Have you ever heard of Koh-I-Noor Woodless Colored Pencils? That’s OK, years ago, I hadn’t either. One of the elders in my colored pencil class brought them in to show me.
As soon as I put one in my hand, I was enthralled and began taking it for a little test drive. I “ooed” and “ahhed” over them and probably a little too much because she gave them to me!! (She insisted lol).
I still have the set and think of her every time I use them. I thought it was about time I reviewed them so here goes.
In a nutshell this article will discuss their:
- Professional Quality
- Excellent Performance
So without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty….
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1. Eye-Catching Appearance
Pros : These pencils come in a cute, tidy package. Very convenient for transporting them!
The outer package is a sleeve that slides off revealing two sturdy and hard plastic trays with grooves for the pencils.
You immediately notice the no wood aspect of these pencils. Indeed, you can easily see the pencil is all pigment with a shiny, attractive lacquer finish that matches the pencil color so there is no guessing on color!
They are also finished off nicely with a rounded end. Conveniently, they are sold in open stock as well so you can replace individual colors.
Cons: The pencils do not have color names on them, but they are numbered.
Limited quantity – the most you can get is 24 colors. Wish more colors were available but if you know your color theory, you’ll be able to mix to get the color you want.
If you aren’t familiar with color theory, check out my post “What is the Color Wheel – Color Theory Definition and Basics.
2. Feel: Just Put One in Your Hand… I Dare You!
Not that I don’t like Prismacolor, Faber Castell Polychromos or Derwent or even Crayola, but Koh-i-Noor is in a class all by itself. You can just feel the quality, holding it in your hand.
When you put in your hand, you will instantly notice it’s weighty feel. Boasting a 7.6mm core, no wonder! Also, you will love the silky smooth finish of the lacquer, such a nice feel in the hand.
Con: You may end up being late for your dentist appointment since you couldn’t put these pencils down! 🙂
3. Standing Ovation Performance
Pros: On this pencil, trust me, you can depend. One of the most outstanding features is the feel of the pigment as your are laying it down. Rather hard to describe but not only is it buttery soft – more so than Polychromos and Prismacolor – as it lays down but also feels thick, dense and substantial when being applied.
Being soft, they also easily fill in tooth of the paper. It’s weight somehow works so well when you lay down color, I swear it makes the job easier. I think that’s because the weight of the pencil helps with control during the application. They are just delightful to work with.
Layering: Multi-layering is no issue with this quality pencil. I always use a vellum paper that has a little tooth and these pencils layer and mix beautifully. And because of the thickness of the pigment as it lays down, you will enjoy the fact it takes fewer layers to obliterate the tooth thereby making your art process more efficient.
Pressure variation is no problem. These pencils layer beautifully with light or heavier pressure. But there is really no need to use very heavy pressure since the pigment comes of so easily.
Also, with the point being all pigment, you have a larger area of pigment to make very broad strokes if you use the pencil on its side, covering a lot of ground quickly.
Blendability: The softness of these pencils make blending very easy. I have no complaints here.
Cons: I have heard another artist on You-Tube say they break easily as she layers. Two things: 1. She admitted she has a heavy hand, and 2. This has never happened to me while using. I don’t really think this is a con but in full disclosure, it has been said about them.
What people have to understand is that the wood around traditional colored pencils protects them so naturally they don’t break easily. These pencils do not have that protection. If they roll onto a bare floor, they will break (and your heart will too!).
Simple solution: As you are working with them, set them down on a felt pad or towel to prevent them from rolling. You just need to take extra care of them, that’s all. Believe me, your extra care will be rewarded with these.
Because they are so soft, they wear down more quickly and will need sharpening more often. Did I hear a groan? No groans necessary. Because they are all pigment, they sharpen beautifully in a hand-held sharpener!! So you won’t have the issues facing you when you go to sharpen a wooded pencil. Perfect!
Also, you may notice more crumbs when working with them as they are so soft, but it’s not to an annoying level.
4. Bye-bye Wax Bloom and Build-up! Hello Vibrancy!
Pros: One of the biggest advantages is because these pencils are oil-based, you will not be dealing with wax bloom nor wax build-up. Can you tell wax bloom is a pet peeve of mine? lol
Also, since they are oil-based, you will also just love the vibrant, rich colors! These pencils are highly-pigmented and do not disappoint!
Regarding lightfastness, an overwhelming majority of them, 75% are very good or excellent, another 6 are rated good. Only 6 are a 3 or below. This is really very good for lightfastness.
Cons: 3 of the colors are rated 2 in lightfastness (poor).
5. More Bang for the Buck
Pros: This may be an obvious conclusion but I’ll state it anyway. With the pencils being all pigment, you are getting way, way more pigment. In fact, I read it’s approximately 5 times the amount you get in a regular colored pencil. What could be better?
Also, these pencils are priced very reasonably. Check prices here for a 24 pack.
When you sharpen them, and I do recommend a hand held sharpener, they produce shavings that are all pigment. You will not want to toss those shavings – they can be used under your fingertip for a kind of “finger-painting” technique. I explain how to do this in my post
Tip: If you want to save the shavings every time you sharpen, you can use an egg carton (2 for 24 colors) to separate and save the shavings. Then whenever you want to use them, you can easily grab them. And when you rub the pigment shavings into the paper, oh my! Such intensity (as shown here).
Con: No con in this category. The price is very affordable and you are getting a tremendous bang for the buck!
Overall – Simply Irresistible!
Koh-i-Noor woodless colored pencils are simply irresistibly delightful to use, well-made and perform so well. I rate these quite high not only because of these reasons but also because they are very affordable. Honestly, I don’t know why artists wouldn’t have a pack of these in their art box!
I would encourage you to give these a try. They are amazing!
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Have an artful day!