Colored pencils are my favorite coloring tool, though I'm more of a casual colorer than an artist. While I have a few sets of Derwent and Prismacolor pencils, this was my first time working with Faber-Castell Polychromos. This set of 12 pencils comes in a nice tin. They're constructed of sustainable California cedar that smells amazing. The cores are bonded to the wood to prevent breaking, so these pencils tend to last a lot longer than other brands. The round barrels are comfortable to hold, though there is nothing to stop them from rolling off the desk.
The cores are oil-based, water-resistant, and acid-free. They have a thick 3.8mm diameter that helps with their break-resistance. They feel buttery soft when coloring, but hold their points well. I didn't have to sharpen them at all during the coloring session I did with my oldest son, and he insisted on covering every inch of his page. I did experience some crumbling when heavier pressure was applied, but it was minimal, and I was being a little hard on them on purpose. There was some smudging if I rested my hand on the work, but this trait also works well for blending and shading. The pigment is even somewhat erasable, though it does leave some color behind. The coverage of the soft lead is pretty amazing. With medium pressure, it only takes two layers to fully cover the paper, and because the lead is oil-based instead of wax-based, the color won't become cloudy. The colors are all incredibly vibrant.
One of the unique traits of these pencils is their lightfastness. The level varies by pigment and each pencil is marked by its degree of lightfastness so artists can be sure their work will last.
These are definitely top-quality artist's pencils, and you can tell when you use them. I can easily say these are the nicest pencils I've played with. They're also the most expensive pencils I've played with. The sets are a good deal when compared to the open stock colors, but the set of 12 is missing a few key colors. There's no grey, and no shade of purple. But these are nice enough to invest in a few supplemental open stock pieces.
And while these may be fancy artist pencils, they're still great for coloring books. My nine-year-old also granted them his seal of coloring approval. I might say that I wouldn't invest in this high of a price-point just for coloring books and doodles--but that would be a lie because I totally would. Because these are so pleasant to use that they amplify the joy of the experience. And when you think about how they're engineered to prevent lead breakage, you do get your money's worth out of them for sure. I'm looking forward to many rainy-day coloring afternoons with these.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)