The Art Gear Guide  

The Art Gear Guide is your one stop shop for the most recent, up to date, honest reviews on all your favourite art supply products. 


Black Widow Skin Tone Colored Pencil Review

Black Widow Skin Tone Colored Pencil Review

Black Widow Skin Tone Colored Pencil Review

Before I get into the review, at the end of the review I will be giving information on how you can win a set of Black Widow Skin Tone Colored Pencils, there will be two lucky winners selected.

If you cast you mind back just over the course of the past year or so, I have been incredibly fortunate enough to have been asked to test and review colored pencils, specifically manufactured with the mental health community in mind. A gentleman called Albert from Australia otherwise known as Medihealth1 decided to create a set of pencils for the adult colouring book market as this was an area so many people struggling with mental health were and are turning to. It is not an alternative cure to depression, but colouring books and art have long been thought to help brighten the mood of someone suffering with depression, it is a bit more complex than I have just explained, but I know what I am talking about as this was the reason I turned to art.

The first set of pencils Albert loaded onto us all was the Black Widow colored pencils, they came in a small cardboard box and looking at each iteration of pencils since the beginning, it is clear to see the development of both pencil and packaging. Next came the Scorpion colored pencils and the Black Widow found their new tin packaging. After the Scorpion came the Cobra, another beautiful set of pencil, inexpensive, accessible to all and gorgeous to use.

I am honoured to say that Albert and I have developed a friendship during this period of reviewing his products and as a result I was privileged enough to know the direction Albert was heading with the range. Skin tones were to be Alberts next project and now they have arrived, I bring to you another Black Widow colored pencil review.

Black Widow Skin Tone Characteristics.

There is one very noticeable difference to the visual appearance of the Black Widow Skin Tone pencils over that of previous Black Widow pencils and that is clear to see the second you open a set. The barrels of the Black Widow Skin Tone Colored Pencils still display that striking black finish that we have all become familiar with. However, one of the downsides to this beautiful black matt finish was identifying dark pigments from looking at the cores, so that has now been remedied with the addition of an inch long pigment identifier at the end of the barrel.

Along the barrel in clear gold print is the name of the pencil which is “Skin” further along there is either SL and a number or SD and a number, I will explain the SL and SD initials soon, but the number references the pigment. Finally there is the pigment name printed, each pigment however has been assigned a less conventional name and more in line with previous lines of the Black Widow pencils.

The barrel is hexagonal in shape which a lot of colored pencil artist much prefer, the core is a luscious 3.8mm in diameter and this core is housed in that familiar 8mm black matt barrel. They are not an overly chunky pencil, but there is a robustness to them and very comfortable in the hand.

Black Widow Skin Tone Sets Available

Above when talking about the characteristics, I mention information on the barrel, SL and DS, this is what they both refer to. There are 24 pencils in total for the Black Widow Skin Tone range, however, Albert has split the set into two, a Skin Dark and Skin Light, twelve in each. I personally think this is an excellent way of selling the set, some portrait artists may find more use for one set over the other.

the images below show both sets and the pigments found inside. I have also swatched both sets so you can see them on paper. You can of course also see the swatch on my YouTube video demonstration. Ordinarily I add some art work with the product I am reviewing, however, I am a terrible portrait artists and so I feel I would do a huge disservice to the pencils demonstrating them in a terrible piece of art.

Black Widow Skin Tone Performance.

This section is actually very easy for me if you have used the previous Black Widow colored pencils. Everything about the pencils is the same, the layering is excellent as is the smooth coverage. The core is incredibly soft and buttery when laying down, there is a slight crumbling from the pencils but this is to be expected from a soft cored pencil.

Colored Pencil artists tend to have their favourite type of colored pencils, hard core or soft core, with each their comes their own advantages and disadvantages, as is the case with so many things in life, but in order to achieve the art we all love, we are prepared to live and adapt.

I tested the Black Widow Skin Tone Colored Pencils on a few various types of paper. The test below shows the layering ability of the pencils and this was carried out on some Derwent Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper. I also tested the pencils on some Winsor and Newton black paper, this helps to better display the really light pigmented pencils, such as white and it also demonstrates the opacity or opaqueness. With the Skin Tone pencils it is clear to see the thick opaque nature of the core.

