Faber Castell Polychromos review - a set of 36 assorted colors


Today I will review coloured pencils which I use most - Faber Castell Polychromos. This is a top quality product, reccommended for professional artists.

They are available as assorted colours sets of 12, 24, 36, 60 and 120 colours in a tin box.
You can buy them individually.

All the 120 shades are also available packed in an elegant, impressive black case:

I think every artist would like to have such box :D

Prices: from $20 (Jerry's Artarama; 12 colours set) to $383 (Jerry's; 120 colours black case)
Individually: $1.70

The pencils are packed in a dark green tin. Unfortunately you can't take the lid off and put it under the box, so the set takes some space on the table. At the back of the package we can read about the Polychromos series: the oil-based core is waterproof, the pencils don't smudge, the pigments in them are lightfast. The SV system was used while producing Polychromos so they don't break. The lead is 3,8mm thick. A water-based varnish was used to paint the pencils.
At the back of the box there is also a colour chart showing the shades in this set, with lightfastness mark each.

After opening the tin, we can see beautifully done pre-sharpened pencils. They are round, not hexagonal. Each one is color-coordinated, so we don't waste time on searching for the particular shade.

There is a gold lettering on each pencil; you can read the name of the colour (in German and English), the number and lightfastness mark. There is also the name of the company. Just look at the photos:

Polychromos are, in my opinion, not too soft and not too hard :) Because they are oil-based, you can draw layer by layer and they mix perfectly. They cover the paper very well, they look great on tinted sheet. The sharpening is also fine - nothing happens to the wooden case protecting the lead, no crushing. They can keep a sharpened tip for a long time, so you don't have to sharpen them every 30 seconds :) and thanks to that, they don't use up quickly.

Although my pencils landed on the floor several times, all of them are fine, their cores are not broken. Polychromos can be used to create such detailed drawings like this one created by me:

*I based on a photo by M. Kubik.

Faber Castell offers coloured pencils in a wide range of 120 shades, which makes Polychromos one of the biggest series. And you can create much more by drawing layer on layer!

One thing that I don't like about my 36 Polychromos set is that some of the shades (orange, red) are very similar. I wish the producer added some pale pink or this awesome colour called Cinnamon (you can really smell the cinnamon while sharpening it! :D). There is also only one dark brown pencil.

And, to be honest, at first I didn't really like the greens in this selection - they are unnatural, but as I said earlier, Polychromos blend perfectly, so you can draw a brown layer over a green and you will get a decent shade :)

The white colour looks a bit pale on tinted paper so I use Derwent Drawing and Coloursoft white pencils.

To sum up, for me Polychromos are ideal pencils: they don't break (even after falling onto the floor), they don't create this waxy surface which makes layering hard, we can get both vivid and subdued colours with them.They blend very well with other companies' products. According to the producer's statement, this series enables artists to draw various themes like still life, portraits, architecture - just have a look at my drawings:

Polychromos are worth their price, so if you consider buying them, I highly reccommend this product!

* Some of the photos included in this article come from official Faber Castell site, some were taken by me. It is forbidden to copy this material (and images included in it) without the author's permission.