Faber Castell Classic Colour
Faber Castell Classic Colour
If you have been using colored pencils recently or you are a colored pencil artist, you will absolutely know the name "Faber Castell", they are without doubt one of the biggest names in the art supply world and in particular the colored pencil world.
Despite this, when I decided to review the Faber Castell Classic Colour, I have to say, based on the price of these pencils, I wasn't really expecting anything fantastic. Before I begin my testing and research of a pencil, I try to guess my conclusion, one of the most consistent things I have found about my pre judgment on colored pencils is just how monumentally I get it wrong.
Faber Castell Classic Colour Specifications
Before we get into the pencils performance, lets take a look at the actual pencil. Unlike the popular round barrel of the Faber Castell Polychromos, the Classic Colour sport a hexagonal barrel. I have spoke many times about the different shapes of pencil barrels, from round, triangular to hexagonal; many people prefer the hexagonal due to the unlikely occurrence of the pencil rolling of the table and shattering. Many love the triangular barrel as it appears to be more ergonomically suited to the way most of us hold a pencil. Whereas I personally prefer a round barrel and I just make sure my desk is protected from runaway pencils.
There is actually very little information on the actual pencil barrel, which ordinarily would have me writing something quite negative, however, the category this particular pencil falls into, there is very little information that can be printed.
Along one side of the barrel is the pencil brand name "Classic Colour", this is closely followed by the Faber Castell logo and name, then finally toward the very end of the pencil is a number. I am not sure what the number is for as I have been unable to determine if the Faber Castell Classic Colour is sold open stock, however it is highly unlikely and I will cover why I think this is the case.
The only downside to these pencils is that there is no color name printed on the barrels, I would not expect anything like lightfast information on a pencil like this, however, I think the color name would be really helpful.
The actual barrel is 7mm dimension with an incredibly robust 3mm core. According to the Faber Castell web site and the packaging of the Classic Colour, the core is mixed with an SV bonding ingredient creating an anti-breaking standard that can now be found in all good quality student grade or below colored pencils.
Although I was unable to find a definitive answer to this question and I did contact Faber Castell but did not hear back from them, the core feels like a wax based core. Actually it is really quite difficult to fully determine the cores main consistency and it is probably due to the SV Bonding ingredient to protect the core. Another interesting fact about the wood used for the barrel of the Faber Castell Classic Colour is it's certified from sustainable forestry, meaning, for each tree used another is planted in it's place, which is amazing for the environment.
Faber Castell Classic Colour Performance
So this is the really interesting part of the review, and it leads on quite nicely from the paragraph above. As I mentioned, I could not find out definitively if the core was a wax or oil based core. Ordinarily, I have been testing pencils long enough now to make a pretty good judgment on a cores consistency, however, I think the SV bonding ingredient is knocking me off my game.
When the core lays down, it is very smooth, almost wax like and whilst after about the fifth layer, the pigment stopped applying, it was not really from what we would typically call wax bloom. When using significant pressure with the pencil, the core holds up incredibly well, which would ordinarily make one assume the core is more oil based, but again, the SV bonding ingredient has to be considered. So for now, I am going to say the pencils are wax based but stronger than your typical wax core pencil on account of the bonding ingredient.
When I first looked at the wood barrel close to the core, it appeared choppy, tattered and bad quality, initially I thought sharpening was going to be an issue, however this was absolutely not the case. Once the pencil was sharpened that choppy tattered appearance disappeared. I think the quality of the wood is obviously lower than that used in the Polychromos range, however, that absolutely does not affect anything about this pencil be it sharpening or use.
The vibrancy of the pigment is just amazing, even when applying a single light layer, the pigment is excellent. In this 60 set that I have been testing, there is the most wonderful flesh tone color that I have not seen in another Faber Castell set before and I am including the higher graded pencils like the Polychromos, however the pencils don't have the color name printed on the barrel which makes determining the pigment impossible.
I have briefly mentioned this, but in terms of Faber Castell's higher grade pencils and lowest grade pencils, from what I can establish, the Faber Castell Classic Colour would be considered their entry grade pencil, a kids grade if you like. After this would be the Colour Grip which would be considered the student grade and finally the Polychromos being the artist quality.
All that being established, the Faber Castell Classic Colour, other than there being no lightfast information or testing, they are a wonderful pencil and perfect for so many levels of art. I have tested these on adult colouring books from Derwent and other branded adult coloring books and they are amazing. Easy to layer and blend. It would be worth checking out my YouTube video review where you can see the pencils in action.
Faber Castell Classic Colour Sets and Pricing
Obviously with the Faber Castell Classic Colour being aimed toward kids, the largest set is 60, smaller sets are 12, 24, 36 and 48. The 60 set I purchased is a special edition set and comes in a cardboard box, which I am never thrilled about when it comes to colored pencils given their fragile nature. However, providing the pencils arrive to you safe and sound and you can over look the card packaging, in this particular set, it opens out into a simple but effective stand, displaying the pencils in all their glory and allowing easy selection.
If however, you are not for a card packaging, the Faber Castell Classic Colour also come is tins, exactly the same size set, just some are in tins and some card. The pricing is were the real treat is given how beautiful these pencils are to use. Also the low pricing is more than likely the reason the pencils are not sold open stock.
A set of 12 in the UK will cost £4.50, a 24 set will cost £9.77, the 36 set will cost £10.97, 48 set will cost £11.97 and the 60 set £13.50. In the US, a set of 12 will cost $9, 24 set will cost $12.99, the 36 set will cost $16, the 48 set will cost $18.90 and finally the largest set of 60 will cost $33.83. This 60 set was the only set I could find in the US Amazon store but it is worth having a look about as this price seems a bit high.
The prices I have quoted above are based on the cardboard sets and as of the date I am writing this review December 2017. Always make sure you check about before purchasing as you may find cheaper sets.
As I mentioned right at the very beginning of this review, I was really not looking for anything special with these pencils but boy was I wrong. I know Faber Castell is a big name in the art world, but I seriously thought even they can make a bad pencil, especially when they are aimed at children, but I really loved the Faber Castell Classic Colour.
There is no doubt that your are not going to be able to use these pencils for commissions in colored pencil fine art pieces, however there are lots of other areas that they can be used. For example, artists who use non archival markers for fan art or Manga, these pencils are perfect for the detail layers on top of the marker. Also colorists who use adult colouring books would really love these pencils.
Don't get me wrong, we all yearn for the Faber Castell Polychromos pencils, the top of the line pencils in the world of colored pencil artists, but for those getting started or on a strict budget, the Faber Castell Classic Colour are a truly excellent place to start; starting as you mean to go on with the solid and trustworthy name that is Faber Castell.
Don't forget to check out out full real time demonstration of these excellent pencils on our YouTube review as well as out speed drawing of Disney's Dory. As the pencils are marketed toward children I wanted to keep the drawing easy and simple yet effective and show the strong pigments released from these very cheap yet excellent quality pencils.