shifts in preferences over time and indicate trends.

Reviews of brands of coloured pencils - and time for some collaboration!

I'm also going to start reviewing the individual brands of coloured pencils in the near future.

I'd be interested in your comments as to what criteria should be used to assess coloured pencils and whether or not you'd like to contribute a review as well.

I'm thinking along the lines of running a product review exercise similar to the one I ran in relation to reviewing drawing books back in October 2007. You post the review on your won blog and I highlight it in a summaries on this blog and also on a separate site which highlights the exercise as a whole

If you'd like to take part just leave a comment below.

Note: See also Making a Mark: Which is your favourite make of artist grade coloured pencil? This is an update on the progress of my poll on Coloured Pencils - Resources for Artists as at the end of July 2008.

Coloured Pencils - Resources for Artists
Find out about coloured pencils. This leading resource has information for everybody from experienced artists to beginners wanting to learn all they can. Topics include
  • tips and techniques for working with coloured pencils,
  • information about coloured pencil brands and associated products (CHECK OUT the poll - find out which make of artist grade coloured pencils is the favourite.)
  • coloured pencil societies,
  • coloured pencil artists and
  • forums where you can discuss coloured pencil matters with artists working in coloured pencils

5 comments:

Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble said...

Hi, it's a very great blog.
I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
Keep doing!

Don McNulty said...

Here in Vancouver and I suspect all over North America Sanford Prismacolor is everywhere, art stores to supermarkets so that may account for their popularity in this poll.

Felicity said...

Yes, I agree with Dan. I wonder if it's possible to find out which ones are the most popular given what is available to you. I'm not sure it can ever really represent the most popular overall but the most popular of those available. I found my Prismacolors in Kuwait! I don't rate them at all - well, maybe they'd have a fairer chance if only they hadn't all broken in the pencil sharpener!

I wonder what you think of Lyra's Katherine? I found the properties very variable - for instance, Gold Ochre is very waxy and won't blend with some of the others.

julie douglas said...

Hi Katherine

I used Caran'dAche for 25 years until the CPSA published their fabulous (though depressing) light-rating charts. I suspected my colours were fading - some even WHILE I WAS STILL WORKING ON THE PICTURE! - and couldn't ignore it once the charts became available. I tried lots of other more light-fast brands, starting with Royal Talens V. Gogh - absolutely HATED them. Nice colours but wouldn't take any layering (duh?) and scratchy on my beloved Bristol paper smooth surface. I then got individual colours in Derwent Artist, and they're good especially for flesh tones, thought they're a bit chunky for my liking.. I then continued the spending spree (having jumped in with complete sets of the R.T.V.G in both permanent AND water-soluble) and bought the complete set of the new Caran d'Ache Luminance. These are very soft, and as with all brands, different pigments vary in their make-up, some being softer, some more scratchy. But overall I find them quite delicious. I'm using a mixture of ranges, as having had a grumpy year trying everything (one of my students was amazed that I'd go to so much trouble, but I simply couldn't bring myself to continue using my old pencils. Anyway, its good, if hideous, for us teachers to get right out of our comfort zones (sob). The student asked my what I'd do if I didn't like the new pencils. My answer was "....I'll learn'. The upside is that I'm enjoying the new palette that I'm using, getting different greens etc. 25 years was a bit too long with one brand! My next challenge is to start messing about on different papers, but now yet. One step at a time.
Sorry this is so long, you don't have to publish!

Julie Douglas, Co Clare

julie douglas said...

Hi Katherine

I used Caran'dAche for 25 years until the CPSA published their fabulous (though depressing) light-rating charts. I suspected my colours were fading - some even WHILE I WAS STILL WORKING ON THE PICTURE! - and couldn't ignore it once the charts became available. I tried lots of other more light-fast brands, starting with Royal Talens V. Gogh - absolutely HATED them. Nice colours but wouldn't take any layering (duh?) and scratchy on my beloved Bristol paper smooth surface. I then got individual colours in Derwent Artist, and they're good especially for flesh tones, thought they're a bit chunky for my liking.. I then continued the spending spree (having jumped in with complete sets of the R.T.V.G in both permanent AND water-soluble) and bought the complete set of the new Caran d'Ache Luminance. These are very soft, and as with all brands, different pigments vary in their make-up, some being softer, some more scratchy. But overall I find them quite delicious. I'm using a mixture of ranges, as having had a grumpy year trying everything (one of my students was amazed that I'd go to so much trouble, but I simply couldn't bring myself to continue using my old pencils. Anyway, its good, if hideous, for us teachers to get right out of our comfort zones (sob). The student asked my what I'd do if I didn't like the new pencils. My answer was "....I'll learn'. The upside is that I'm enjoying the new palette that I'm using, getting different greens etc. 25 years was a bit too long with one brand! My next challenge is to start messing about on different papers, but now yet. One step at a time.
Sorry this is so long, you don't have to publish!

Julie Douglas, Co Clare

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