Mitsubishi Uni No 888 Colored Pencils
Mitsubishi Uni No 888 Colored Pencils
I was incredibly fortunate to have been sent this set of pencils last Christmas from a wonderful subscriber of the channel. At the time I done a quick video on all the wonderful gifts this subscriber so generously sent me, however I have really wanted to review this set for you all, especially after my Mitsubishi 72 Uni Colored Pencils I reviewed a while ago which the most prominent thing about those pencils was the display case they came in as well.
I will say this right from the outset, as with so many Japanese or China based pencils, they are not always easy to find here in the UK, US, Canada or Europe. I know that a lot of this is due to the standards regarding toxic testing in the West, however I would love to see some compromise established so that these pencils can be exported to the West much easier. I feel that especially with the huge boom in colored pencil artists and adult colouring book artists, the Asian companies would do well from the move financially speaking and we the artists would have easier access to gorgeous pencils.
Uni No 888 Colored Pencil Characteristics
The first thing I noticed about the Uni No. 888 Colored Pencils when I started to use them was their very light feel. I was unable to find out what wood the company use for their pencils, but this might have something to do with their very light feel in the hand. I know this sounds odd given we are talking about a pencil and in the grand scheme of things how heavy can a pencil be? However, some pencils have a nice balanced weight to them which actually helps in so many ways when it comes to using them. The Uni No 888 are exceptionally light, something I wasn’t particular enamoured with, however I am sure those artists who struggle with wrist or hand disabilities would welcome this part of the Uni No 888.
Despite this light feel to the pencil, it is actually quite a chunky player, the over all diameter of the barrel is 7.5mm with an average 3.2mm core. The barrel of the pencil is lacquered the same color as the core pigment which of course makes visual pigment identification easy, especially if your pencils are removed from the tin and placed in a jar or other pencil storage container.
Printed along one side of the barrel is the company name and country of origin “Mitsubishi Pencil Japan”, closely followed by the pigment name in Japanese and English. On the opposite side of the barrel, the actual pencil brand is stamped, so in this case “Uni No. 888 Colored Pencil”.
The core of the Uni No 888 is quite soft with a creamy consistency, you all know my thoughts of labelling pencils oil or wax based as the research I have conducted concludes there is no such thing as one or the other and that most pencils have both wax and oil in the cores. The hardness or softness of the core depends on many different variables, such as the type of wax used, the filler used etc. However in the case of the Uni No 888, the core delivers strong pigment levels and is pleasant to use.
Despite the creamy consistence of the core when layering, the pencil holds a point incredibly well, in fact when you first use the Uni No 888 pencil, due to the feel of the core when layering, you would be expecting to sharpen regularly, but this was not the case at all.
Uni No 888 Colored Pencil Performance
As previously mentioned, the core of the Uni No 888 is soft and creamy, the core layers incredibly well also. At first I tried the pencil on high quality Arches 100% Cotton Watercolor paper, but because of this high quality paper I tested the pencil on cheaper papers. So I tested the Uni No 888 on Strathmore 300 Bristol Smooth which took the pencil core really well and the strength of the pigment really stood out.
I also tried the core on some Strathmore Toned Tan Paper and this paper also handled the Uni No 888 really well. As with a lot of my reviews, I like to try the pencils on black paper just to give a good understand of the core opacity or opaqueness. As you can see from the images provided, the Uni No 888 covered the black paper really well, their opaqueness was really nice. It is worth mentioning that this has no bearing on whether a pencil is good or not. Some artists prefer more transparent pigments and others more opaque pencils, it really all depends on your style of art and the paper you like to use, I just like to add the test to provide as much information as possible to help you guys decide if the product is for you or not.
With regards to blending, this is were I felt the Uni No 888 let itself down just a little bit. The pencils blended really nice but for some reason it took a little bit more work to establish a nice blend as opposed to other pencils which blend effortlessly. I originally thought it might have had something to do with the paper I used, what with it being 100% cotton, so I tried blending on the Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Smooth and it was slightly easier but again work was needed. I personally felt that the blending results were a little bit patchy and whilst I am not the best colored pencil artist in the world, I am okay at blending, so I am not sure what the problem is.
