Bruynzeel Design Review
Bruynzeel Design Review
Bruynzeel is actually quite a popular name in the world of colored pencils, however, it is a brand I have not seen many reviews or videos about on YouTube or art web sites, but having used the Bruynzeel Design colored pencils for approximately a month now, I am really surprised about this.
Bruynzeel is a brand of pencil, over looked by a company called Royal Talens, when I looked into the Royal Talens company and their products, they actually produce a vast array of art supplies, one of which you may be quite familiar with and that is the Pigma Micron fineliners and brush pens.
Bruynzeel and Royal Talens are a Dutch based company, one of the many reasons I love research for my reviews is the fact I get to chat and build relationships with people from all over the world. I absolutely love learning and trying to understand about other cultures and countries, a past time colored pencil review allows me to do in abundance.
Bruynzeel Design Packaging
Before I start getting into the quality of the pencils and all the information about them that you will want to know before buying them, the first thing I have to talk about is the packaging. Colored pencil artists and enthusiasts alike are always seeking a suitable home for their pencils, a place that will protect them and make them easily accessible; if that solution happens to display the pencils or just be an all round aesthetically pleasing solution, then all the better. With the Bruynzeel Design pencils, you get all of this included when you purchase your set of pencils and the incredible thing is, all sets come packaged this way and not just the largest set or gift set.
As you can see from the images, I have purchased the 48 set, which comes in a four drawer box, each drawer holds twelve pencils and each pencil is held securely in place by specifically cut foam slots. The actual box is incredibly sturdy, in fact it feels like wood, but it is actually stiff card.
Bruynzeel Design Features
So we have got the awesome packaging out of the way, but as amazing as the packaging is, packaging doesn't make a good pencil, so how do the pencils themselves stack up? Before we get into the performance, it's important to understand the place of the Design in the Royal Talens product line.
The Design are the artist grade pencils, next down from the Design are the Bruynzeel Expression. Bruynzeel have another set called the Rijks Museum, which are a special set of pencils brought out in line with a collaboration with the Rijks Museum. Next they have the Van Gogh and below this, a range dedicated to children.
The Bruynzeel Design are a wax based pencil, incredibly soft and I must confess, I was so very pleasantly surprised with just how well the Design pencils performed. I have learnt many things during my time reviewing art supplies, but I think the biggest lesson I have learned is to not dismiss a pencil just because it doesn't have one of the bigger, more renowned names attached to them.
The Design sports 3.7mm core, encased in a round 7.4mm barrel, the barrel is primarily bare wood as opposed to lacquered with the pigment color, only the tips indicate the pigment of the Design individual pencil. Just below the color indicator, is a small section of the pencil painted orange with the word, "Color" and "Holland" printed on it, Holland obviously being the origins of the company. This falls inline with the other pencils in the Design range, for example, the Design watercolor pencils have a similar indication only painted blue with Aquarel printed, the Design Pastel pencils has a cream color painted with the word Pastel printed, as is the same with the Design Graphite and Design Specialties.
There is no color name printed on the barrel, just a number stamped within the colored tip of the pencil. Further along the barrel is printed, "Bruynzeel" and then "Design", the company name and the pencil brand. Following this is number 8805, which is stamped on every pencil, this simply corresponds to the type of pencil within the Design range.
As with every pencil I review, I test the pencil on as many paper types that I can, with the Bruynzeel Design being this scrumptiously soft cored pencil, a slightly toothier paper takes more layers. However, I tried the Design on the smoothest paper I have, which is the Strathmore 500 Series Bristol Plate and even on this smooth surface, I managed 5 light layers, before that slightly tacky feeling develops with most waxy soft cores.
As with so many supplies, a lot of this comes down to the style of pencil art you prefer. Many fine art, colored pencil artists, like to use lots of layers, building their colors etc, other artist that use colored pencils with markers, tend to use a heavier hand with the pencils and lay down the color they want, rather than building up layers. I found the Design worked well with both styles of art.
On the black paper, the Design pencil were surprisingly translucent, I was expecting them to be more opaque given their buttery consistency. Of the colors I tested, the yellow and red where quite translucent, whereas the blue and green were quite opaque.
On all the papers tried, as with so many wax based pencils, there was a little bit of crumbling, but nothing too dramatic. Over all, the coverage of the Bruynzeel Design is beautiful, creamy and rich pigments make for a pleasurable experience. The layering ability of the Design is also effortless as with the dry blending using an ordinary pencil blender, I also used some marker blenders which also provided a consistent coverage. I finally tried some solvent, Zest-It; of course you can use any odourless mineral spirits you prefer. When laying down the colors to blend using the solvents, the colors were already blending given their beautifully soft creamy core, never the less, they blended well with solvents. For me personally, I think the color remains richer when the pigment is blended dry, simply down to the gorgeous consistency of the pencil.
Unfortunately, 48 is the largest set in the Bruynzeel Design range and I say unfortunately because they are such fantastic pencils to work with. Even though the Design's blending ability is excellent, colored pencils are not paint and so mixing is not as easy, nor offers the same results as mixing pigment from colored pencils, which is why artists tend to always go for the 120 or 150 size sets. I personally would love to see this range extended, however, we will have to wait and see.
Given that the largest set is 48, the only other sets available are 12 and 24, as I mentioned at the beginning of the review, even the 12 set and 24 sets some in this beautiful packaging. The Bruynzeel Design are also available open stock which brings me to something you may notice if you see the brochure for the Design. Although the largest set is 48, there are actually 50 colors available, the two colors that are not in the 48 set are Gold and Silver. I spoke to a gentleman from Bruynzeel about this and it is simply just two additional colors that are available open stock, but not included in any of the sets. I am guessing, and this is purely a guess as I did not ask, but I feel the Gold and Silver are not the most popular colors in the colored pencil world.
With regards to pricing, in the US the 12 set will cost approximately $15, the 24 set approximately $28 and the 48 set approximately $65. Here in the UK the 12 set about £12, the 24 set £29 and the 48 set, roughly £56. In Europe the 12 set starts at €24, the 24 set €38 and the 48 set €69. The Bruynzeel Design pencils are also sold open stock, however, at the time of writing this review, I have found it quite difficult to find them online, the best place to locate the pencils open stock is by checking out the Royal Talens web site and they have a list of stores globally selling their products. So by doing this and selecting the country you live in, you will find a retailer. I would like to intercept a question I may get regarding the Bruynzeel Design pricing and that is, "Does the extravagant packaging push up the pricing?" to which I would answer no. My reasons for this are simply based on the many pencils I have tested and reviewed, I would like to think that I have a good understanding of colored pencils by now and other pencils of this quality in this range all cost roughly the same, non of which have fancy packaging that doubles as a storage
As I have mentioned already in the review, the entire Bruynzeel Design range consists of the colored pencils reviewed here, Watercolor pencils, Pastel pencils, Graphite range and a range Bruynzeel call their Specialities which is a mix or graphite, water soluble graphite, charcoal, sepia colored pencil, Sanguine and a few other pencils totalling 12 in the set. I am so excited to review these other pencils and will now have to start saving to get hold of them to review. So keep watching the channel and The Art Gear Guide to make sure you are kept up to date with all the very latest reviews. The video review of these excellent pencils will of course be available over on my YouTube Channel and please feel free to follow me on all the social networking sites I am part of, links for which you can find below this review or in the side bar. Also for so much more awesome reviews, check out COLORED PENCIL Magazine, with competitions every month for all levels of artist and giveaways. Thank you so much for your wonderful support.