Koh-I-Noor Mondeluz Watercolor Pencils
Koh-I-Noor Mondeluz Watercolor Pencils
This is the last review of 2017 that I have written for COLORED PENCIL Magazine and I have to say we couldn't have selected a better pencil to end an absolutely excellent year on. I have reviewed a few Koh-I-Noor pencil brands this year and I have to say, I am so confused as to why they are not a much more widely used and talked about pencil.
Colored pencil art is perhaps one of the fastest growing mediums artists are using, what with the emergence of adult coloring books and the vast wealth of colored pencil tutorials accessible online. However, with this growth in popularity comes increased prices along the way. However, while we all are penny pinching, tightening our belts, none of us want to lose quality for a cheap deal; enter Koh-I-Noor and their superb range of colored pencils.
Koh-I-Noor Mondeluz Features.
Koh-I-Noor's Mondeluz range are their water soluble pencils and as with the Polycolor range I have reviewed on The Art Gear Guide, Koh-I-Noor have really produced a superb quality pencil and all for an outstanding price bracket.
The Mondeluz pencils look incredibly similar to the Polycolor range, the only distinguishing feature is the gold flash toward the very end of the pencil. On the Mondeluz pencil the gold flash is slightly bigger and rather than a white band separating the gold flash to the barrel, the Mondeluz has a black band, otherwise it would be a good idea to keep your Mondeluz and Polycolor pencils separate to avoid mistakes.
The Mondeluz barrel is hexagonal in shape and with the exception of the gold band on the end of the barrel, which is purely decorative, the entirety of the barrel is colored to indicate the core pigment. It is worth mentioning, as I do with so many art products, it is important to make a color swatch of your pencils and not rely on the barrel color as a guide. Many of the pencils do not match exactly the barrel color with the actual pigment.
The barrel is an ample 7mm in diameter, sporting a core of 3.8mm, again, exactly the same dimensions as the Polycolor range. Along one side of the pencil is printed in gold leaf, starting at the core and working back, is the company name "Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth", next is the pencil brand "Mondeluz", followed by an icon of a paintbrush indicating a water soluble pencil. Finally at the end of the pencil, close to the gold flash is a number 3720 which is representative of the pencil being part of the Mondeluz range and then another number which indicates the core pigment 3720/4, this is simply for connivance when ordering individual pencils. On the opposite side there is only a barcode
The sets available in this superb range are as follows, the good news is that the Mondeluz pencils are sold in open stock, which means you can purchase the pencils individually, this is always such an important factor for colored pencil artists. As a colored pencil artist, if you find yourself using a particular color group more often than others, rather than having to purchase a brand new set every time you need to replace a pencil, you can simply order that individual or group of pencils.
The smallest set available after simply individual pencils is a set of 12 pencils, followed by the 24 set, 36 set, 48 set and finally the largest set of 72. When it comes to purchasing sets of pencils, I always recommend getting the largest set you can afford, especially when you are purchasing wax or oil based colored pencils. The reason is simply because you need as many colors as you can get with pencils due to the limitation of mixing and blending, they are not like paints. However, with water soluble pencils, you can afford to purchase a smaller set and still have the ability to create to a lot of different hues and colors.
If you have never used water soluble pencils before, my recommendation would be to either purchase a few open stock or just get the 12 set. However, if you know what can be achieved with water soluble pencils and have a decent understanding of color theory, I would say not to go lower than a 24 set. With 24 water soluble pencils, you will have a fantastic selection of colors to mix and match from creating your own hues.
Finally, as with the Polycolor range, Koh-I-Noor have separate sets in the Mondeluz range aimed at more specific artists, for example, a 12 set of Brown, a 12 set of Grey, a 24 set of portrait and a 24 set of Landscape. There are one or two colors in these sets that you will find in the other sets, but the main purpose of this arrangement is flexibility for Koh-I-Noor customers.
Koh-I-Noor Mondeluz Pricing
As I have previously mentioned, Koh-I-Noor whilst creating beautiful quality art supplies, they have also managed to maintain such high quality products at manageable costs. As always it is important to note that the prices I am quoting here are as of the date I am writing this article and I have used Amazon as my guide given its global reach.
Here in the UK, the prices are as follows, for an individual Mondeluz pencil it will cost £0.85 pence, a 12 set will cost £11, the 24 set £18 , the 36 set will cost £27, the 48 set £39 and finally the 72 set will only cost you an amazing £46.
The same set in the US are as follows, a 12 set will cost approximately $11, the 24 set $30, the 36 set $32, the 48 set $44 and finally the 72 set will cost $67. Unfortunately at the time of writing this article I couldn't find individual pricing on pencils, just packs of 12 on all open stock pencils.
Unfortunately, there is no indication of the lightfast ratings on the pencil barrel, this is a point I constantly bring up, however there is a very easy fix. As I have previously mentioned, creating a color swatch on your preferred paper of choice is the first thing you should do, this will of course give you a true identification of the pigment color. On that swatch you can also simply add the lightfast rating, I know it would be better directly printed on the barrel, but this is the next best thing. To get the lightfast information, head over to Koh-I-Noor's site and they have a very comprehensive PDF will all the relevant information.
Koh-I-Noor Mondeluz Performance
I always think with regards to the performance of the pencil, watching my real time video demonstration is the best option, however, I have also included some images of swatches taken and a sketch I completed just giving a rough indication of the color vibrancy.
The core in it's dry format is incredibly soft, along the way, depending on pressure you use, you will get a little bit of crumbling, however this is not a problem as those deposits of pigment will dissolve as soon as they are activated with water.
I always consider the mark of a good water soluble pencil to be when the pigment is activated with water, all of the pigment turns to paint and no pencil marks can be seen below the paint, this can be the case in lesser quality pencils. Not so with the Koh-I-Noor Mondeluz, as soon as water touches the pigment, rich colorful paint appears allowing the artist to create, with no signs of pencil marks anywhere.
As you can see from this simple tree sketch, I have used a few different greens, blues and browns, working in layers. Working with water soluble pencils allows you all the fun and creativity of traditional watercolor paints, with all the precision and detail of pencils.
I think it is pretty evident from reading this review my opinions on the Koh-I-Noor Mondeluz water soluble pencils. I have a lot of respect for Koh-I-Noor, the products that I have tested and reviewed thus far have delivered remarkably surprising results. I had always considered them to be lower grade art supplies, but this was a reckless conclusion based on never had tried them, however my opinion rapidly changed the second I started using them.
I think it is incredible how Koh-I-Noor can produce such a high quality pencil and still maintain student grade prices. Koh-I-Noor has not compromised at all on quality which is outstanding. I highly recommend the Mondeluz water color pencils to young artists just dipping their toes into water soluble pencils and established colored pencil artists looking for a really excellent quality water soluble pencil.