I didn’t complete art work with these pencils and I have to be honest with you guys as I always am. I did start out drawing a lemon, some botanical art, but I just wasn’t feeling it and stopped half way through the piece. What with everything my wife and I are going through with our daughter Amelia, we have been so stressed, not sleeping and just really frustrated and confused as to what is happening with her. This has obviously had an impact on my art and my channel in general and I would like to apologise to everyone of you, things will get better soon and I will get back to uploading more regular reviews and providing art work to help demonstrate the products I am reviewing.
I have however add two spheres, both using approximately four or five colors to help demonstrate blending with the Uni No 888, so whilst this is not the best demonstration to show you guys, I hope you are still able to see the level of blending achievable.
Uni No 888 Lightfast Information
Researching the Uni No 888 has been really difficult, in fact any Mitsubishi Colored Pencils are notoriously difficult to research. On their European website, they provide the most basic information regarding their products and that is fine, but for someone like myself who likes to try my very best and deliver as much information as possible, it is frustrating. Of course there is a language issue which makes contacting the company direct problematic also and when I say language issue I mean I should be learning Japanese to communicate with the companies.
There is no lightfast information about the pencils on the actual barrel as is the case with some pencils, there is no information on the pencil tin either and the same for the European website for Mitsubishi Uni. So until I can find out otherwise, for now I have to conclude that the lightfast information for the Uni No 888 is either weak or the test just hasn’t been done.
Uni No 888 Colored Prices
As I have mentioned, here in the West the Mitsubishi Uni No 888 Colored Pencils are quite difficult to get hold of, so trying to track down pricing for the UK, US and Europe is quite difficult.
The best place to get hold of a set here in the UK is CultPens, one of the finest establishments for artists to get hold of colored pencils, markers of all type, pens etc you name it and Cult Pens will have it. I am not being paid by them to advertise their services, in fact I have to make them aware that I have mentioned them in my review, but I am always keen to make sure you guys know about the best places to buy your supplies from and Cult Pens is one of my favourite. Speedy delivery, professional service and such as excellent array of products. Cult Pens sell the 36 set Uni No 888 Colored Pencils for £24.99
I tried looking on Amazon US for the set but was unable to locate them, I also tried Jerry’s and Blick’s but none of them had them either. If things change I will obviously update this page with the relevant prices. Again, I think this is down to the toxicity testing that is required for pencils to pass as to the reason the Uni No 888 are not available in the US. If anyone in the US or Canada know where they can purcahase this brand of pencil, please let me know and I will update the page.
I was able to find the Mitsubishi Uni No 888 Colored Pencils in Amazon Europe but they are incredibly expensive which again might be down to the export fees required to sell the pencils there in the first place. In Amazon Europe the Uni No 888 Colored Pencils 36 set will cost €98
I think the best pencils from Japan which illustrate everything I have mentioned in this post is the Holbein. the Holbein Colored Pencils are gorgeous in every sense of the word but they are also incredibly difficult to get hold of here in the West. I have completed a review of the Holbein Colored Pencils which you can see by following this link.
Mitsubishi Uni No. 888 Colored Pencils Conclusion
The Mitsubishi Uni No 888 are quite similar to the Mitsubishi Uni which I reviewed a while back, there are a lot of similarities to both sets, however the Uni No 888 have a much smaller selection with regards to the sets available.
Aside from availability the only downside to the Uni No. 888 Colored Pencils is the blending ability, as I mentioned in the review, they do blend but they take a little but more effort on the artists part as opposed to similar soft cored pencils.
For the most part pricing is reasonable, the price listed in Cult Pens is pretty average for this particular set of pencils, however the European set is considerable more expensive and based on that price I would say to avoid purchasing them; for €98 there are a lot more pencils available to you.
Personally, I really enjoyed using the Uni No 888 and the range of papers that I tested them on worked favourably. I think given the lack of lightfast information, the Uni No 888 would be an excellent set of pencils for Adult Coloring Book Artists
Don’t forget you can of course check out my YouTube video review of the Uni no 888 Colored Pencils were you can see me mix and blend the pencils and getting a better understanding of the pencils via the demonstrations.