Review of Holbein Colored Pencils - Pastel Tone Set (12 pc)
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Holbein Colored Pencils – Pastel Tone Set (12 pc) Review
Every time I looked at this beautiful set of pastel tone pencils I fantasized about using them in one of my favorite coloring books, Romantic Country. I could just imagine those beautiful delicate pastels within this book.
Often you may see on social media, beautifully colored pages in shades of pastel colors that do not look familiar to you. Often these pastels are Holbeins. The Holbein pencils are expensive but they have the largest range of pastel toned colors that I have currently seen in the colored pencil market.
Holbein is a Japanese company trading under the name of Holbein Works Ltd since 1946. They were originally established in 1900 but rebranded and started afresh in 1946. They are well known for their art products and specialise in “oil colors, watercolors, oils and varnish, drawing ink, acrylic color, colored pencils, pastels” and related art merchandise.
Holbein colored pencils are sold in a variety of package types to suit all needs and budgets. The pencils are high end, artist’s pencils and as such they are expensive. Don’t be frightened when you look at the prices 🙂
You can purchase sets of 12, 24, 36, 50, 100 and the full set of 150.
During my research, I have tried to locate open stock Holbein colored pencils. It appears that these are elusive 🙂 The only individual pencils that I have seen for sale are unbelievably expensive, so I would budget on replacing a set if you need to rather than an individual pencil. Of course, you may have better luck than me tracking down a source for open stock Holbein colored pencils.
The sets of 12 come in three different themes:-
Basic Colors Set
Designer’s Tone Set
Colors Pastel Tone Set
Holbein pencils are more readily available in Japan than in other countries. At the moment, I have not found a stockist in Australia for example. Overseas, most colorists would purchase through Amazon, if their local art supply store did not stock them. As they are imported to other countries, there could be delays in stock arriving, and it could affect the list price for the product.
I purchased the pastel tone set from Amazon Japan as they were the lowest cost for me, at the time.
The pencils are packed in a tin that measures approximately 18.2 cm x 10 cm. On the inside lid is a color list of all the Holbein pencils, and an indicator showing which pencils are included in which sets. This information is also included in the fold out brochure inside the tin which also contains a pre colored color swatch for all 150 pencils.
Holbein pencils are made from a blend of “wax, fats and oils” and are classed a “soft oil colored pencil“. Holbein states that the pencils contain a high grade pigment which helps ensure little pigment fading or light discoloration. The lead is 3.8 mm in diameter and the pencil is 7.8 mm in diameter.
You can see the Holbein pencil in comparison to other popular brands like Polychromos and Prismacolors in the images below.
You will see that the Holbeins have a similar appearance to the Faber Castell Polychromos but are slightly larger.
The full color casing with gold trim, and the name and number of the pencil is very elegant, and the color of the pigment tends to match the barrel color.
One thing that I was unaware of, until I was writing this review, is that you can use a Holbein product with these pencils to create a watercolor effect. The Holbein Meltz pen or fluid can be used over the dry pencil to produce a water color effect. This product is quite difficult to find, so if you manage to locate it and you like the watercolor effect, grab it quick before it sells out 🙂
The lowest price for this product that I found quickly was on Amazon Japan, but stocks were running low for the pen here and the fluid here. I do not have these products, and have not tested them to see what the effect is, when they are used.
The barrel of these pencils is larger than what I am used to holding and it did take me a few minutes to adjust to this different size. After the initial feeling of change I immediately enjoyed coloring with them. They have the feel of Polychromos but are slightly softer. The thing that I was most impressed with was the pigment color.
The colors that are in the 12 set are not like colors I have in any other of my pencil sets and the color is quite vivid. Of course, this has made me want the 150 set even more as there is a tray nearly full of pastels in it! So pretty!
Holbein Colored Pencils – Pastel Tone Set Color Swatch
The twelve piece set of Holbeins Pastel Tones contains the following colors:
Lettuce Green OP222, Ice Green OP228, Cobalt Green OP225, Lavender Blue OP328, Sky Blue OP324, Wisteria OP430, Mauve OP434, Rose Pink OP 429, Pink OP022, Salmon Pink OP028, Naples Yellow OP134 and Cream OP127.
As you will see from the color chart “cream” is really more of a lemon color rather than a cream.
I do like how Holbein have created the set so that you have different tones within the color range as it makes it possible to complete a picture with just a few pencils, if you wanted
I used my little Staedtler sharpener that cost $2 at a high end art shop in Sydney. I have found that it performs the best out of all of my sharpeners without breaking a pencil.
Just turning the pencil 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 Faber Castell vinyl eraser and rubbing the colored area you can see that it does not completely remove the color. 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 used my Tombow sand eraser. This 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.
After a few more rubs with the Tombow eraser the pencil was removed. The pencil was used on thin copy paper (80gsm) and it did not damage the paper when using either eraser.
Layering & Blending
The more layers you apply the smoother and creamier the pencils tend to be. The pencils blend well with other colors as you can see from the picture below (I’m no expert!). I used cheap copy paper to print the image on (80 gsm) which easily took several layers of pencils. Paper that has more “tooth” in it could easily take multiple layers of these pencils.
Coloring with Holbein Colored Pencils – Pastel Tone Set
The mandala from Hattifant was colored with the Holbein colored pencils with numerous layers being used. As more layers were added the pencils increased in creaminess until the whole of the tooth on the paper was smoothed and in some areas burnished. As the set of pastel tones does not contain a white pencil, I used my Colleen white pencil to blend colors together.
Holbein pencils have not undergone toxicity tests to ensure they meet the required standard for sale in Europe and the United States (and no doubt other countries as well).
I hope you enjoyed the review of the Holbein pencils pastel tones – 12 pc set.
Happy coloring x