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Guanghui (Hero) Colouring Pencils Review
Guanghui are a lower priced color pencil that comes in an amazing array of color tones. Guanghui is the manufacturer name but this company appears to allow others to private label their product. This basically means that they are allowed to put their brand name on the marketing materials for the pencil. For this reason you may see them sold under different names like “Hero” for example. If the colored pencils are out of stock, an easy way to locate them is to search for “160 colored pencils” on Amazon. You will then find a number of brands. Zoom in on the close up of the pencil barrel for these pencils and you are likely to see the Guanghui name on the barrel.
According to this site, Guanghui have been creating pencils for over 20 years out of their China manufacturing plant. They make a range of pencils which are exported to the US and Europe.
The company motto is “Quality always comes first”. You can see a list of the certificates they have obtained for International export on their site here.
Although the company creates a range of colored pencils, most appear to be for younger student’s use. The two products that are great for adult colorists are the pencils the subject of this review, which are oil based and the watercolor pencils, created by the same company. Both of these pencils, I would class as high end student’s pencils rather than artist’s pencils, as there is no information on lightfast, which is important for professional artists.
These oil based pencils come in a range of pencil counts. At the time, I purchased the maximum count was 160 pencils. Of course, a few days later they released a Christmas edition with 8 additional pencils. The online information does not state what the additional 8 pencils are but I think ..with a Christmas theme it may be an expansion on the metallic range included in the set. I could, of course, be entirely wrong. If you wanted the Christmas set be sure and ask the seller about the additional pencils.
The pencils are packaged in a light plastic box with a carry handle. In the US this plastic box has a gorgeous cardboard sleeve around it. I was impressed that none of the pencils had broken or were damaged on arrival, considering how flimsy the packaging and pencil trays are.
Each pencil measures approximately 17.5cm and are pre sharpened.
You can see the core of the pencil and judge whether it has been centered well or not. This is important for sharpening. A core that is not centered could easily break when sharpening your pencil.
The Hero colored pencils resemble a Prismacolor pencil in design but they are said to be oil based they perform similar to the Faber Castell polychromos.Note: Although these pencils are said to be oil based – tests done show that they dissolve with water added.
The pencils are coded by number on the barrel written in silver.
Other than being oil based, I could not find any other information about pigment, lightfast or filler used in the pencils.
Although I have the full set of Faber Castell Polychromos, and a smaller set as well as a spare, I often do not use them. Actually, I often don’t use that many of my fancy pencils. I find for the coloring that I do, that I am just as happy with my Colleen colored pencils as I am with my Holbeins.
Using the Guanghui colored pencils was very similar to the experience I have with my Polychromos. My polychromos are however slightly better, and that is reflected in the price tag.
Laying down light layers of color was easy to achieve with the pencils as you will see from the video review. In my example, I used cheap copy paper and expect that the pencils would provide an even better layer on a toothier paper. I will be experimenting with different types of paper in the coming weeks.
I am really impressed with the range of colors available in this set with so many graduated tones in each color family as well as metallics and neons. Out of all my pencil sets, it is the largest range of colors that I have.
My color swatch is below, from left one layer, middle two layers and on the right, three layers. I used a light pressure, holding the pencil well away from the point as you will see on screen. The colors are quite vivid and many of the colors have a similar color pigment to the Polychromos so they are useful for supplementing a smaller set of colors.
My understanding is that some of the pencils available to US residents come with a color swatch. One was not included with my set, so I created my own. Had I had more time available, I would have sorted the pencils into color families rather than swatched them based on each tray.
You will see that the pencils include two blacks as well as metallic and neon pencils.
You can download a blank color swatch here.
My favorite Steadtler sharpener was not appropriate for this sharpening job as the barrel was not the correct size. This was easily solved by using my latest favorite sharpener – Bruynzeel twin hole. I bought this sharpener on a whim, basically so I could get free shipping for memory lol. The sharpener is the heaviest sharpener that I have and just feels like well made quality in your hand. The twin holes are perfect for most size pencils. It comes in a little tiny box with two replacement blades as well. More importantly, it sharpens like a dream producing a beautiful point with minimal pigment wastage. This sharpener is not readily available and you may need to go to an art store to locate it and give it a test. I purchased mine in Australia from here.
I tested three erasers to remove pigment from cheap copy paper. With thin paper like this, I didn’t want to press too hard and risk tearing the paper. The Lyra and plastic eraser were a much of a muchness. My Tombow eraser is, of course, a beast and is likely to tear the paper if too much pressure is applied.
Layering & Blending
These pencils layer very well without the wax bloom of Prismacolors. Due to the number of tonal shades available in the color range you may not need to do as much blending as you usually would. However, blending was very easy with these pencils on copy paper. I did not need to use a blender pencil, pen or solvent to blend any of the colors. Of course, I plan on using these pencils as my everyday pencils, so I will be testing them further with how many layers they can take and what types of paper they tend to perform best with.
Colouring With Guanghui (Hero) Colored Pencils
The illustration I colored was a free page by C L Aldridge. This illustration was selected because Christine Aldridge always creates wonderfully symmetrical pieces of art which can show the Guanghui on one side and the Faber Castell Polychromos on the other.
You can see from the page that the two products are incredibly similar (bear in mind that I tested with my small set of 36 Polychromos for color selection)
Buy Guanghui (Hero) Colored Pencils at Amazon here
|120 Hero Colored Pencils||160 Colored Pencils||168 – Colored Pencils Christmas Edition|
Countries outside of the US should search their local Amazon or Ebay for “160 pencils” as you will find these pencils under a number of different brand names. As at November, 2017 Hero are shipping these to Australia from Amazon US marketplace.
Happy coloring x