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 🙂
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can download a blank color swatch for the Tombow Irojiten colored pencils here.
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.
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.
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.
Beautiful color selection including light pastels
Includes 10 neons that light up under black light
Easy to blend and layer
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.
Where to buy Tombow Irojiten Colored Pencils
You can purchase Tombow Irojiten Colored Pencils here.
Tombow Recycled Colored pencils
The Tombow Recycled Colored pencils come in a tin case set of 12 or 24 colored pencils or a blister pack of 5 pencils.
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.
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.
The recycled pencils layer, blend, sharpen and erase just as easily as the Irojiten pencils.
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
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
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