Caran d'Ache Technalo Set Review
Caran d'Ache Technalo Set Review
We all know about the fantastic products that Caran d’Ache consistently grace us with and the wonderful quality their products possess. Caran d’Ache have their own YouTube channel, which I love to sit and play in the background while I am drawing or something like that. One of their playlists is a series of videos demonstrating a lot of Caran d’Ache products and of course, it goes without saying, the videos themselves are a work of art and incredibly inspirational. However, recently they added a video and it was one of the Caran d’Ache representatives demonstrating the various graphite sets they now have or as Caran d’Ache refer to them Grafwood set. I was impressed with the demonstration and knew I had to review the sets, so this is the first one of the sets I am reviewing for you guys.
I am personally not a graphite artist, I love graphite work, I think the works of art people can create with graphite is just mind blowing, a good friend of mine here on YouTube, John, who’s channel name is smoothie77, is one such graphite artist. John also has a Patreon account where he adds detailed tutorials, but he also adds tutorials and equipment videos to his youtube channel. His channel is certainly worth and look, just follow the link and sit back to enjoy his work.
Caran d’Ache Grafwood and Technalo
As I mentioned, this review is about one of the sets from the Caran d’Ache Graphite range, a while back I reviewed the Caran d’Ache 15 Barrel Grafwood Graphite set and that was a gorgeous set of graphite pencils. However, Caran d’Ache have two basic types of graphite, the Grafwood sets which consists of graphite pencils, graphite cubes, which look very similar to a pastel cube. The other type is their Technalo range which is water soluble graphite, again this comes in various forms such as pencil and cube.
Recently however, Caran d’Ache have added to the range new sets of water soluble graphite with subtle pigments added to the graphite, allowing the graphite artist to ever so subtly add a splash of something different to their work
The set that I am reviewing for you today is a 6 pencil set in a silver Caran d’Ache tin and as the graphite in the set is Water Soluble, a Caran d’Ache water brush pen is also included in the set.
Caran d’Ache Technalo 6 Tin Set Characteristics
As soon as you open the cardboard box that the set comes in, you remove the tin with the pencils inside, as you remove the tin you will come across the mandatory leaflet which I always love looking at, giving me more ideas of what to spend my money on. The leaflet shows the contents of the tin and other graphite products that you can get from Caran d’Ache.
Along the side of the actual box, there is also a clear indication of what products are inside the tin, this is an excellent idea for customers browsing art stores and when they see the set, there is no need to open and remove the contents to see what you are buying. I personally think there is nothing worse than picking up one of the cardboard protected sets in a store, only to find the protective cardboard is all dogeared through people opening and closing the set.
In true Caran d’Ache style, I have opened quite a few of these tin sets from other manufactures and the pencils are lose in the tin, not with Caran d’Ache. Always looking to protect their products and ensure they reach us the customer in prime condition as they were intended to be enjoyed. Along the bottom of the tin there is a thin foam layer for the pencils to lay on and at the top of the tin where the core of the pencils are situated, there is also a thicker piece of foam protecting the cores. So if the pencils do move about in transit, they are cushioned and not going to arrive in your hands shattered and pretty much useless.
Inside the tine, there is three Tecnalo pencils, that is water soluble graphite pencils, the three pencils in the set are grades B, 3B and 6B. For those of you that may not know, graphite is graded due to the hardness and softness of the graphite. If you consider a line with your bog standard HB pencil right in the centre, working out from the B side of HB, the graphite climbs the scale B, 1B, 2B, 3B etc all the way to 9B. The graphite graded B is a soft core and dark graphite when you lay it on paper, so the 9B pencil has a really soft core and lays down an incredibly rich dark mark.
Working from the H side of the HB, there is a graphite graded F, which a lot of people don’t take much notice of, but then the H line climbs exactly the same as the B, all the way from H, 1H, 2H, 3H etc up to 9H. The H graded graphite is the opposite of the B, H being a harder core and delivering a light mark, with 9H the hardest core and barely visible mark on the paper.
With the three Technalo pencils in the set, the barrels are hexagonal in shape, a 7mm Cedar wood core and a 3mm water soluble graphite core. This is not like the chunkier Grafwood pencils I reviewed a while ago, I would say the dimensions of the Technalo pencils are more along the line of a standard HB pencil.
The barrel of the Technalo pencils are a gorgeous deep mat black, which makes the gold print along the barrel stand out against the dark background. Along one side of the barrel is printed “Technalo” which is the brand of pencil you are using. Further along is the traditional paint brush icon indicating that the pencil core is water soluble.
Next we have the iconic “Caran d’Ache” logo and next to this is always the “Swiss Made” phrase. Further along there is a number which corresponds to the open stock element of the pencil and that is followed by the actual grade of the Graphite “B, 3B or 6B”. At the end of the barrel the FSC stamp is placed and this lets the artists know that the product has met the required standards needed before unleashed to the public. To finish the pencil off, there is a decorative gold ban round the circumference of the barrel.
On the opposite side of the Caran d’Ache Technalo barrel, there is another stamp indicating the core grade. A lot of graphite artists find this really helpful, one or two other graphite pencils from various other companies, have the grade of the graphite stamped on every side of the hexagonal barrel, some artists find this a bit overkill and others find it very helpful indeed. Caran d’Ache have gone middle of the road and place the pencil core grade on two sides of the hexagonal barrel.
The remaining three pencils in the set are referred to as RGB, which if you know your color theory or use Photoshop etc, you will have seen this RGB represent certain color cluster. RGB is Red Green and Blue, which is the pigments subtly placed in the next three pencils in the set.
The three pigmented pencils in the set are also hexagonal shaped barrels, 7mm in diameter and 3mm cores, exactly the same as the three Technalo pencils we have.
