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. 


Caran D'Ache Museum Aquarelle

Caran D'Ache Museum Aquarelle

Caran D'Ache Museum Aquarelle

I have been reviewing colored pencils now for approximately two years now and one of those years writing for COLORED PENCIL Magazine, so at this stage I would like to think I know a thing or two about this medium. I hear and agree with a lot of people who comment on Caran d'Ache products pricing, however, if there was ever an example that embodies the phrase "You get what you pay for", any Caran d'Ache product would be that example. 

So for this review, as you can tell, we are looking at the Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle, a water soluble pencil, Caran d'Ache have a few water soluble pencil sets in their range, but the Museum Aquarelle are their top grade water soluble pencil. We have reviewed the Caran d'Ache Supracolor Soft II pencils of which are water soluble and excellent pencil, however, the Museum Aquarelle take it to an entirely new level. 

Museum Aquarelle Sets 

With the Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle, the sets are laid out completely different to any of the other pencils in Cara d'Ache line and to be honest I am not entirely sure why, I have tried asking Caran d'Ache but not received a response as of yet. 

Ordinarily, the sets are simply, sets of 12, 24, 36, 48, 72 or 76 and 120, not so with the Museum. The largest set in this rage is 76 which now come in packaging exactly the same as the Caran d'Ache Luminance range, in fact I would go as far as to say that this type of packaging they use for their top line pencils is by far the best. 

Caran d'Ache also have a wooden box gift set, which is of course made from the highest grade wood and crafted with perfection, this set is also a 76 set. The other sets are the interesting ones. The smallest set is a standard 12 pencils, next is two 20 sets, one called Marine and the other called Landscape, each set comprising of carefully selected colors to accommodate those particular genres of art. The final set is a standard selection of 40 colors

As well as the sets, you can also obtain the Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle pencils in open stock format. This allows you to constantly top up your collection as and when needed. For fine art colored pencil artists, this is a must have aspect of the pencil when considering a set of pencils to purchase. 

Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle Pencil Characteristics. 

The pencils are made from the finest Cedar wood, as is the case for all Caran d'Ache pencils. the barrel is hexagonal in shape, which a lot of colored pencil artists prefer over a round barrel, simply to help prevent the pencil from rolling off a table or drafting board and shattering. 

The core is a generously, pigment packed 3.8mm, protected inside an 8mm hexagonal Cedar Wood barrel. This pencil feels incredibly good in the hand, weighted perfectly. The barrel itself is finished off with a rich black matt finish, decorated with silver print. 

Along one side of the barrel, leading from the core to the pencil end is first printed "Museum Aquarelle" the pencil brand, next is the obligatory paint brush icon, indicating a water soluble pencil. After the icon is printed the company name "Caran d'Ache" and where the pencils were made, "Swiss Made". Further along is a small FSC stamp which indicates that the pencil has been subjected to stringent lightfast testing. Finally, the end cap of the pencil is painted with the pigment color of that individual pencil and unlike many other pencils and mediums, the pigment indicator flash is remarkably similar to the actual pigment. Printed along the side of the flash is a numerical code pertaining to that individual pencil and pigment.

On the opposite side of the barrel is the pigment name which is written in two languages, English and French. On another side of the pencil, is the all important star system, indicating the pigments lightfast ability, 5 stars being the most lightfast and three the least. 


As I alluded to at the beginning of this review, Caran d'Ache make beautifully crafted art supplies, they themselves are a thing of artist beauty, but it is their performance that is in question. 

As a dry medium, the second the Museum Aquarelle hits the Cold Pressed Watercolor paper, the pigment simply floats onto the paper, each dark barrel laying down a buttery softness and rich vibrant pigment. It is clear to see the high quality pigments that have been used in these pencils. 

However, they are water soluble pencils and this is when the magic really appears before your eyes. As the wet brush glides along the buttery soft dry pigment, glistening color comes alive, allowing the artist to mould and manipulate the transparency or opaqueness of the pigments. 

The other Caran d'Ache water soluble pencils are excellent, however, the Museum Aquarelle really are a cut above the rest. As things stand currently, I have never used a water soluble pencil as rich and vibrant as the Museum Aquarelle. 

Don't forget to check out our YouTube real time demonstration of the Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle; here you can see the pencils lay down on various watercolor papers as well as on black paper dry. All water soluble pencil can be used dry, however not all water soluble pencils can be used convincingly dry and achieve excellent results. A real box of artistic creation perfection within these pen


as always I have added prices for various countries, it is important to note that these prices are current for the time I am writing this review. Starting with the smaller set, here in the UK the 12 set will cost £30, either of the two 20 sets, Marine and Landscape will cost £51, the standard 40 set will cost £128. For the standard 76 set it will cost £174 and the beautifully crafted 76 wooden box set will cost £229. It is also worth mentioning that with the wooden box set, there is actually 80 pencils in the box, however some colors are duplicated but the overall number of colors is 76. Open stock pencils will cost £2.50 each

In the US the same sets will cost the following, the 12 set will cost $48, both 20 sets will cost $54 with the standard 40 set costing $100. The standard 76 set will cost $219 and the wooden box set comes in at $340. The pencils open stock will cost $3. 


The Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle are simply delightful pencils to use and the effects achieved with them are magical. If you can put aside the pricing, you will absolutely love using these pencils. It is worth mentioning that although the price is considerably high, you are purchasing equally high quality pencils, capable of achieving the most beautiful art. Unfortunately, weather we like it or not, the finest things in life are not cheap and when we talk about Caran d'Ache we are indeed talking about some of the finest art supplies about. 

On these individual reviews I try to stay away from outright recommending the product and leave it down to the reader, however, I really do think if you have the budget and are actually looking for a water soluble pencil, you must give these Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle ago, be it the simple 12 set, a few open stock pencils or the full set of 76. 



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