White Nights Watercolour Pencils
White Knights Watercolour Pencils
About a month or so ago, perhaps a little bit longer, I was incredibly surprised to have been contacted by a prominent member of the UK Coloured Pencil Society and the Coloured Pencil art community in general, a gentleman I have a lot of respect for, in fact many people within the coloured pencil community have respect for Mr Peter Weatherill.
For those of you who may not know, Mr Weatherill has many artistic accolades to his name, but is perhaps just as well known for his incredibly informative website Coloured Pencil Topics, looking at coloured pencils, watercolour pencils and pastel pencils. Mr Weatherill also has his own personal website were he showcases his own wonderful art work in all the various mediums he enjoys.
The sheer fact that someone I look up to in this field contacted me was amazing enough, but then to hear what he wanted made my year. Peter had got his hands on a set of watercolour pencils from the Russian based White Nights company, after conducting some tests of his own, Peter asked for my advice and asked if he sent them to me to test, would I be okay with this. Well, as you can imagine I was elated and immediately agreed, the fact someone of this status within the Colored Pencil world valued my opinion enough to ask for my second opinion, was just mind blowing. Needless to say I agreed and this is my account.
White Nights Watercolour Pencils Characteristics
White Nights are a huge name in the world of watercolours, but in particular, watercolour pans, your traditional type watercolours. I purchased a small set of White Nights about a year ago, only because I had watched so many wonderful watercolour artists use them and talk highly of them.
So when I received an email from Peter Weatherill, asking me to test and review a set of watercolour pencils from this amazing company, all my christmases had come at once, for both fore mentioned reasons.
I have to say, right from the get go, this is a pretty disappointing review and I hope you stay with me long enough to see why. The set that Peter sent to me was the 48 set, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful artwork on the tin, I am not sure who the artist behind the work is as all the writing on the tin is in Russian. This was the first issue that I could understand artists finding frustrating, the lack of English writing on the tin, however, I had to pull myself back in and remember, I was reviewing a Russian set of pencils
The next issue that I discovered was quite a bit more of an issue hard to over look. The 48 set that I had been given, had already been open and slightly used, so I didn’t have the plastic wrap that they arrived to Peter in, however, Peter did inform me that on the wrap there was a sticker. the sticker stated that the White Nights pencils had actually been manufactured in China.
For those of you familiar with the White Nights brand, perhaps the most talked about feature from the company is that their paints are still manufactured in Russia, but the White Night watercolour pencils were not, remember this as I will be referring back to it further into the review.
The pencils themselves look gorgeous, the barrel is exposed wood, showing the grain as a work of natural art in its own right. This gorgeous looking barrel is 7.2mm of beauty sporting a generous 3.2mm core, which are pretty standard dimensions for artist grade coloured pencils.
Regarding information printed along the barrel, well, this part is short and sweet, there is nothing except for the name of the pencil brand. There is nothing about the pigment, no open stock numbers. Ordinarily I am personally okay about no pigment name given that the exact same pigment across five different colored pencils brands will be named differently and so swatching is much more beneficial in any case. However, in this case zero reference to the pigment of pencil will be very problematic.
If the pencils are removed from the tin and in particular, the order in which you swatch them, in order for you to look at the swatch, determine the pigment you need and they try to select the pencil that made that swatch , you are going to have to grab a few pencils of the same color family and test it against the swatch. Or alternatively, number the swatch marks and the pencils, but why should you need to do all this given the fact you have just used your hard earned money to pay for the set, the last thing you need is to start marking and identifying the actual barrels
White Nights Lightfast Information
I was unable to locate any lightfast information, however, I have contacted the company direct and as of yet, still not had any reply from them. As soon as I receive a reply I will of course update this review accordingly and inform you of my update.
White Nights Sets Available
As things currently stand, there is a set of 12, 24 and 48 White Nights Watercolor Pencils, again I have contacted the company asking if they have any future plans to extend the range but have not had a reply. At the time of writing this review, I have been unable to find any sets of the White Nights Watercolor Pencils on Amazon UK or US or EU.
They are however available on the SAA website, which incidentally is where Peter purchased them from. but as and when they become available elsewhere I will of course update this page accordingly.
