Coloring Pencils Product Reviews

Tombow Irojiten Pencils Review & Tombow Recycled Pencils Review

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Review of the Tombow Irojiten 90 pc colored pencils and the 24pc Tombow Recycled Colored Pencils

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Tombow Irojiten Colored Pencils Review

I had wanted a set of the gorgeous Tombow Irojiten colored pencils for a long time.   In fact, there was one crazy moment there where I thought that if I just had these pencils I wouldn’t need to buy anything else!  Of course,  most people will know that I can’t resist a new coloring product so that’s not likely to happen 🙂

Tombow irojiten pencils color chart - Tombow Irojiten Pencils Review & Tombow Recycled Pencils Review

In the end,   I bought these as a Christmas present to myself for Christmas 2016.    Mr Muscles and I have never exchanged Christmas gifts so I usually buy myself something that I would like.

tombow irojiten colored pencils color swatch chart - Tombow Irojiten Pencils Review & Tombow Recycled Pencils Review

Of course, I did video an unboxing and review of these colored pencils as soon as they arrived.   However, I do have some products and coloring books that are very shy and do not like to be filmed.     This is my fourth attempt with this one.

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Tombow Irojiten Colored Pencils

Tombow is a Japanese company and the name means “dragonfly”.    They use the dragonfly in their distinctive red logo that you may have seen on some products.     I am a huge fan of  Tombow as they have produced some of  my favorite products –  my Tombow Water Brush Markers (I bought these as a Birthday present to myself last year), my Tombow blender pen (I have about 3 or 4 of these as they are so useful) and my Tombow sand eraser which I think is the best eraser going (provided you have quality paper).

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Everytime I looked at the Tombow Irojiten pencils I would escape into a beautiful dreamland of pastel prettiness and knew that I had to have them.

Irojiten Pencils are different from other colored pencils sets

Irojiten means “dictionary” or similar in Japanese.    In the cutest packaging ever the Tombow Irojiten penciils are packaged as little “books” so they look like a dictionary.

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There are 3 books of Tombow Irojiten colored pencils being Rainforest, Seascape and Woodland. Within each book there are 3 volumes of pencils.     Each volume contains 10 pencils.    What makes the tombow irojiten colored pencils different from other pencils set is that they are designed to work tonally together.

Each book contains colors that work together with pale, mid and dark tones usually in the set.    In theory,  you can grab a book and know that even if you used all 30 colors in that book that they would look just fine together.     If you just wanted to use a few pencils, you could grab a volume from a book and know that they would work together.    For this reason, and because I really am hopeless at selecting colors,  I keep all the pencils in the packaging they came in.

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You can purchase the Irojiten pencils a book at a time or sometimes you can find a seller selling a complete set.

Tombow Irojiten Colored Pencils Specs

The Irojiten pencils are a wax based pencil.   However, unlike my Prismacolors,  they do not build up much of a wax bloom on the paper.

Each pencil has a white enamel barrel with a colored tip that is remarkably similar to the pigment.

As the enamel barrel covers the whole of the pencil top,  it is difficult to see what the width of the core and centering of the lead is like but they appear, to the naked eye, to be well centered.

Tombow irojiten colored pencils specifications - Tombow Irojiten Pencils Review & Tombow Recycled Pencils Review

from left to right – Irojiten, Tombow Recycled Pencil, FC Polychromo, Prismacolor

The name of the pencil color is printed in silver at the top of the barrel and also the corresponding number for the volume that the pencil can be found in.

Tombow irojiten colored pencils specs - Tombow Irojiten Pencils Review & Tombow Recycled Pencils Review

top to bottom – prismacolor, FC polychromo, Tombow recycled pencil, Tombow Irojiten

When you purchase the Irojiten pencils in the dictionary set they are pre sharpened.

The pencils look incredibly beautiful and elegant which always makes me smile when I use them.  It’s nice to have pretty tools to color with.

User Experience

I am very fond of my Tombow Irojiten colored pencils and really pleased that I purchased them.     I had it in mind that I would use them in the Romantic Country coloring book …but still haven’t got to that yet 🙁

They feel comfortable in my hand, without being too big and clunky.      You can color for long periods of time without sharpening and like my Prismacolors they are soft and creamy ..but without the waxy bloom.

