Art-n-Fly Colored Pencils
Art-n-Fly Colored Pencils
In conjunction with the Art-n-Fly markers I have very recently reviewed, I thought it was only natural to review the colored pencils at the same time. In doing so I completed a marker and colored pencil piece, Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story movies. If you follow the link you can see my speed drawing of Buzz Lightyear, fully demonstrating the performance of the colored pencils and markers together.
As with the Art-n-Fly Markers, my main criticism with the pencils is that there is not enough of them and I only say that due to how much I enjoyed using them. I always say that the paper a colored pencil artist uses is vitally important and I maintain that if a colored pencil performs well on a ultra smooth surface, it speaks volumes to the quality of the core.
The first thing I would like to get out of the way is the core ingredients, according to Art-n-Fly, their colored pencils are a so called oil based pencil, which I am not disputing in any way shape or form. However, due to a lot of confusion throughout the 121 different colored pencils I have tested and reviewed thus far, I put a lot of research into this notion of wax and oil based pencils, this is a subject for another time but I would like to say this. For me personally, given what I already know and will be writing a piece on, I much prefer describing the core in terms of softness or hardness.
Many people when they hear that a colored pencil core is of the oil based persuasion, most automatically think the core to be hard and the wax based cores to be soft, in my experience this is not always the case. The Art-n-Fly colored pencils are one such pencil that dispels this myth in that the oil based core is incredibly smooth almost a creamy consistency.
I used the Art-n-Fly colored pencil in conjunction with the Art-n-Fly markers primarily for detail and shading. If you have a limited selection of markers and not always able to provide the shades you need, colored pencils often come in handy, however not all pencils work well over the top of marker, this was most certainly not the case in this situation
Each pencil barrel is lacquered a deep Burgundy Matt finish with silver print along the barrel side, the top of the pencil finished off with a three quarter inch flash of color, indicating the pencils pigment. The pigment indicator is separated from the Burgundy barrel with a silver band, making for an overall attractive looking pencil, somewhat high end looking
Printed in silver along the barrel is the Art-n-Fly logo, along with the company name, further along is a number, which coordinates with the color chart on Art-n-Fly’s web site. Unfortunately there is no pigment name printed on the barrel nor on the actual color chart on the Art-n-Fly website.
For some colored pencil artists this would put them off purchasing the pencils, however, whilst I do like the pigment name being printed on the barrel, I really don’t see it being a deal breaker as far as purchasing the pencil. The reason being that the same pigment throughout five different companies may be called something else. With the exception of a few colors, companies may use different names which only confuses the matter for an artist mixing a bunch of pencils. My preferred approach is to always create my own color swatch, ideally on the paper I primarily use for colored pencil work, this way I can visually see the pigments that I need when I need them.
The Art-n-Fly pencils quite slim, with a 3.5mm core, each jam packed with rich pigment and all held within a 7mm barrel. I am unsure of the wood used for the barrel, however, I can say that it sharpens very well indeed. I used four different sharpeners, two hand crank and two small hand held, each working well creating a fine point.
Art-n-Fly Colored Pencil Performance
As with the markers, it is important to remember they are a budget priced set of colored pencils, they are not perhaps the pencils you would use to create a gallery piece or commission for a client. Never the less, this is not to say that you cannot create beautiful art with the pencils because you absolutely can.
As I mentioned, the Art-n-Fly colored pencils are oil based, they layer incredibly well and very smooth indeed, gliding across the paper like butter. Aiding the pencil in performing so well is the core ability to maintain a fine point for a relatively long period of time
Art-n-Fly mention on their website that their pencils have “Great lightfast results on most colors” however, I was unable to locate individual ratings and which standard is being used, i.e ASTM or BlueWool. It is this reason that I say the pencils could not be used for gallery standard work or commissions, not because of the pencil quality.
I did try the pencil on a few different papers, as you can see in the image below, the pigments are quite opaque on this black paper, the white however is not quite as opaque as the other pigments and I found this to be the case on the art work I have provided.
I tried the various methods of blending with the Art-n-Fly colored pencils and all worked really well. I used some odourless mineral spirits (OMS) Zest-It to be exact and managed to get smooth blends using this solution. I also used a blending pencil as well as the Art-n-Fly white pencil, this too worked really well and with the white pencil not being very opaque, using this method did not reduce the colors too much.
Art-n-Fly Colored Pencil Sets
Unfortunately this is were I have the issue and as with the markers, it is purely due to the fact I enjoyed the pencils and would like to see more of a range. There is only one set available in this range of colored pencils and that is the 48 set, nothing smaller or bigger.
The pencils are not sold in open stock format which is another matter some colored pencil artists may find frustrating, however, given their cheap price point, to pick up another full 48 pack will not cost much at all.
As there is only one set of the Art-n-Fly colored pencils, there is not much to really list with regards pricing. However, the good thing is that they are available in both the US and UK, much more than the Markers.
For the 48 set here in the UK you can expect to pay £19.99 and for the same set in the US, you can look to pay approximate $19.95 and finally in Europe the same set would cost €19.95. Should any prices change I will of course update this section
Art-n-Fly Colored Pencil Conclusion
My only issue with the Art-n-Fly colored pencils is that, I would love to see more sets available, not necessarily a whopping 120 set, although there is no doubt that would be nice, a 72 set or even a 60 set would be enough and perhaps a 24 and 36 set available.
As I have mentioned, they perform well and deliver a strong punchy pigment and considering the price point of the pencils, against other pencils in a similar price range they are right up there at the top. I would go so far as to say that on good quality paper as I used, the Art-n-Fly colored pencils would hold up well against some of the so called top of the line pencils that I have tested and reviewed.