Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencil Review
Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencil Review
I purchased this set of Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils about a year ago and for that past year, I have resisted the overwhelming urge to get them out and draw something with them. When I conduct a review of a product, I prefer it to be brand new, a fresh set for the viewers to see, as opposed to a well used set with pencils of all sizes sharpened away, there is just something unappealing to this view. however, the reason it has taken me so long to bring this review to you all is simply to do with the vast quantity of products I already had and have to review. That being said, the Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils are in the spotlight and so “Come On Down” Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils, the Review is Right.
I am sure you are already asking the question, “Is this the same company as the vehicle manufacture, Refrigerator, vacuum and many other electrical equipment” Well, yes it is, however, I have no idea how the plant manager was walking along the line one morning and decided, “I know, why don’t we make art supplies?” Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to this, I have had a look about and tried to contact the company, but unfortunately still no further along. The Uni name may be a more familiar to artists, it is quite a popular name among not only art supplies but run of the mill, supplies such as the incredibly popular Uni Posca Paint Pens or every colored pencil artists best friend, the white Uni-Ball Signo Pen. From what I can gather, Mitsubishi is the parent company and Uni is the art come stationary side of the company, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi.
Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencil Packaging.
Whatever the companies history or structure, I am here to review these pretty remarkable Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils, so I think the first thing I should talk about is the packaging. Mitsubishi is a Japanese company and it is my experience that the Japanese art supply companies put as much effort and attention to detail into the packaging as they do the actual products. The Mitsubishi Uni are no exception to this rule and in fact, of all the packaging for colored pencils or markers that I have reviewed, the Mitsubishi Uni are perhaps the most unique and functional packaging.
As you can see from the images, the Mitsubishi come in a36 set, 72 set, 100 set and there is also a 240 set, which is actually much harder to find and may actually be discontinued. The 72 and 100 sets come in a hard plastic case, almost like a briefcase, once the set is opened the pencils are displayed, set in black hard plastic plinth like displays. I personally think that, of both sets, the 100 set has the most functional and practical layout and ease of selecting the pencil you require. I think the images best describe the layout of both sets and their functional capabilities.
The 240 set, which I only think is discontinued due to how difficult they are to purchase, is designed like a chest of drawers. They look really nice however, some people have purchased them mistaking thinking they were wooden when they are actually only cardboard. Regardless of the materials used, the 240 set is incredibly functional and attractive looking.
Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencil Characteristics.
The barrels are round, which I know some pencil artists don’t like due to the probability of them rolling and falling off desks, however, I personally prefer the round barrelled pencils, they feel more natural in the hand and I feel I have more control with them. Each barrel is a perfect 8mm diameter inside which is a pigment packed 4.2mm core.
Each barrel is actually lacquered the same color as the core pigment, which in a lot of cases makes pigment identification and selection easy. the core composition is actually really difficult to describe and I know my description will not make sense. I did try to contact the company to confirm this information but unfortunately didn’t get a reply, however, if at sometime they do reply I will amend anything I need to. The lay down of the Mitsubishi Uni pigment is so soft, really smooth and actually very similar to another Japanese based pencil, Holbein. However the cores do not wear down fast as one would expect from such a soft lay down.
To the best of my research the core is advertised as wax based, which I would concur with, but then so many of the core characteristics are reminiscent of an oil based core. There is no wax bloom, yet it should be expected given how soft the lay down and coverage is, the core hold a point incredibly well, again, characteristic of an oil based core. As I mentioned, the description of this pencil is not simple, they seem to defy all the norms of what colored pencil artists, colourist and crafters have come to expect from certain pencil types.
Along the barrel, there is a good level of information printed as well. Along one side of the barrel is printed “Established 1887”, not really relevant information to the actual pencil, never the less, obviously a point of pride for the company. Further along is printed the familiar Mitsubishi logo along with the wording, “Mitsubishi”, beside this is printed “Colored Pencil” and then finally “Uni”
On the opposite side of the barrel the pigment is printed in English, followed by a number which corresponds to the pigment for open stock purposes and finally the companies home, “Japan” is printed. The barrels themselves have a look of sophistication about them, each block of information printed on the barrel is segregated by a gold bar and the ends of the pencils have two gold bands stamped, purely aesthetic reasons.
As well as the pigment name being printed on the barrel of the pencils, the black plastic plinth that the Mitsubishi Uni Pencils slot into have the pigment names printed along the slot in Japanese and English, as well as the pigment number. This is actually quite clever and makes keeping the pencils in color order easy. Sometimes, when I get a set of pencils, because of my OCD, if I have to keep them in the tin, I like to try and keep them in the order they arrive; which is often color order. However, with the best will in the world, when using the pencils they become messed up and it can take a bit of time lining the pencils back up in accordance to color, the Mitsubishi Uni packaging makes this very easy.
Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencil Performance.
As I have alluded to throughout the review, I have thoroughly enjoyed using the Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils, it was, without a doubt, a test of will power to have not opened the set and tested them as soon as I purchased them, but the wait was well worth it.
I did manage to get some art work completed with the pencils to help demonstrate, however, due to my absence and caring for my Dad, after the first three attempts to create something decent, I almost gave up. I think the time away from any drawing and stress of my Dad caused me to get artists block, nothing I done worked. Although I have completed something in the end, it is not of a high standard but I know all of you completely understand and I thank you. I demonstrated the pencils on this botanical piece, I think the art work demonstrates the pigment strengths rather well.
