KOH- I- NOORPencils have been manufactured by the Hardtmuth firm in the Czech Republic since the late 1800s and their various brands of coloured pencils have a reputation for high quality at a reasonable price.Until recently, suppliers to the UK market have been notable for their absence ( or lack of publicity ), but in the last few weeks I have seen several quotes about this brand and I now see that both Jacksons Art Supplies and Amazon in the UK are listing stocks. Jacksons have a wide range of the Hardtmuth graphite types and I see they now advertise stock of the three main coloured varieties.As far as I know ( June 2016) individual pencils are not available in the UK for this brand, but they are available in Europe and also in the USA.My original notes from November 2015 are shown immediately below, but in June 2016 I had correspondence with a reader based in the USA who has sent me a review and comparison based on her experience. This review is included at the foot of this article and may prove helpful to other readers considering this brand.Koh-I-noor Polycolor comes in boxes ranging from 24 to 72. The publicity seems to vary in how they are described, but the core of information is that they are highly pigmented and have a soft feel. Some publicity describes them as ‘soft and waxy’, some says that they ‘avoid wax build up’, and the USA, the Koh-I-noor site states that they contain ‘special oils’. In June 2016, I had advice from a site reader who had contact with the company that the pencils are principally oil based, with some white clay, and only a little wax. This is very much in line with other manufacturers in Europe who try to avoid too much wax ( to prevent wax bloom), but include some wax to keep the soft feel of the oil based pencils.One of the complaints from USA reviewers was that the colour range was too small. I would not consider 72 a small range, but the reviews I read were 2 years old, so it may be that the writer was looking at a smaller set and there is now the larger set of 72 available that is listed today..I have not tested the pencils, but if I can get hold of samples later this year I will add details here.Mondeluz Aquarelles are also now listed in sets or 24 up to 72, with the 72 set priced around £54 ( a very reasonable price ).Once again, I haven’t tested them but will report when I do.Gioconda Pastel Pencils appear to be available in sets up to 48 in number, the 48 priced at around £53. They were reviewed by a reader of this site living in Germany a couple of years ago and details can be found on the Pastel Pencil brands page.Links for more information Jacksons Discount Art ( UK )The USA Koh-I-noor site
JUNE 2016 updateThis review was received from USA based reader in June and may prove helpful to readers in the States.Rosemarie writes……..Here is a list of the pencils I own and what I'm comparing Koh-I-Noor to:-I own 115 FaberCastell Polychromos, 50 Koh--Noor Hardtmuth, 72Marco Raffines, 85 Caran'dAche Pablos (I consider these and use them as a wax based pencil, 105 PrismaColor Premiers, 48 Staedtler Norris Club and 5-6 each of Lyra Rembrandts and Caran'dAche Luminance.-my observation using the Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth is that:-they compare quite favorably to the FC Polychromos (which I consider the best for an oil based pencil) in that they lay down a good amount of color with little effort, yet they respond well if and when one desires to use pressure, -they are creamy and smooth almost as much as Polychromos but not as creamy as PrismaColors. The color cores are just a tad harder than Polychromos, -they work well with other brands of pencils oil or wax...by this I mean blending and layering colors, though currently, I'm using them mainly with my Polychromos and Raffines, my other oil pencils. -they are hex shaped and a bit 'smaller' than Polychromos but cores are a good size, -they sharpen well, hold their points a tad longer than Polychromos, much longer than PrismaColors, -they are clearly labeled...each pencil having the color name and number clearly printed, -the number of colors is fewer than what is offered by Polychromos and PrismaColors but respectable non the less with beautiful pinks/purples and the best all around olive green, in my opinion. They sell sets on Amazon.com and are available open stock from Michaels and AC Moore in the USA.I have checked the UK situation today ( June 21st 2016) for stockists and prices….Pencils4Artists list stock in tins from the KIN range - see linkCult Pens ( UK ) also list tins in stock up to the full 72 sets of Polycolor and also list individual colours as open stock - see link They also advise stock of 92 colours so I assume there are some extra colours not included in the full 72 set.I would welcome any other readers with experience of this brand to write in with comments - also on any other brand listed ( or even not listed ) here. With over 3000 coloured pencils in stock here, I have no ambition to buy any more at the moment so must depend on my readers to keep me up to date. Thanks.
PLEASE NOTE1. Comments made here are personal and are not sponsored by the manufacturers2. The order of listing is entirely down to the date the initial reviews were done, and more recently reviewed brands appear towards the end of the list.3. The guide is designed to aid those who are new to the medium of coloured pencil, helping them select a brand and product that may be most suitable for their needs.4. Just because one brand suits one person does not automatically make it ideal for everyone.