Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils
Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils
Okay; so there is a bit of a story behind these pencils and my obsession to get my hands on them and try them. A while ago when I first became interested in art, I would watch all kinds of tutorials on YouTube and occasionally I would see pastel artists showing off their pastels. For the most part in the background I'd see a few stubby pencils with coloured barrels and grey flashes on the end. I always wanted to know what brand they were and was so surprised to find out they were from Stabilo.
Some time later I was in contact with Stabilo and they sent to me a few sets of their pencils which I have reviewed, they also included a 24 set of their Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils which I was over the moon about. After using the CarbOthello Pastel Pencils for all of an hour, I just had to get the full set I loved them that much and purchased the 60 set, but more of the sets next.
Stabilo CarbOthello Characteristics
I know the visual appearance of a pencil is not really relevant, especially to the performance, however, occasionally, you come across a pencil that is so eloquent looking that it just makes using that pencil all the more enjoyable, the CarbOthello is one such pencil.
The barrel is coated in the same color as the actual pigment in the core and all pencils capped off with a striking battleship grey inch flash. The internal core is a generous 4.4mm jam packed pigment delivery system, held securely within the 8mm Cedar wood barrel.
Along the barrel is stamped in gold leaf the incredibly popular and recognisable Stabilo logo, which is the swan inside the circle, closely followed by the company name stamped "Stabilo". Slightly further along is stamped "CarbOthello", which is of course the type of pencil. It is obvious when you start to use a pastel pencil, that it is a pastel pencil, however, if your pencil are grouped together in a jar, they are not that easily distinguishable, hence the name "CarbOthello" stamped.
Further along the barrel toward the end is a number 1400/450, this is for open stock purposes. The 1400 part of the number lets the manufacture know you are looking for the CarbOthello pencil as opposed to the Original or Aquarelle pencils. The second part of the number after the forward slash refers to the actual pigment you are seeking.
Finally and perhaps most importantly for some artists the barrel is stamped with the pigments lightfast ratings in the way of a star system. The rating is from one to five stars with five being the most lightfast. There are no actual pigment names stamped on the barrels, which I know can be beneficial for some artists, never the less, there is a color chart with the names available and I have included it here for you to view.
Stabilo CarbOthello Lightfast Information
As mentioned the Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils do have the lightfast ratings printed on the barrels, which is incredibly important for artists, particularly if you are wanting to sell your work or have it shown in galleries. Having this information directly on the barrel of the pencil will allow the artist the ability to select the pencils with the highest lightfast rating and therefore the least likely pigment to fade over time.
In the full set of 60 CarbOthello pastel pencils the lightfast ratings are as follows, with five stars being the most lightfast and one or zero stars the least. There are 22 five star rated pigments, 9 four star rated, 17 three star rated, 4 two star, 5 one star and there are 3 pencils with no stars at all. It is unusual for an art supply to have no stars at all as they normally just settle for the lowest rating to be printed on the barrel.
Stabilo CarOthello Sets Available
Unfortunately, the largest set that is available is a 60 set, I say unfortunately because I love these pastel pencils so much that I'd love to see more of them, perhaps a 120 set, but this is just me being greedy for what I think is an excellent product.
The smallest set is the set of 12, followed by a 24 tin, 36 tin, 48 tin and then the 60 tin. The 60 set is also available in a beautiful wooden box gift set which opens out doubling up as a storage option for the pencils.
While the smaller sets of 12, 24, 36 and 48 come in tins, the 60 set tin is a little bit more special than the smaller sets. Within the 60 tin set is two layers of gorgeous heavily pigmented pastel pencils, but there is also a plastic sharpener specifically for pastel pencils made by Stabilo. You also get a kneaded eraser and finally a single paper blending stump which is excellent for blending. This 60 tin set is an incredibly comprehensive set for any pastel artist to get, obtaining all the tools you will need in one purchase.
Stabilo CarbOthello Pricing
The Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils are by no means the cheapest pastel pencils on the market, but they are worth every single penny. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I was incredibly fortunate to have Stabilo kindly send me a 24 set of the CarbOthello to review, but I loved them so much that I just had to purchase the full set of 60.
Here in the UK the Stabilo CarOthello sets will cost approximately the following, the 12 set will cost £18, the 24 set will cost £26, the 36 set will cost £37, the 48 set will cost £59, the 60 tin set will cost £64.93 and the beautiful wood gift set of 60 Stabilo CarbOthello will cost £98.66. Also Open stock CarbOthello pencils will cost approximately £1.15
In Europe the Stabilo CarbOthello sets will cost the following the 12 set will cost €15, the 24 set will cost €28, the 36 set will cost €42, the 48 set will cost €61, the 60 tin set will cost €76 and the 60 wooden gift set will cost €98. Also the Open Stock Stabilo CarbOthello €1.25
In the US the Stabilo CarbOthello sets will cost the following the 12 set will cost $16, the 24 set will cost $29, the 36 set will cost $41, the 48 set will cost $62, the 60 tin set will cost $72 and the 60 wooden gift set will cost $99.42. Also the Open Stock Stabilo CarbOthello $1.45
Stabilo CarbOthello Performance
To see a full demonstration of the Stabilo CarbOthello, check out my YouTube speed drawing of a Leopard and also check out my YouTube review of the pencils, both formats show the CarbOthello pencils demonstrated in various methods.
Stabilo state on their packaging for these CarbOthello Pastel Pencils that they are more chalk based pastels and I found this to be the case when using them. Compared to other Pastel pencils that I have used, the CarbOthello are a little bit drier and harder, but they hold an intense punch of pigment when color is laid down.
As always, in my opinion, the paper used in such an important factor to achieving the results you are looking for, with the speed drawing and demonstration that I have included, I used Clairefontaine Pastelmat. I have tried and tested a lot of pastel pencils and for the most part the results were not fantastic, which I now attribute partly to the paper I was using. The only other Pastel paper that I have not tried yet is the Velour paper, but as soon as I do I will post the results and my take.
I have provided a swatch of a few colors from the Stabilo CarbOthello 24 set on one of the darkest colored sheets of pastelmat. Although Stabilo class them as chalky, the feel of the pencils as they lay down color certainly doesn't feel chalky, or at least how one would expect chalk to react on paper.
You can see from the swatch that the pigments are incredibly bright and vibrant, they blend remarkably well as you will also be able to see on the YouTube review video. With regards to smudging the pastel, on the Pastelmat it is slightly more difficult to do this, however this is more down to the nature of the surface and it's gritty consistency gripping hold of the pastel and keeping it. On a less toothier surface, the CarbOthello pastel pencils are much easier to smudge and move about.
The CarbOthello Pastel Pencils are also slightly aquarellable, they are not exactly watersoluble pencils but if you add a little bit of water to the pigment it helps to create a smooth blend. A lot of pastel artists don't like to add water with their pastels but it is another method to be used if wanted.
I personally think there is something really special about the Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils, they sharpen really well on a wide variety of sharpeners, from Derwent hand crank to the M&R hand crank and some ordinary handheld sharpeners. Most Pastel artists use craft knives to sharpen their pencils but I find this slightly more difficult to control and create a fine point.
The color selection throughout the entire set of 60 is superb and the layering ability of the pencils is equally brilliant. I know Stabilo are an incredibly popular name when it comes to items such as back to school supplies, fineliners and felt tip pens, however, I have since learnt that they are a formidable company when it comes to artist grade supplies