I also completed some tests on black paper, here I demonstrated the white pencil and just how strong the pigment is in this particular pencil, as well as the two metallic pencils. You can of course check out my YouTube review to see the pencils being demonstrated in real time, as well as the art work in speed drawing format.
I sharpened every pencil in the 72 set I purchased and not once had an issue, all cores remained fully in tact and the barrel wood shaved off perfectly. I am often asked about sharpening pencils and the most important advice I can give is to make sure that the blade in your sharpener is sharp. I know this sounds like obvious advice, however, many artists purchase a sharpener and never think to replace the blades on a regular basis, but it is vital to ensuring good sharpening of the pencil.
Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencil Lightfast Information.
Unfortunately there is no lightfast information for the Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils and it is unlikely to come anytime soon. This would appear to be a running trend I have encountered with Japanese pencils, Mitsubishi have no plans to perform lightfast testing and this was the case with other pencils from the area, I am not sure why this is the case or if it may have something to do with international toxicity guidelines, although I am not certain of this.
It is a shame that no lightfast testing has been conducted or is likely to be conducted on such a gorgeous pencil, I say a shame simply because I think many Fine Art Colored Pencil artists would enjoy these pencils and even more so if they could easily obtain the 240 set. Of course I always try to make it clear that lightfast is not the be all and end all for colored pencils, the only artists lightfast will be a serious issue for, are those wishing to sell original art work or have their work hung in galleries. If this is not your main focus and you are happy selling prints, or an adult colouring book artist or crafters, don’t worry too much about lightfast ratings.
Mitsubishi Uni Available Sets.
I briefly spoke about the sets available at the beginning of the review, however I will just clarify it here. The Mitsubishi Uni pencils can be found in sets of 36, 72, 100 and 240, however, being a Japanese company, the Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencil sets can be quite difficult to find in the US, UK and parts of Europe. I have been able to locate pencils in open stock form, however, again this is a difficult process for artists in the UK, US and Europe and they are not from official sources. Open stock pencils I have discovered have come from a helpful or an opportunistic sales person in Japan, who has purchased sets and is selling pencils open stock for the UK, US and European artist community, very similar to the Holbein situation I wrote about.
It is without a doubt, such a shame that pencils from Japan are not more readily available here in the UK, US or Europe. Given the explosive growth of colored pencil sales, colored pencil artists, adult coloring book artists and artistic crafters, I really think these companies would do well. almost every Japanese pencil I have tested and reviewed has been of incredible quality. I am aware that each country has different toxicity testing quotas to Japan and that this has been a stumbling block for other companies in the past, however I am sure there is a solution to this issue.
Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencil Pricing
Given the illusive nature of the Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils in the UK, US and parts of Europe, locating prices has not been easy and in some cases is not complete, I will amend pricing if and when I locate them, but for now this is the kind of prices you can expect to pay for a set of Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils.
In the UK, I was unable to locate a 36 set, the 72 set will cost you £71.86 , the 100 set will cost you £113.85 and as with the 36 set, I was unable to locate any 240 sets. For artists in the UK, this works out just over £1 per pencil which is excellent given the quality of the pencils and the packaging quality.
In the US, the Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencil 36 set will cost you $46, the 72 set will cost $76, the 100 set will cost $143 and I was unable to find the 240 set. Again the prices for these sets are in my opinion really quite good.
In Europe I was unable to locate the 36 set, I will of course update the page as soon as the prices become available. the 72 set will cost €116, the 100 set will cost €136 and again the 240 set escaped me in Europe.
Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencil Conclusion
I really enjoyed using the Mitsubishi Uni colored pencils and find it so frustrating that these well crafted and generously pigmented artist tools from Japan are often so illusive. I hope that at some point, whatever is causing the problems for Mitsubishi and other Japan based art companies from selling their products in Europe, America and the UK is obliterated and resolved.
If you are able to locate a set of the Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils, you may have to wait a week or two for delivery as they will most likely be shipping from Japan. The lack of lightfast information is only problematic for fine art colored pencil artists who sell their original art work or submit their work to galleries. For all other colored pencil artists / enthusiasts, lightfast ratings are not compulsory and so you can still purchase, enjoy and create the most wonderful art with non-lightfast colored pencils.
When I very first seen the Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils, I have to admit, it was the curiosity of the packaging that transfixed my fascination and interest and I am sure I am not alone in this bizarre reason for purchasing an art product. Never the less, when I eventually got round to testing and demonstrating them, I was incredibly surprised.
Ordinarily I try not to watch other reviews of products I am likely to review, only because I do not want any ideas or preconceived opinions, but when I first became interested in the Mitsubishi Uni colored pencils, I wasn’t really reviewing products and so did watch one or two videos. For the most part, reviews I read of the pencils absolutely conflict with my own personal experience. Many did not like the pencils and thought of them as too hard and not pigmented, I think this only intensifies the statement I have been always saying to you guys and that is. I try to offer the most unbiased, matter of fact information regarding a product I am reviewing, but before you go and spend your hard earned money on a product, check out more than just my review. ensure if you have any questions about the review that you leave your questions either in the comments section or directly to me.
Don’t forget you can watch my YouTube review of the Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils, as well as my speed drawing of the botanical piece using only the pencils. You can also view still images of the art work at various stages of completion on this page. My aim is to submit as many formats as possible regarding my reviews, to try and give you the very best possible look at the product without you having to actually spend your own money.