Giotto Di Natura Fila Colored Pencil Review
Giotto Di Natura Fila Colored Pencil Review
Every once in a while, when I am watching some of my most favourite artists on YouTube or elsewhere on the internet, I come across an art supply that I have either never seen before or think that viewers of The Art Gear Guide would love to know about.
On this particular occasion I was on YouTube watching the wonderful Italian artist Davide Zezza Art. As an artist he is phenomenal, a colored pencil and marker artist, he draws realistic portraitures of Footballers, Movie Actors, Celebs, FanArt and other sensational pieces. One of the things I was admiring about Davide’s process in a speed painting he had uploaded was the wonderful blending he was achieving, so I had to ask him the name of the pencils he was using.
Much to my surprise, considering how huge Davide’s YouTube channel has become, I received a reply almost immediately answering my request and so the hunt was on to find a set of Giotto Di Natura Colored Pencils.
One of my main objectives for The Art Gear Guide is to not just review the most popular colored pencils, Watercolors, paper or markers, but to review every supply I can get my hands on regardless of price or popularity. I want The Art Gear Guide to have to most extensive catalog of reviews on the internet, from the most popular to the least known, from the most expensive to the least expensive and on that note, this review of the Giotto Di Natura illustrate that ethos beautifully.
Giotto Di Natura Characteristics.
The first thing you will notice about the Giotto Di Natura colored pencils is the beautiful natural wood barrel, exposing the grain of the wood under the highly polished glint of the clear protective lacquer. The wood is actually Californian Cedar Wood, which quite a lot of pencils are made from, however, the quality of the wood used for the Giotto Di Natura is excellent based on how smooth and painless sharpening them has been.
The beautiful Californian Cedar Wood barrels are an ample 7.8mm in diameter, held within these gorgeous sticks of nature is a luscious 3.8mm highly pigmented core, but more on the core later.
Running along the barrel in Green Metallic print is information important for the artists, occasionally the print is difficult to read depending upon the lighting. From the core to the end is printed the company name “Fila” closely followed by the pencil brand “Giotto Di Natura”. After this is printed the dimension of the core (3.8mm) followed by the pigment name in two languages, finishing off with a number corresponding to the individual pencil pigment.
The end of the pencil is exposed, identifying the core of the pencil, this is a feature I am personally not too fond of, only due to the damage that my be sustained to the core as a result of the exposure, the vast majority of pencils I have reviewed do have the cores protected with a pigment identifier.
The only downside to the Giotto Di Natura characteristics is the difficulty in quick pigment identification. All the barrels are natural wood with only the cores identifying the pigments visually at a glance. Once the pencils are stored laying down or in a jar, visually selecting a pigment can be tricky.
Giotto Di Natura Sets Available
Unfortunately the only sets available for these gorgeous pencils is 12, 24 and 36, however there are 42 colors in total, with four fluorescent colors, plus a gold and silver pencils. the Fluorescent and metallic colored pencils can only be purchased individually, they do not appear in any of the available sets.
The reason I say unfortunately about the set sizes is because, when I discover a set of colored pencils that I really enjoy, I would prefer to have the option of buying a larger set such as a 72 or 120. I make no secret of the fact that as a colored pencil reviewer, I normally recommend that if you are purchasing a set of colored pencils, try your best not to go lower than a set of 36, anything above this is a bonus. Mixing pigments and blending with colored pencils is not like working with paints, it can be done, but not to the same level due to the nature of the colored pencil medium, which is why at least four shades of the same color is preferential for establishing seamless gradients.
Giotto Di Natura Set Prices
Here in the UK, the Giotto Di Natura Colored Pencils are relatively easy to source online and incredibly well priced. For the 12 set of Giotto Di Natura Colored Pencils it will cost £4.14 for the 24 set it will cost £14.10 and finally for the 36 set it will cost an incredible £16.75
Unfortunately, at the time of writing this review I was unable to find Giotto Di Natura colored pencils on the US Amazon site. I will of course update this page as a when they become available.