All three pigmented pencils carry the same barrel information on them, starting with “Technalo”, again Technalo refers to the brand of pencil from the Caran d’Ache line but also means that the core is water soluble or Aquarelle. Next to the “Technalo” is the RGB initials followed by the traditional paintbrush icon, again indicating water soluble pencils.
Further along the barrel is the ‘Caran d’Ache” logo with “Swiss Made” right beside it, letting you know the proud Swiss heritage of Caran d’Ache products. After this there is a 6 digit number which is for open stock purposes and finally the important FSC stamp. As with the graphite Technalo pencils, the pigmented pencil barrels are also finished of with a decorative gold band.
Unlike the three Technalo pencils, which sported the gorgeous rich mat black barrel, the three pigmented pencils have completely colored barrels, Red, Green and Blue. Although the barrels have this color, they are clearly not colored pencil barrels, the muted color of the barrels I think immediately distinguishes from a traditional colored pencils and something more special.
As well as the barrels being colored the same color as the pigment in the graphite, the pigment names are also printed on the opposite side of the hexagonal barrel from the main bulk of information, The red pencil is actually Carmine Lake, the Green pencil is Dark Phthalocyanine Green; good luck pronouncing this one, I think someone was having a laugh with this name and thinking of reviewers in particular. Finally the Blue pencil is Prussian Blue. All three pencils have the pigment names in English and French printed on the barrel.
Caran d’Ache Water Brush Pen
Caran d’Ache have a set of three gorgeous water brush pens, for those of you perhaps new to art and not aware, these are paint brushes, however rather than having a water bowl beside you to dip your brush into, the water brush pens have a hollow inside the handle and a plunger, you draw the water up into the barrel and water gently flows through the brush tip as you are painting.
the Water Brush Pens are a fantastic idea, not just for the studio artist but for artists out and about, they are a clean and easy way to watercolor paint and many art companies have their own versions of brush pens. For me personally, I think the Caran d’Ache ones are the best on the market. I will at a later date do a video introducing water brush pens to you and show you the various different types available.
The Caran d’Ache Water Brush Pen in this set is the black one and the medium tip brush of the three Caran d’Ache brushes. As you can see from the images below, there is a small rubber push pad on the side of the brush pen and this allows you to gently squeeze a bit more water through to the brush tip if you require more. Of course you can watch my YouTube video review of the this Caran d’Ache Technalo Set and see the Water Brush Pen in action.
Caran d’Ache Technalo Performance
I did create a very simple speed drawing with the set, the drawing in total only took about an hour and it was just to demonstrate the various pencils in the set. I created a feather and started with the red, then blue and finally the green pencil. I also created a swatch were you can see the pigmentation in the graphite and also my eraser test.
With the three Technalo graphite only pencils in the set, I think the grades of B, 3B and 6B provide a fantastic gradient, it isn’t always essential to have all the grades to create a smooth gradient. As with a lot of water soluble products, the magic really happens.
With all three of the B grade Technalo pencils, as soon as the graphite is activated with water, the results are immediately impressive. Also in case anyone may worry or be concerned about this as I was at first, the graphite is water soluble, in it’s dry form, the graphite erases just as graphite would. I am not sure why, but I thought at first this might be an issue. In the same vein, just because the graphite can be used in water soluble format, it is not essential for it to always be used in this way, using the graphite dry is always a viable option.
A lot of graphite artists will often use graphite powder to fill in large areas and to create soft back grounds, this is an area were water soluble graphite could be used and with beautiful effect.
The three pigmented water soluble graphite pencils are slightly different to the other three pencils, the core on the Red, Green and Blue pigmented graphite pencils is significantly harder than the B graded graphite, it feels to me equivalent to a 3H graphite core.
With the Red Green and Blue water soluble pencils, as soon as they are activated with water, you can faintly see the pigment within the wet graphite, with the pigmented graphite, it is much more noticeable once the wet graphite drys. I personally feel the blue is more vibrant.
Caran d’Ache Technalo Sets Available
Caran d’Ache also produce a few Sketching Sets, which are slightly different to the Technalo and Graphite sets although the contain some of the products from the range. I have listed the Grafwood and Technalo sets above and by clicking on the images you can find out more about them.
Caran d’Ache Technalo Set Pricing
I have added prices for the set I am reviewing, however, to see pricing for some of the other sets available in this line, click on the images above for more details.
Here in the Technalo Set with 6 water soluble graphite pencils, 1 water brush pen and metal tin will cost approximate £23
In the US I was unable to locate this specific set, I checked on Amazon, Jerry’s, Michaels and Blick’s just to provide a price and link, however none stocked the set. I will continue to check and update the article as soon as a link becomes available.
In the EU I was able to find the set for approximately €27 for the Caran d’Ache Technalo Set of 6 water soluble pencils, 1 water brush pen and metal tin.
I had a lot of fun using the Caran d’Ache water soluble graphite, I think the pigments in the Red, Green and Blue pencils are perfect for adding the most subtle of color to any graphite work of art. With the traditional water soluble graphite pencils, the B, 3B and 6B, as I have already mentioned, beautiful smooth gradients can be achieved as well as incredibly dark graphite marks.
The quality of the graphite is evident as soon as you use it. As with a lot of Caran d’Ache products, people feel the price is too high, however, the price for this set, especially given the inclusion of the water brush pen, I think is remarkable given the quality.
You can take a look at my YouTube video review of the set or if the video review is not your thing, you can check out my very simple speed drawing demonstration of a feather. Alternatively if this is not for you, you can check out my still images of the art at various stages of completion. Thank you so much for checking out the review and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me.