I am sure every colored pencil enthusiast will have their own personal favourite set between the dark and light sets. For me personally, I feel the Dark Skin set is my favourite, I think the pigments in this set lend themselves beautifully to portraiture art. There are about three or four pigments in the Light Skin set that I also really like, however I feel some of the other tones in the lights are difficult to see in a portraiture, but then again I am not a portrait artist. If you take a look at Alyona Nickelsen’s Colored Pencil Painting Portraits book, you will see in there techniques that the old Masters used in portraits, using pigments you would never in a million years think need to create skin.

Black Widow Skin Tone Prices

One of the many things about the Black Widow colored pencil range that makes them so attractive to many artists, is their inexpensive price point and the Skin Tone sets are no different. Here in the UK you can expect to pay £11.99 for the Black Widow Skin Light and £11.99 for the Black Widow Skin Dark.

As of yet I am unable to locate prices or even the pencils in the US and Europe, however, I know it took a while for the Black Widow to be available on Amazon US and EU. So as soon as they become available I will absolutely update this section.

Black Widow Skin Tone Lightfast Information

As is the case for the entire Black Widow range, there is no lightfast information on the Skin Tone sets yet, however I know that this is something Albert is absolutely looking into having done. I know that he is looking at the various agencies responsible for lightfast testing, weighing up the financial pros and cons and then will make a decision. There is no doubt however, if or when the pencils are lightfast tested, this will increase the already low price point. The expense of such an undertaking will have to be paid for somehow.

Black Widow Skin Tone Giveaway Details

I am able to offer two sets of light skin tones and two sets of dark skin tone as a giveaway and thanks for your awesome support. Two winners will be selected and each winner will win a Light and Dark set of Black Widow Skin Tone.

To take part in the giveaway, all you have to do is visit my YouTube video review of the Black Widow Skin Tone Colored Pencils and leave a comment. The only reason this is essential is due to the fact I use a software program to collate and randomly select a winner, the software can only do this by selecting the name attached to the comments

If you could like the video and subscribe to the channel, that would be nice but it is absolutely not essential, only leaving a comment is essential. I will announce a the two winners on the 31st of March 2019, that gives just over a month for people to see the review and take part in the giveaway. By all means please share the review to anyone you think would like to win the pencils as well.

Black Widow Skin Tone Conclusion

As is the case with the previous Black Widow, Scorpion and Cobra colored pencils, I loved using the Skin Tone sets from Black Widow. As I previously mentioned, I really love the pigments in the dark skin set and a few pigments in the light set. All in all I think Albert has done another excellent job delivering this set of pencils to us, it will be interesting to see if another project is on the horizon for Albert and if so, what will it be? Love to know your thoughts. Don’t forget to check out my YouTube video demonstration of the Black Widow Skin Tone Colored Pencils

I would finally just like to mention one thing. In a private conversation Albert mentioned to me something I happen to find quite disturbing and I would like to clear it in this review. Albert was telling me about feedback thus far and he happened to mention a few people have taken to call him a racist based on the pigment name of the pencil above. This word is wide spread throughout the art community for incredibly dark pigments, in particular Graphite, Carbon pencils and Charcoal. The word or similar is also found on paints etc and all from big companies, I have provided some examples but check for yourself.

I can categorically tell you now that Albert has never ever given me any reason to think he was racist, to aim such a disgusting remark at someone based on a pigment name is crazy. I would never associate myself with anyone with racist views or opinions. I never ever talk politics, religion, race or sexuality on my channel for the simple reason they are all divisive subjects and art has not place near any of them. I once read a post from a wonderful female colored pencil artist and she said “If the world could see the amount of different colors it takes to create skin tones with colored pencils, there would be no such thing as racism.” I completely agree with this.

Albert has created this line of pencils with the mental health community in mind and one thing that mental health is not and that is race discriminatory, we all experience mental health issues regardless of the beautiful tones and shades our skin encapsulates. Albert as far as I am concerned has a heart of gold and should not be subject to such vulgar remarks based on such ludicrous reasons.

Derwent Artist Coloured Pencil Review And What Paper To Use

Derwent Artist Coloured Pencil Review And What Paper To Use

Winsor & Newton Studio Collection Watercolor Pencils

Winsor & Newton Studio Collection Watercolor Pencils