In years past, I wouldn’t have given much thought to colored pencils. Then, a little phenomenon called Adult Coloring happened, and I NEED all the colored pencils! Need is a strong term of course, but I do own more colored pencils now than I ever have, and the Tombow Irojiten Color Pencils may be the best of the bunch.
Let’s get the one negative out of the way first: They are expensive. You can buy them in two sizes, either a 30-pack Dictionary, of which there are three, for $34, or one of several 5-pack mini-sets for $9.50. Neither of those are a value by any stretch, but the 30-packs are clearly the way to go even if you just want to test them out.
And test them out I did with the Dictionary set containing the tones Pale I, Vivid I, and Deep I. Confused yet? Understandably so. Each of the three Dictionary sets comes with three 10-packs, individually boxed. The other two sets contain Pale II, Deep II, Light Grayish I, and Fluorescent, Very Pale, Dull I. These are the Copic Marker of the colored pencil world it seems.
It would be nice if each of the 30-pack Dictionaries had a name of their own for discussion and clarity purposes, but I’ll deal with it because these are flat-out the best colored pencils I have used.
I chose the set I did because it had the most variety between the three boxes contained within. Pale I is a nice spring palette with a big range of pinks, greens, and blues. Vivid I is the closest to a standard set of colors, with a rainbow of traditional leaning shades. Deep I has a great range of browns, greens, and blues that you don’t normally get in standard colored pencil sets.
From a writing and coloring perspective these are wonderful. The cores are wax, but they feel the most traditional graphite pencil-like of any colored pencil I have used, right down to the sound and feel on the page. They don’t feel waxy or sticky when laying down lines.
Is it strange to say I feel like I can control these colored pencils better than others? That’s what it feels like to me, especially when coloring in fine details. I can hit right on the edges of even the smallest details. I think it has something to do with the pencil-like edge I get from the core, as opposed to a more rounded tip. I make mental notes of this constantly as I am coloring, as if to say “Wow, this is different.”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the packaging, because for once, that is the first thing that caught my eye. Each Volume of the Dictionary comes in a dedicated 10-pencil box with plastic slots to hold the pencils in place, and numbering and name details for each pencil on the inside cover. The box also has an elastic band to keep it closed when stored, or on the move. These added touches help justify the price, at least a little bit.
The best products are the ones that give you joy. The Tombow Irojiten Colored Pencils do that for me, whether I’m using them, or just looking at them sitting on my desk. And that’s where they have been since they arrived. I like them so much I want them close by at all times. Plus, they fancy up the joint just with their presence.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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