For artists in Europe, to get hold of your own Giotto Di Natura colored pencils you will pay €4.70 for the set of 12, for the 24 set you will pay €16.80 and finally for the 36 set in Europe you will pay €22.14
Giotto Di Natura Colored Pencil Performance
I personally don’t like to get bogged down in whether or not the core of a colored pencil is wax or oil based, so many people, myself included before I reviewed and spoke to many colored pencil manufactures, automatically think that wax core means a soft core and oil means a hard core. This is not always the cased based on so many factors, so for me personally I focus more of the cores hardness or softness.
Having said this, the Giotto Di Nature colored pencil cores are gorgeously soft, making blending and mixing a dream. On my YouTube review of the Giotto Di Natura colored pencils and the speed drawing I have also completed, you can see better just how good they are at blending.
I swatched all 36 colors out on a Strathmore Mixed Media paper, which has a nice tooth to it, as you can see in the images, the pigment lay down is beautiful, however, the Giotto Di Natura also react well to smooth paper. On the tests that I have added here, these were conducted on Strathmore Bristol Smooth and it is clear to see the blending ability, however, I have also completed a blending test in real time on the video review so you can see just how well they blend.
The speed drawing / art I completed with the Giotto Di Natura colored pencils, was also completed using markers, however this shows how well the pencils react to smooth paper and on top of alcohol markers. I was able to achieve excellent detail using the pencils on this drawing and in particular the white Giotto Di Natura pencil really worked well on darker areas of marker pigment allowing for highlights.
The only negative aspect of the Giotto Di Natura is the packaging, which really isn’t a huge deal breaker due to the fact most people will store their colored pencils in wallets or other storage solutions. The packaging is a flimsy cardboard, which does allow access to the pencils via a sliding cardboard tray, never the less, definitely not the type of package you would keep the pencils in. I also tested the Giotto Di Natura pencils in two adult colouring books and they performed perfectly.
All in all I was really impressed with the Giotto Di Natura colored pencils, they sharpened well due to their high quality wood barrels, the pigments are bright and vibrant, delivering beautiful results on lots of different paper types. I also tested the pigments on black paper and as you can see from the image below, they look just as stunning on black paper as they do on white.
Giotto Di Natura Lightfast Information.
there is no information on lightfast ratings for the Giotto Di Natura colored pencils, which given the price point of the pencils, is not surprising. I have checked the company website and tried to reach out to them for this information, but to no avail.
With that being said, I would not recommend that these pencils be used for commission work, purely due to the lack of lightfast information. The ability of the pencils to perform beautiful art is right up there with some of the most expensive and popular pencils on the market, so it is important not to confuse a lack of lightfast information with a lack of quality.
About Giotto Di Natura
I don’t normally add information on the pencil origins, however as I am sure some people reading this review will never have heard of the pencils, I feel it is important to briefly explain. Giotto Di Natura are an Italian brand of pencils, they are owned by the Fila Company, which I am sure most of you will recognise that name if you have used or owned Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor pencils. The Giotto Di Natura look very similar to some of the Lyra branded pencils in their range.
Fila own quite a few of the big names in art, such as Prang, Dixon Ticondaroga, Strathmore, Lucas, Daler & Rowney, Canson and many more. Because they are an Italian pencil, availability is much more prominent in the UK and Europe. They can be purchased on the US Amazon, I have seen them before, however as already explained, at the time of writing this review there was nothing available.
Given the exceptional price point of these pencils and the beautiful quality, I think they are a really fantastic set of colored pencils for artists of all grades. All you have to do is check out the artist Davide Zezza Art and see just what the pencils are capable of in the right hands. I have been able to achieve nice work with the pencils in my own art.
As I mentioned, due to the lightfast information, or lack there of, the pencils should not be used in work destined for commissions, never the less they are more than capable of being used in many other areas of art such as adult coloring books, colored pencil art, card making etc; I really enjoyed using the Giotto Di Natura colored pencils.
Finally, don’t forget you can see my full YouTube review of the Giotto Di Natura Colored Pencils on this link or you can check out my Spider-Man Speed Drawing on this link, or if you would rather just take a look at the art work I created with the colored pencils, you can check out images at various stages of completion on this link.