Blick Studio Artist Colored Pencils
Blick Studio Colored Pencils
At the end of last year, the Editor and Chief of COLORED PENCIL Magazine and myself, sat down and came up with a list of pencils to review throughout 2018. Much to my personal excitement, the Blick Studio Colored Pencils were added to the list, these pencils are exclusive to an art store in America called Dick Blick.
Dick Blick is huge chain of stores all across America providing all manner of art supplies and materials, this however is were the bad news comes for those of us outside the US. Blick's do ship internationally, however a lot of what they ship outside the States depends on a things such as weight and price of the product. I am only mentioning this right from the beginning as ordering for certain items to certain locations may be tricky.
There is a lot of speculation throughout the colored pencil community that the Blick Studio Pencils are the same pencils as the Koh-I-Noor Polycolor or at least made by the Koh-I-Noor company. To be completely honest with you, I personally have not looked into this claim and for good reason. Whether or not the pencils are producded by Koh-I-Noor is of no concern to my review, I test and review each pencil as I get them and provide the results from my tests and not what I think the pencils might be like or should be like based on other claims.
Blick Studio Pencil Sets.
The Blick Studio Pencils are available in a wide and comprehensive range of sets and I suspect it is this arrangement of sets that also adds fuel to the fire with regards to the Blick, Koh-I-Noor connection. Regardless the sets available are as follows
The smallest Blick Studio set is a 12 set, followed by a 24 set, 36 set, 48 set and the largest set is 72 set. All of the mentioned sets are in tins, however Blick also have a 72 set in a beautiful wooden gift box set. However, to make selection even more personal, Blick offer a set of 12 Grey pencils, a 24 set of Portrait and a 24 Landscape.
the Blick Studio Colored Pencil can also be purchased open stock, obviously this would be from Blick stores and for those outside the US, before purchasing a set of Blick Studio Pencils, you will have to make sure that open stock pencils can be sent to your country of residence and also gage the time for delivery as this would matter if you are in the middle of a piece and need more pencils.
Blick Studio Characteristics
The Blick Studio colored pencil feels nice in the hand, it sports a 8.2mm round barrel, housing with the lacquered Cedar wood casing is a 3.8mm core. At first glance the pencil looks like a chunky rugged tool, however once in the hand the pencil is deceptively light. The barrel is lacquered with the same color as the actual pigment, making pigment identification quick and easy.
Along one side of the barrel we have the pigment name in English, followed by the company name and pencil brand, "Blick" "Studio". Further along the pigment name is once again printed in English. If I really had to nit pick, and that is exactly what this next statement is, I would like to see the second printed pigment name replaced with either another language or perhaps a lightfast rating. As I have just mentioned this is nit picking and of course does not affect the performance of the pencil at all.
On the opposite side of the Blick Studio barrel is a barcode with the bar code number to the side. There are however, three digits adrift from the bar code number and this number represents the pigment of that particular pencil should you need to order it open stock. Toward the very end of the pencil, further along from the bar code is printed "Czech Rep". It is worth mentioning that this is a common practice for large chains to launch their own branded product and that particular product out sourced to another country for manufacturing purposes, this is a perfectly normal practice.
As I have mentioned in the previous section "Blick Studio Pencil Sets" the largest set is the 72 set, however, taking into consideration the other sets I highlighted, there is a total of 91 pencils altogether in open stock format. This obviously means that collectively, the Portrait, Landscape and Grey sets will contain some duplicates from the full set of 72, otherwise the total number of pencils would be 131, if my Maths serves me well.
Blcik Studio Performance.
The Blick Studio colored pencils are an absolute joy to use, they have a beautifully soft core, incredibly pigment and they lay down like a dream. I was incredibly excited to be given the chance to try these pencils, before I knew how they performed, even if I was a wee bit jealous of the fact we here in the UK don't have a Blick's store.
Their consistency is not an easy one to get as soon as you use them, so as always I contacted the company and asked. They feel waxy when you first lay down the pigment, but there is such a richness to the pigments thatf one would almost think they where oil based, but according to Blick's there are in fact Wax. They really are a beautiful pencil to use and the coverage you can achieve with them is simply gorgeous.
They do blend very easily with any colored pencil blender, I tried a few and they all worked equally well, the same was true for odourless mineral spirits, once applied to enough layers, the blending and mixing was effortless.
There was a fair amount of crumbling from the cores when pressure was applied to the pencil, however this is something you must expect from a softer cored pencil. Due to the incredibly rich pigment a light touch was all that was needed. I also used the Blick Studio pencils with some of my marker art and the Blick Studio pencils performed like a dream.
On black paper the pigments are so opaque, their gorgeous thick consistency is perhaps best demonstrated on toned paper, really highlighting the vibrant pigments. I also tested the Blick Studio Pencils on an adult coloring book I purchased for the sole purpose of my reviews, they performed like a dream. Obviously the paper in coloring books is slightly lower quality, depending on the coloring book, than most preferred hot pressed watercolor paper or Bristol Velum, never the less, they layered well and blended well.
Blick Studio Lightfast Rating
Of the 91 pigments available in the Blick Studio range, 10 are 1 Star which is the least lightfast, 15 are 2 star, 27 are 3 star and 39 and 4 star. I have to say, I am not too sure which lightfast test has been used in this instance. Ordinarily, the Blue Wool Lightfast test is number 1-8, 8 being the most lightfast. The Other Lightfast test is ASTM D6901 and mostly rated 1 to 3 stars, 3 being the most lightfast, or LF1 to LF3 rating.
Given the price of the Blick Studio pencils and I will cover that in a second, I personally feel the lightfast ratings of these pencils are really good. A lot of colored pencil artists strive to use the most lightfast pencils they can find, which is absolutely right when you are looking to sell your work, however, too many people feel that 100% lightfast pencils should be cheap and unfortunately that is not the case. To find a set of colored pencils with this level of lightfast at the price is a fantastic find.
Blick Studio Pricing
Unfortunately this is going to be pretty easy, I say unfortunately because at this stage of the review I add the prices of a product for the US, UK and Europe, however Blick Studio Pencils are only sold by Blick in America. It is such a shame as they really are wonderful pencils a set any colored pencil artist would be proud to own and create awesome art with.
For the smallest set in the Blick Studio line, the 12 set will cost you $8.99, the 24 set will cost you $17.49, the 36 set will cost $25.75, the 48 set $33.49, the 72 tin set $48.39 and the 72 box set will cost you a fantastic $68.75. To purchase a single open stock Blick Studio pencil it will cost you $1.05
For the other sets, the 12 set of greys will cost you $8.99, the 24 portrait set $17.49 and the 24 landscape set is the same, $17.49. I must advise that the prices I have added are at the time of writing this review direct from the Blick web site and the prices also include a Discount Blicks were running.
As I previously mentioned and as you can see, given the performance of these beautiful Blick Studio pencils, the lightfast ratings and the incredible prices, you can't afford to not try them.
Blick Studio Conclusion
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to test and review the Blick Studio Pencils, whilst Blick do ship internationally with some of their items, the Blick pencils are obviously not readily available here in the UK or Europe, which is a shame because they are such wonderful pencils.
I really enjoyed using them and loved the results I was able to achieve with them. To see a real time demonstration of them check out our YouTube video review by simply following the link.