A few weeks ago, I shared a few tips for for repairing broken Prismacolor pencils.
The discussion led to another question:
I don’t want to mess with fixing broken pencils. What other brands of pencils are available?
The good news is that there are dozens of high-quality pencils to choose from.
The bad news is that most of them are more expensive than Prismacolor and some of them are more difficult to get. I’ve already shared a video review of Caran d’ache Luminance Pencils and a comparison of Faber-Castell Polychromos and Caran d’ache Luminance. If you haven’t watched those videos, give them a look. You may need go no further.
Today, I’m highlighting another brand of pencils with a video review.
I haven’t used these pencils so my recommendations are based on the fact that I’ve used other products by the same company or have talked to other artists whose judgment I trust. These pencils were on my To Buy List. Yes, I said were; more on that in a minute.
Now, for the review.
Bruynzeel Design Colored Pencils
A very long time ago, I purchased a set of Bruynzeel Full Color Colored Pencils. That was back in the day when I didn’t know much about how colored pencils were made or the differences between scholastic, student, and artist grade pencils.
I loved those pencils. Color went onto paper smoothly and with very little wax build up. I didn’t have a very big set because they were expensive, but they mixed well with the Prismacolor pencils I was also using. I remember thinking that if I ever stopped using Prismacolor pencils, I’d use these instead.
Unfortunately, that line of pencils was discontinued.
Bruynzeel now produces Design Colored Pencils. Are they the same pencil renamed? I’ve wondered about that, but don’t know for sure.
A Few Interesting Facts
From DickBlick.com: The 3.7 mm wide-gauge, perfectly centered, and double-glued colored cores combine with the finest light cedar casings to make Bruynzeel Design Colored Pencils very resistant to breakage and a joy to sharpen. A balanced color range, with matching pigments between the colored pencil and watercolor pencil ranges, in addition to subtle color release and incredible lightfastness, make them a top choice for the discerning graphic artist, fine artist, designer, illustrator, or hobbyist.
The largest set contains only 24 pencils, even though there are a total of fifty colors available.
The pigment core is thinner than many other pencils—3.7mm versus 3.8 or 3.9. Personally, a thinner core is helpful in creating finer detail and/or for smaller work.
I checked prices at Dick Blick.com (my go-to online source for art supplies). The 12-pencil set lists at $19.95 and the 24-pencil set is $39.46. Pencils are available in open stock for $1.69 each unless you buy twelve or more. The bulk price is $1.52 each.
For more, check out this review.
Would I Buy These Pencils?
They appear to be a step above average in quality, but according to the above review, are not on a par with other pencils in the same price range. The last time I bought open stock Prismacolor soft core pencils, I paid about the same price that Dick Blick is charging for these.
I also had good success with the Fullcolor pencils and have saved even the stubs, though they’re years old.
Bruynzeel-Sakura claims the pencils are made in the Netherlands, but they are actually manufactured in China under the guidance of Bruynzeel.
The less than honest disclosures about where the pencils are actually made is a problem for me and negates the price and quality issues to some extent. Is it enough make me look elsewhere? That’s why I’ve taken them off my list of pencils to buy.
Does that mean you shouldn’t give them a try?
No. That decision is yours entirely. If you do—or if you already use them—let us know what you think of them.
2017.05.06: In October 2016, Brunyzeel-Sakura was acquired by Royal Talens. I don’t yet know how that will affect the quality of Bruynzeel Design colored pencils or any of the other products under the Bruynzeel-Sakura name.
In response to a reader question, I have contacted Royal Talens about getting lightfast information, and will let you know what I learn.
What Do You Want to Know?
Is there a brand of pencil you’d like to know more about? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Whenever possible, I’ll purchase the pencils and try them myself. When that’s not possible, I’ll research them as I’ve done here and summarize my findings, along with my best recommendation.