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Tombow recommend particular paper is used with the Irojiten colored pencils to achieve the desired effect.    Following their advice,  I used Canson paper on my tests.   I do not know whether I was having an off day or not, but I found that my Woodland set of  Vivids were not as easy to color and blend with as the Woodland Pastels and Dark tones.

Each book comes with a colored swatch which gives an indication of the colors in the set.

Color Swatch

Of course,  it is always best to have your own colored swatch that you have done in your own hand, as we all apply different pressures and have different styles of coloring.      You can see my color swatch below.

tombow Irojiten Color pencils Color swatch - Tombow Irojiten Pencils Review & Tombow Recycled Pencils Review

 

You can download a blank color swatch for the Tombow Irojiten colored pencils here.

Sharpening

I used my Staedtler two hole sharpener to sharpen the pretties using the smallest hole.     A lovely continuous shaving was produced without chipping or damaging the pencil.    The core of the pencil appears to be well centered, making sharpening easy.

Erasing

The Tombow sand eraser is my “go to” eraser for difficult jobs.    However, it is not recommended that you use this eraser on thin, trade stock quality paper as you could tear through the page.    I used my sand eraser to add highlights to the colored pictures shown.    As recommended by Tombow I used medium quality paper with a tooth to it, which  made erasing a breeze.

You do need to be careful with the tombow sand eraser though.  Over zealous erasing can remove even the line art ink on the picture that you are coloring.

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Layering & Blending

As the colors work tonally together, a lot of the angst with layering is eased.    The colors layer and blend with ease, however there was one set that just didn’t layer as well for me.    When I blended the colors in the picture above I went over the colors with my Prismacolor blender pencil.     As Prismacolor is also a waxed based pencil, you can use this blender  pencil or even a Tombow blender markerto blend out your pencils.

Tombow colored penciils layering 13 - Tombow Irojiten Pencils Review & Tombow Recycled Pencils Review

Pros

Beautiful color selection including light pastels

Includes 10 neons that light up under black light

Easy to blend and layer

Cons

Can be difficult to obtain open stock pencils

No white pencil is included in the set

Expensive in comparison with other brands

Has less colors than many other brands

Open Stock & Other Options

You can purchase individual Irojiten pencils from Amazon or Ebay even but they are generally expensive.   Although I see Tombow markers in art shops in Sydney that are open stock, I do not see the pencils in art stores.     The better place to purchase individual pencils is from Tombow’s website as the price is lower than I have seen elsewhere.

You can also purchase Irojiten pencils in blister packs of 5.    The colored pencils in the blister pack are not pre sharpened.

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Where to buy Tombow Irojiten Colored Pencils

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You can purchase Tombow Irojiten Colored Pencils here.

Tombow Recycled Colored pencils

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The Tombow Recycled Colored pencils come in a tin case set of 12 or 24  colored pencils or a blister pack of 5 pencils.

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These pencils are a low cost way of introducing yourself to the Tombow products to see if you like the pencil before committing to the more expensive Irojiten pencils.

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The recycled colored pencils have a wood casing rather than the elegant white enamel.    The colors differ as well.    According to a representative of  Tombow, the colors are similar to that in the Irojiten range, but not the same.

The reason that I purchased the Tombow Recycled Colored pencils, set of 24, is that they have a white pencil and silver and gold pencils which are not included in the Irojiten range.    As I often use white for blending and tinting I knew that I would like one from the Tombow range.

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The recycled pencils layer, blend, sharpen and erase just as easily as the Irojiten pencils.

Pros

Not as expensive as the Irojiten pencils

Packed in a protective tin for storage

Contains white, silver and gold pencils not included in the Irojiten set

Cons

Only 24 pencils in the set

Single open stock pencils are not available, to my knowledge, so a small blister pack has to be purchased

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Where to Buy Tombow Recycled Colored Pencils

You can purchase the Tombow Recycled Colored Pencils here.

You can download a blank color swatch for the Tombow Recycled Colored Pencils here.

Happy coloring x

Lea

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About the author

coloringqueen

I'm Lea and I love everything to do with coloring! If it is a coloring book, a poster or even a bookmark that you can color in, I'm all over it. Of course, a girl has to have some pencils, markers, gelly rolls, pastels and what not to make those pictures pretty and I love those as well.

Whilst my coloring style lacks skill, I am enthusiastic and focused on enjoying the moment and having fun.

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