I tend to think of my colored pencils as tools, not luxury items--but the Uni Pericia Colored Pencils are definitely both. Their sophistication stretches far beyond my artistic ability. I think they might be too nice for coloring books, though I can hardly believe I'm saying that. These are intended for artists and I think any artist would be delighted to have them.
The pencils only come in sets--they aren't available as open stock. And the colors offered aren't as extensive as other brands. This is a bit of a bummer, but they blend and layer so smoothly that it almost doesn't matter. The oil-based pigmented wax core can even be used with turpentine like oil paints for even more mixability. The sets come in either 12, 24, or 36 colors priced at $40.50, $74.50, and $108.00, respectively. So they aren't cheap. But the versatility of the core explains that price, I think. These aren't ordinary pencils.
The soft core goes down opaque with barely any pressure, and fades, blends, and layers like butter. It even has excellent coverage on black paper and performs better than any other product I've used on dark paper--even ones designed specifically for the purpose. The colors are lightfast and deeply saturated.
With such a soft core, I'd be a bit worried about breakage, but I haven't experienced any so far. The core is thick and sturdy, and the case is designed to prevent any trauma. The case appears pretty ostentatious at first--I thought it was a bit much--but it serves several useful purposes. The pencils snap into place and are held firmly, so they don't get knocked around. And the cover folds back and props up the tray for handy access while working. The front then folds closed and secures with a tongue-and-loop closure. It is faux leather, but is a pretty decent imitation.
The pencils themselves are designed well. The body is a good diameter--slender enough to be within a standard range for sharpeners and cases, but thick enough to prevent hand fatigue. The colors are clearly written in embossed white paint on the dark brown bodies, and the ends of the pencils are coated in the core color, for easy identification. The cores themselves are so well pigmented that the colors are easily identified from that alone.
Other than wishing I had more colors (and the skills to put them properly to use), there was nothing about using these that I didn't fully enjoy. Go make some awesome art with these, or send them to your favorite artist and watch art happen.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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