Review of Colleen 72 piece colored pencils (775)
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Colleen Colored Pencils – 72 Pack Neon Colours
Last year I fell in love with every colored page that I seen in Facebook groups that had been colored with Colleen colored pencils. Everything on the coloring pages that I seen looked so vibrant and bright. I made it my mission to track down a set of these elusive pencils that are not available in Australia.
Colleen colored pencils, as I understand it, are considered a budget brand of coloring pencil. Initially they were made from my research in Japan but are now produced just outside of Bangkok in Thailand. Each year the company claims they produce over 60 million pieces – that’s a lot of coloring! As they mainly export to South East Asia and Europe a lot of colorists would not be familiar with this brand.
I soon discovered that Colleen has a wide variety of colored pencils available in different sizes and types. You can purchase sets of 24, 36, 48, 60 and 72.
There are two main types of Colleen colored pencils, round barrel or hexagonal barrel. The round barrel is denoted with the 785 series number and the colored pencils are available as either full length pencils or 2 sided pencils (meaning half one colored pencil and half another).
The hexagonal shaped pencils, which are generally easier for me to grip, are denoted with the 775 series number. The 775 series also appear to be available as two sided pencils in packs of 24, 36 and 48. With the larger sets of 60 or 72 neon colors are included.
|View at Amazon US -24||View at Amazon US – 36||View at Amazon US – 48||View at Amazon US – 60||View at Amazon US – 72|
Of course as soon as I seen that there were a set of full length 72 pencils I had to have them. These proved difficult to purchase but I ended up buying them from the Philipines via this Facebook member. My pencils arrived from the Philipines beautifully packed. Even though the packaging was fantastic, there were still a few blunted ends on the pencils where the leads had crumbled off. I expect this to happen during the shipping process, especially when the pencils are pre-sharpened.
The pencils are packed in a cardboard box that has two layers. Retrieving the pencils from inside the box is fraught with difficulty as they tend to catch on the inner card workings inside. The best thing that I did was get a pencil case from eBay to pack them in and store the box.
This is similar to what I purchased to store the 72 pencils in.
There is very little online about Colleen coloring pencils even from the company’s own rather outdated website. My pencils measure roughly 17.5 cm or just shy of 7 in from end of barrel to sharpened tip. They have a wood casing and the barrel is an indicator, but not an accurate one of the color within. The pencils are soft core and wax based. If you drop one, you may break the core, but this can be easily melted back together by putting in the sun for a few minutes. I have dropped my pencils a number of times, when they were in the pack, where they fell on the wooden floor. So, far I have not broken a core yet.
Like most budget brand pencils, when you look at the core you will see that it is not correctly centered for some of the pencils. This means that it could be out of whack when sharpening, so you need to be a little gentle. I chewed up quite a bit of one pencil sharpening it, before I switched to my preferred sharpener below.
The other thing I should mention is that these pencils, are not available as open stock. If you have colors that you love to use a lot, you will need to buy another pack rather than replenish what you are running low on. In all fairness, it is generally only higher end pencils that have open stock availability.
For a budget priced pencil the Colleen coloring pencils are extremely good. They are a lot like my Prismacolors but cheaper 🙂 Once you color the initial scratchiness away that new pencils tend to have, you will find that they are really creamy and layer beautifully. The selection of colors is very good.
Sometimes, once you have sharpened the pencil, the tip may crumble off and require you to sharpen it again. I seem to lose a few tips here and there with crumbling but really cannot complain for the price.
Colleen Coloring Pencils – Color Swatch
The only niggle that I have with my Colleen coloring pencils is that they do not have names or numbers (that I can understand!). There is text, presumably in Thai on each barrel, but I have no idea what it says! I would love to be able to organise the pencils and label them …but I guess a girl can’t have everything.
One layer of pencil was applied to the left half of each square below and two layers to the right. As you can see, in order to get full pigment coverage you need to apply a couple of layers. This, of course, is subject to the paper. I used 80 gsm copy paper for the color swatch.
You can see from the color swatch that there is a good range of blues/pinks/purple and greens. There are a number of earth tones and tones that you could use for skin, but it is not a large selection.
As they are wax based I find that it sometimes dulls the sharpener. I have a lot of pencil sharpeners of different types, brands and price ranges. I have found recently that the best pencil sharpener for my Prismacolors and Colleens, is the cheapest pencil sharpener that I own. My little Staedtler sharpener that cost $2 at a high end art shop in Sydney performs the best out of all of them without breaking a pencil.
By sharpening a normal lead pencil for one turn it cleans the sharpener, which I do every now and again to get the best performance.
Just turning the pencil once in the Staedtler sharpener once, produces a fine point as shown below. You do, however, lose a little pigment in the shavings (which you could collect and use for smudging in backgrounds if you wanted).
Just using my Staedtler plastic eraser and rubbing the colored area you can see that it does not completely remove the color and the color still shows through. Colored pencil is often difficult to remove, and for small areas and for small areas where I have gone out of the lines (a regular occurrence) I often find it is easier to remove some parts Derwent Battery Operated Eraser
As this area is larger than what I want to use my electric eraser on I pulled out the big guns. Again another super cheap product that cost $2 that works like a dream – my Tombow sand eraser made short work of the job and I actually did not rub as much as I could have so that you could still see the initial pencil markings.
Layering & Blending
The colleen colored pencils are wax based and just like my prismacolors they do tend to leave a little wax dust when you are layering. This can be gently blown off or removed with a feather. The more layers you apply the smoother the pencils are. The pencils blend well with other colors and depending on the type of paper you use you may need to apply one or two layers in order to have the pigment saturation that you want.
Coloring with Colleen Colored Pencils
The mandala from Hattifant was colored with the Colleen colored pencils with numerous layers being used. The image was printed on cheap copy paper. As more layers were added the pencils increased in creaminess until the whole of the tooth on the paper was smoothed.
The pencils retain their point for a reasonable amount of time and can be used even when the point has dulled. On a couple of occasions when the pencil had just been sharpened the tip crumbled on application. As these pencils are quite soft I expected that.
I actually like the Colleen coloring pencils so much I have two packets of them 🙂
I hope you enjoyed the review of the Colleen Colored Pencils 72 pack.
Happy coloring x
P.S. @April, 2017 a reader, Kavin, advised that he obtained a 72 pack of Colleen colored pencils which instead of having neon pencils now have 10 pastel pencils in the set. Kavin advised that he purchased these from a festival in Thailand. Unfortunately, his comment and follow up comment was deleted due to a website technical problem 🙁 Hopefully, my old memory of Kavin’s information is correct!