When I was asked by a viewer of my YouTube channel to review the Lyra Polycolor, I was secretly excited. Of course I knew about the Lyra, well... of their existence, but I had never really considered them as an addition to my already growing collection of fine coloured pencil, so this was an excuse to get them, however, I have since discovered this was an incredibly snooty outlook. This is my review of the Lyra Polycolor Colored Pencils.
Lyra area German company, which when I discovered this, I wondered how they were competing with the other incredibly successful coloured pencil company, Faber Castell. To run along side this written review of the Lyra is my Youtube video reviewing the pencils with testing and colour swatches available. If you are interested simply click on the link here and you can watch the video, or select the YouTube tab in the navigation bar above.
So on with the review. The technical specs of the pencils are as follows. Running through the centre of the cedar wood barrel is a 4mm core of pigment filled, wax core. The polycolor is a round barrel, which is my own personal preference as opposed to hexagonal or triangular.
Clearly marked along one side of the pencil is the brand name "Lyra" followed by Rembrandt Polycolor which is the model of pencil and then the location of the companies origins, which in this case is Germany. On the other side of the pencil is the name of the colour written in English and German, followed by a number, corresponding to the color. Finally the pencil is capped at the end with a clear indication of the colour, allowing you a visual representation of the color you are reaching for at a glance. This flash of color at the end of the pencil is easily distinguished against the beautiful cedar wood barrel for the remainder of the pencil.
Lightfast rating of any coloured pencil is incredibly important for professional coloured pencil artists and for the novice artist, if you are interested in pursuing a career in selling your art, this is an issue that you too should be concerned about. The lightfast rating of any art supply, refers to how long the colour will last in your art, under sun light, colour fades and this is when the importance of lightfastness comes into play.
The Lyra Polycolor are definitely an excellent choice of pencil with regards to the lightfastness of the pigments used. I have reviewed the 36 set of Polycolor, out of which 33 pencils hold the highest lightfast rating of three stars and only three hold a two star rating, meaning that there are no one star pencils. Three stars is the highest rating on the lightfast chart and to have 33 out of 36 pencils with this rating is excellent.
With regards to actually using these pencils, I was incredibly surprised at just how amazing the coverage of pigment was, in fact, I personally likened the Lyra Polycolor to a mixture of the Derwent Coloursoft and Prismacolor Premier pencils; a soft waxy and creamy consistency. Whilst sharpening the Polycolor, not a single pencil split or lead broke, although laying down the pigment is soft and creamy, the core certainly seems to be well made and tough. In my video I conduct an erasability test which you can see here, however, the colour lifted quite well with the Derwent Battery eraser and TomBow Mono, but not so well with the Faber Castell putty eraser.
As with any wax based pencil, they will only accept a certain amount of layers before the wax build up cause bloom, however this is easily remedied with the use of solvents such as Zest-it. When blending the colours dry using the Lyra blender which is included in the set, it simply just works and the colours look beautiful.
Sets And Pricing
This is perhaps one of the most surprising and best parts of the Lyra Polycolor pencils. They are available is sets of 12, 24, 36 and 72. Unfortunately 72 is the largest sets that are available for these beautiful pencils, however, who knows what may happen in the future. For the quality of the Lyra and the excellent lightfastness, you would expect to pay about £50 for a set of 36, however, on Amazon UK, £28.99 is all you will pay for a 36 set and approximately £60 for the 72 set. In my opinion this is a bargain, taking into consideration the quality and lightfast rating of the pencils.
I think these are an excellent all round pencil, for beginners on a tight budget or artists. I see more and more coloured pencil artists on YouTube, Deviant Art etc using these pencils and producing incredible art. I would certainly recommend the Lyra Polycolor.