Information provided by Staedtler:
- Coloured pencil in ergonomic triangular shape for relaxed and easy writing
- Unique, non-slip surface with name field
- A·B·S – the white protective coating reinforces the lead core and increases break-resistance
- Especially soft and richly coloured lead
- Water-based lacquer
- Up to 24 brilliant colours (12 more colours added*)
- Wood from certified, sustainably managed forests
The pencils I won came in the special edition Johanna Basford tin. The pencils are also available in a smaller (24 or 12 colours) cardboard box or stand-up STAEDTLER box*. The 24 cardboard box also has the Johanna Basford packaging option. While browsing online I learned that the stand-up box can be quite handy and also protects the pencils.
The pencils are triangular shaped, which makes the pencil more comfortable to hold, as opposed to the traditional hexagonal shape. The colouring is more relaxed and less tiresome, because your fingers have a better hold while colouring. The pencils also have a special non-slip surface on top of the water-based lacquer, which is in the same colour as the lead. One of the three sides had a name field, which can come in handy when you take your pencils to school, drawing classes, etc.
* I searched online for the tin with 36 colours, but couldn’t find it anywhere. Finally I found the tin on amazon.uk.com, where it says ‘special edition by Johanna Basford’. Amazon.de also sell the tin. I couldn’t find a cardboard or stand-up box version of the pack of 36. The Staedtler website isn’t updated up to now. So it’s unclear to me if and in what kind of packaging the pack of 36 is available, Amazon aside.
Update: Staedtler is sending the product to their dealers right now. So it will be available soon at more stores.
My experiences so far
I was curious about these pencils, because I already have the felttips of this brand and find them really pleasant to colour with. I also was quite curious since Staedtler teamed up with Johanna Basford and she recommends them.
I hoped to win the pencils in a couple of colouring contests, in which I finally succeeded. I could also just have bought them, but I set myself a monthly amount I’m allowed to spend on colouring media I definitely want to buy. At first I wasn’t sure about these pencils. I’ve never had the chance to try them in a store.
Anyway, I have them now. And all 36 too!
I find the lacquer of the pencils good looking. They also have a nice soft feeling and great texture. I do like it when the lacquer is the same colour as the lead, since it gives a good overview of all the colours I can choose from.
I picked a page with roses to try the pencils on, from Color Your Day’s by Koh-I-Noor. This book has smooth white paper and is printed on only one side.
The quality of the pencils surprised me. I expected a lot less of these, since they can be considered beginner pencils**. Pressing hard and soft give good results, just like colour laydown and mixing, but more about that later.
In short, colouring with these pencils is really pleasant. For the roses I used three different colours, except for the most upper one, that one has two.
Top to bottom:
• purple rose: nr. 62 and 6 (also see the colour chart below)
• purple/pink rose: nr. 6, 62 and 20
• pink/red rose: nr. 29, 23 and 25
• pink/red/orange rose: nr. 29, 24 and 25
• yellow rose: 11, 43 and 42
• orange rose: nr. 43, 42 and 4
Blending the colours works fine, especially for wax-based pencils. While layering the colours get shiny quick and because of all this wax, adding new layers and blending gets difficult after a few layers. Nevertheless did it feel like the Staedtler Ergosoft pencils work better than wax-based beginner pencils of other brands.
I sharpened the pencils with my Staedtler double-hole tub sharpener. The triangular shape was no problem, but the pencils scratched a bit right after. After a while the pencil softened. The pencil tip doesn’t break while sharpening (until now), but that must be the result of the A-B-S. It’s a good thing that the pencils have a protective coating, since the tin has a loose fitting top. The lid is connected to the box by three little metal extensions that fit in three slits in the lid. While taking the box out of a cabinet, the lid can come off and pencils may fall out.
** when you categorize the pencils something like this:
children/scholars/hobbyist beginners ∼ hobbyists/prof.beginners ∼ advanced colourists and professionals.
(non-officieel, my own concept)
As you can see below, I made a colour chart for these pencils. I liked making this one, since the colours are so vivid and beautiful. I kept looking at it while the chart was on the table.
More about that blending and layering:
I tested the pencils on their ability to layer, mix and blend on 200 grams white drawing paper. The results are below.
On the first row I layered the colours by stroking only one way without pressure. On the second row I used very little pressure for more layers.
The difference between nr. 7-8 and 9-10 isn’t really visible, for which my scanner is too blame. I tried to take a picture, but that also didn’t work. So you just have to believe me on my word when I say that in reality there is a (small) difference.
On the third and fourth row I layered the colours by stroking only one way, but with some pressure. For the fourth row I tried too press very hard to be able to add another layer, because there wasn’t a noticeable difference between nr. 7 and 8. I think it’s safe too say this is the maximum amount of layers you can get; there is just too much wax.
As you can see in the picture making a thin layer is easy (nr. 1-2 first row). The total amount of layers you can put on before it gets too waxy turned out better than I expected. I thought four layers would be the maximum.
Here I layered the colours by colouring horizontal and vertical strokes with pressure. Nr. 4 has a shiny layer and nr. 5 is fully burnished.
I’ve mixed primary colours in sets of two. The colours mix pretty well, something I also noticed while colouring the roses.
I blended lilac to purple in five different ways.
First I blended with a white pencil. Well I can better say I tried blending, because nothing happened except for the white haze, as you can see in the first circle.
Secondly I tried blending with a blender-pencil. This gave the same result as the white pencil, but without the white. The same with vaseline. Using turpentine/thinner worked better. However, I don’t like this method, because the colour isn’t evenly blended.
The colours are evenly blended when using baby-oil, but if you’re going to use this, you shouldn’t have a problem with the colours becoming a bit darker. In the last circle the lilac isn’t visible even more. When using baby-oil, notice that it bleeds through the pages. It leaves heavy stains, so be carefull and place a paper cloth under the page! You shouldn’t use this blending technique for double printed colouring books, it will ruin the drawing on the other side.
So in short: blending doesn’t work that well.
I often make mistakes while colouring; I use the wrong colour or colour in the wrong spot. The colour page with the roses is no exception to this. While colouring the pink/red rose, I accidently used a green pencil instead of a pink/red one; I had just coloured some leaves and without thinking went to colour the flower petals. I tried erasing the green with an eraser (also Staedtler), but I was very disappointed when it didn’t work. You can still see it.
- beautiful and vivid colours
- great colour laydown
- pencils have a nice feeling
- mixing goes well
- layering goes well
- less tiresome for your fingers (ergonomic shape)
- A-B-S (less breaking)
- Certified wood
- limited number of colours available
- erasing is difficult
- blending is difficult
- lid of tin box has loose fit
I’m very glad I have these pencils now and I’m going to use them alot. It’s a great addition to my colouring media. I definitely recommend these!
Where to buy: