Bruynzeel Design

Bruynzeel Design

The pencils
This is a wax-based pencil from Holland (but are owned by Japanese Sakura). The pencil is round, very thin and feels almost fragile. The core is 3,7 mm.
They don't use names on the pencils, only numbers, and the numbers are very difficult to read. To separate if it is a 8 or 3 when written I reflective silver is hard. However, you are helped buy the broad color stripe on the end of the pencil that corresponded to the color as accurate as you can aspect.

They are not the softest pencils I use but in no sense the hardest ones either. Some are very soft (as an example number 50, which is a blue) and some are harder (as an example number 73, a grey). I have had some problems with the lead breaking.
They are quite transparent and are lacking covering power, so if you want to draw on colored paper this might not be the brand for you.

The colors
Bruynzeel has produced colored pencils for a long time. Earlier they had a larger set, but nowadays they are only available in 48 colors. Such a small set will always leave colors to desire. There are too many blue-purple colors compared to the amount of natural colors. There are no gold ochre but three yellow (the difference between number 21 and 25 is very subtle). I think some of the colors are unnecessary if you only have 48 colors.  For example number 16, 18, 22, 23 and 46 are four orange colors very close in hue. I would gladly change two or three of them to an umber and ochre. Of course, this only matters if you are only going to use this brand and not use other brands as well. 
                      My favorite pencil in this set is 09 a very good and important color for skin; but I also love number 81 which is a warm grey suitably for anything really. I don´t care for the white. It is very translucent and a bit too hard.

Cutest there is
Bruynzeel case 
They have a really cute box for their 48 set. It isn’t luxurious and beautiful as many of the other wooden boxes, but it has it own unique style. The box is made of thick Cardboard and has four drawers (if you buy the 48 set). I really appreciate how different it is compare to other brands. It really is the cutest box.
Bruynzeel case

The lightfastness
CPSA has done a lightfastness test on Bruynzeel Design, but that was the old set. I doubt that it is comparable with the new (more limited) set.  The old set doesn't even have the same numbers. I have done an own lightfastness test. It isn’t done professional of course, and my result should be taking with that in mind, but it can at least tell you what color that is not lightfast.
                      My testing result was quite good. There were 10 colors that had changes, the rest looked perfect. Of the ten only two had changed badly, the rest only slight changes. Here is the list of the colors that didn't make my testing.

No 77 (faded very much)
No 71 (faded very much)
Old pencil marked Bruynzeel Sakura and
newer one only marked Bruynzeel
No 75 (slightly changes)
No 70 (slightly changes)
No 36 (slightly changes)
No 31 (slightly changes)
No 23 (slightly changes)
No 18 (slightly changes)
No 16 (slightly changes, changed hue)
No 11 (slightly changes)

If you want to read about my lightfast test go here:

Bruynzeel color chart

CARAN D´ACHE luminance

ASTM D6901

The pencil
This Swiss made pencil are round and a bit thicker then most colored pencils. It has a 3,8 mm thick core in cedar wood.
All colored pencils can be a bit difficult to read since the pencil is so tiny (compare to say a marker) Luminance has small letters in reflective silver (like so many others) but they have the names cross over (instead of along with the pencil) so you have to turn the pencil to be able to read the full name. For me, this is the pencil that is most difficult to read.
Luminance has their color names very close to the end of the pencil, which is convenient when you use them a lot, because you might be able to read the names even when it is only a little stump left.

Caran D´Ache Luminance

They can feel a bit dry but when you layer them they become softer for each layer.
The paper is very important for all colored pencils, but for Luminance maybe a little bit more. With the wrong kind of paper the pencil crumble a lot, some colors (mostly earth color) can still crumble even on quality paper.
They are an excellent choice if you want to draw on a colored paper. Even on black paper they give (depending on the pigment of course) opaque vibrant colors. 
Cassel earth with a lump of clay
Some colors are very scratchy, (as an example French greys) and sometimes I have even found small lumps of clay (I guess it is clay anyway) that actually are visible. This has happened twice in my Cassel earth pencils.

Wooden box heaven
Caran d´ache is a high quality company that I knew for expensive pens more than art supplies. Luminance isn’t an old product.
It is typical that a brand with a high quality target should offer a beautiful wooden case for their product. In the wooden box you get the full set of 76 Luminance 6901, four doubles (001, 009, 162, 661), two graphite pencils Grafwood (HB and 5B) and two blenders.

Luminace case

Color range
It isn’t the largest set you can get and sometimes there are colors I miss. Two kinds of colors comes in mind; a warm brown, because even though they have a lot of earth colors, they all tend to be drawn to the colder side. The closes thing to a warm brown is burnt sienna, but it isn’t warm enough. Another color I wish they had is a warm soft, light pink that isn’t so magenta, rather lean to an orange, warmer tone. Even if I miss these colors there are colors in this set that are I cannot live without. All the raw umbers, the burnt sienna (they are so good), manganese violet, violet grey and burnt ochre are a few of my addictions.
                      I also love the percent idea. Normally most brands can offer a percent from 10% and up in the greys, but Luminance offer percent in a lot of the earth colors. I have painted with oil colors since I was a young teenager so for me, all the names makes me feel right at home. There are ochre, sienna and umber in the earth colors, Prussian, cobalt and phthalo in the blues. You will instantly know what you get. Also they list all pigment numbers on their color charts, which few if any other brands do. 
The first color that I had to replace where the sepia, cassel earth and burnt ochre 10%.

They are the only colored pencil that offers a set where all colors are lightfast. The CPSA give all (except one, that got two stars) three stars.

Caran dáche color chart part 1

Caran d´ache color chart part 2

Drawing made with Luminace

Luminance on paper from Stonehenge (full size)

Prismacolor Premier Softcore Colored Pencils

Old and new Prismacolor colors
The famous American wax-based colored pencils

The pencil
The pencils are round and the color of the pencil is represented on the entire pencil, which is good because the text can be difficult to read.
I have some old pencils and when I compare them to the new one (with the same number) they sometimes differ in color hue. So there is some inconsistence in the line over the year. 
Prismacolor also offers the same product in art stix form, which comes in 48 colors. Prismacolor also has the verithin line, a hard pencil for details (comes in 36 colors), which is a unique and clever idea to offer a pencil that is the opposite of their softcore. They also have a colorless blender.

Prismacolor, old and new

Prismacolor, the legend
In Sweden, where I live, we have a lot of different brands from Europe, which produces good quality colored pencils, but we have not, until recently (2015), have any stores that offers Prismacolor. From my point of view it seemed as every American book or blog used a = between colored pencils and Prismacolor. Naturally I became very curious about them. I bought my first set (a 24 set) through Ebay I believe. I hated them. The famous (infamous) breakings of the lead draw me mad. I felt that I had hardly used some colors but had noting but a stump left. However, the years past and after using many other brands I did feel that Prismacolor had a bit of a own characteristic so I started use them again, but this time I only sharpened them with either a mechanical sharpener or the amazing German sharpener from Dux. Nowadays I haven’t any problem at all with the breaking and I am a happy owner of the whole 150 set.

Sharpener makes the quality  
Sharpener from Dux
The sharpener from Dux are very high quality and extremely sharp. They have this old fashion look and are heavy in your hand. You can change blade when they go blunt. When you use it the leftover will come out in an unbroken chain of smooth wood. You can choose between three edges by rotating a small wheel on the side. The number one gives a perfect long point, perfect for details.    
I really haven’t had any problems with my Prismacolor since I bought this sharpener (you can find them on Cult pens among other places).

No glamour
Prismacolor Premier
I don´t think that Prismacolor Premier is as glamorous as other brands. You recognize the pencil on the end of it, where you can see the core instead of covering it with paint as most brands do. This makes the pencil look a bit simple compare to other brands. Most brands offer their product in beautiful wooden boxes. But there is no wooden box set to buy for the Prismacolors (as far as I know). The paper box for the 150 set is ok, but the plastic hold for the pencils are so soft and weak that it is sometimes difficult to move them around (which you have to do because they are stacked on each other). 

Prismacolor is a soft and buttery, creamy pencil. It crumbles not so much. The colors (the pigment) have of course a bit different feel to them. Some are a bit harder than others, but on the whole scale they are among, if not, the most creamy one.  They are an excellent choice if you want to draw on a colored paper. Even on black paper they give (depending on the pigment of course) opaque vibrant colors. 