Given the information I have told you here and on the YouTube video of the White Nights, and also after you have checked other reviews of the pencils, only you can determine if you feel the prices are reasonable for this set of pencils.
White Nights Performance
Throughout my time reviewing art products, I have received one or two comments from people noting that the vast majority of my reviews are positive, which is a reasonable comment to make as it if a fair representation. My answer to this comment is that I firmly believe that every pencil or paint or pastel has a particular surface which highlights the product in a positive manner, hence the reason I test products on so many different surface. This review however may not be particularly positive.
I tested the pencils on at least five different watercolor papers and some mixed media, I tried Strathmore Watercolor Block 400 Series, Canson Watercolor, Daler & Rowney 140lb Rough Grain Torchon, Derwent Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper, Arteza Watercolor Pad, Strathmore Visual Journal Cold Press paper and an A4 Moleskine watercolor pad I have. Every one of the papers displayed the same issues time and time again.
I actually tried to complete some art work with the pencils but I just couldn’t finish the art, no matter what I tried the pigment once activated always looked washed out. I am not sure if it is a simple case of very little pigment and lots of binder, or if the pigment use is of a very low quality, which would make sense given that the pencils are manufactured in China
When I was creating the swatches and you will also be able to see this happen in real time by watching the video review of the White Nights Pencils, the pigment dry looked okay, however as soon as water touched them, completely different matter.
When I was testing the pencils on the video, I had to apply a really heavy application of the pigment dry, so much so that a lot of crumbling occurred, but this crumbling is not ordinarily associated with the pencils, it was purely as a result of my heavy handed approach to ensuring I had lots of pigment for my next test, which was adding water. As soon as I added the water, it almost looked like the pigment started to disappear, now I know that once water is added to watercolor, it fades, becomes translucent, but this mainly happens when you introduce a lot of water and start to spread the paint. When I was adding the water to the dry pigment, it reminded me of the science test we done in school were we would add a single drop of washing up liquid to greasy water and the grease would disperse to the edges of the bowel, leaving clean, grease free water.
the exact same principle appeared to be happening with the White Nights Watercolor Pencils, only this time it was pigment dispersing. It actually really pains me to say this as I am fully aware of the excellent reputation White Nights paints have within the Watercolor Community. I purchased a small set of White Nights Watercolor pans about a year ago and the difference between thef pans and pencils is, excuse the pun, Night and Day.
With the larger green color in the image above, I actually used the Caran d’Ache Aquarelle Palette to mix the yellow and blue pigment, surprisingly this performed really quite well, check out the video review to see this happen in real time. I have also completed a review of the Caran d’Ache Palette I used if you are interested in this product.
White Nights Conclusion
This for me hasn’t been a particularly positive review, however, I can only report what I found and how I felt using the product. I am in no way being disrespectful toward the company, this company has a rich history in the art world, so I am aware of the impact this review may have.
The first issue of course was the fact the pencils are made in China and not Russia, which is where the White Nights pan sets are made. This makes me ask, have White Nights outsourced their watercolor pencils to a company in China and if they have, are the pencils really White Nights? can or should they be sold as White Nights Watercolor pencils? This is a question I have delicately asked in my e-mail and again, if I receive a reply I will update you all accordingly.
I also added in my email, that why would a company such as White Nights have their pencils made in China anyway when they have a plant in Russia creating beautiful watercolor pans? It really is a strange situation. Regardless of where or why they pencils are made in a different way or country, the pigment inside the pencils is a million miles away from the rich vibrant quality of their White Nights pans.
Given the performance of the pencils and the thus far lack of lightfast information, I personally would not feel comfortable recommending these to anyone. Even if the lightfast information returned to be high, it still would not change the performance of the pencils.
I would love to hear from anyone who has used the White Night Watercolor Pencils and experienced a much better display than I did. Perhaps you used a different paper, whatever you did I would love to hear from you and in doing so I will try the method you have used and re-review the pencils. Please check out my YouTube video review of me testing and demonstrating the pencils in real time and see for yourself. It is important before you make an informed decision on the White Nights Watercolor Pencils based on my review, that you check out what others are saying, see how other artists have got on with the pencils before ruling them out of your collection.