ASTM and CPSA have both tested Prismacolor Premier. Mostly they are equivalent, but there are some inconsistencies.  Of the 150 set that are now available (they have changed colors over the years) 101 are lightfast (three stars, according to CPSA), 4 has two stars and 43 less (meaning, not lightfast at all). However I could not find two of my pencils in the CPSA list so I am doing my own lightfast test on them. When you are doing your own lightfastness test they are of course never the same as professional testing. But I think that if a color is fading, you know that you should not use that for your drawings for certain. If it does not fade in your own testing, that's what makes it uncertain. The point I am trying to make is that an unprofessional testing can always prove that a pencil is not lightfast but cannot prove it is.

Wax bloom
That very mystical wax bloom everyone talks about is not something I have experienced. However, I guess that depend on what wax bloom really is. I have heard two different explanations. One: it is the shine that appears when using a wax-based pencil. My experience is that the shine will appear on an oil-based pencil to. It is true that some pencils are shinier then other though. Two: it is a white film that appears after some time has past. I have never seen this happen, so it can´t be a huge problem. 

Color collection
With 150 colors, and if you have been around for some time, maybe you have some more colors that are now discounted, it isn´t fair to compare Prismacolor’s color range with other brands. Prismacolor also offers a blender.
A set of Prismacolor
However, Prismacolor color choices are very different to most other brands. Large brands like Polychromos or Pablo offers colors that I imagine are single pigment colors. They look very clean and are very easy to define (is it a orange, or a burnt sienna…). Prismacolor has a lot of colors that are very difficult to define. What color is a Ginger root (PC1084)? Or Putty beige (PC1083)? Many of them don´t look “clean”; they look as if at least three colors are mixed together to create the color (many of them include white). If you already have a Faber-Castell Polychromos set (or any other very primary based color set) and want to expend I would recommend looking at Prismacolor open stock, because they really offer colors that are more or less unique.
                      The greys are offered in mainly three hues in different values, a cooler grey (called cool grey), a warmer grey (called French grey) and a more neutral grey (actually called warm grey). They also have some other greyish colors.
                      Prismacolor also has gold, solver and bronze (the bronze is not so metallic though) and some neon colors.
The first color that I had to replace was the white (no surprise there).

Uni Pericia Mitsubishi pencil

The pencil
The Japanese company also has another colored pencil named Polycolor. This is a review of the Pericia.
A Mitsubishi Pencil non the less
This is one of, if not the best one when it comes to reading abilities. The names are written quite large in white (non reflective) on a dark (brownish) color. The pencil is round and quite thick. They are oil-based, something not so common.

I love these pencils. They are among the softest pencils you can find.
They are an excellent choice if you want to draw on a colored paper. Even on black paper they give (depending on the pigment of course) opaque vibrant colors.  It is hard to find a more opaque pencil; even the yellow is opaque enough to cover an area on black paper without turning green.

Unique and creative
You can choose between two different kinds of boxes. I have one of them, (and crave the other). It not like other brand, where you choose a simpler one or a more luxurious one, they are simply two different ones. The one I have is a leather imitation in brown, the other option are a wood and metallic box.
Different and beautiful leather case for there 36 colors
They are not (at least not from Europe) available in open stock. You can however buy a smaller set of 12 or 24 (and of course 36).

Limited colors
Their larges set is 36, and that makes me so sad! With so few colors (I don't know of a smaller set of artist quality colored pencils) there will always be colors to miss, however, when I draw a drawing, and only use Pericia, I marvel over how well the set works. You have all the basic colors and it is easy to layer them to create the colors you might need.

Beautiful colors
I have done an own lightfastness test on the Pericia. CPSA has not tested Pericia (nor any other Japanese brands) so I am left with my own unprofessional test result. It was five colors that had lightfastness problems. The cobalt blue, gold ochre, brown ocher, apple green and brick red. Especially the brick red made me unhappy, because I love that color. 

More information about Unis lighfastness is available here: 

Uni Pericia color chart

Uni Pericia Mitsubishi