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The two main product lines as far as we are concerned, are the Oil based Dry point
Coloured Pencil -
and the Water Soluble (Aquarelle) pencils branded as ‘ALBRECHT DURER’
Products are manufactured in 14 factories worldwide and the two pencil lines have a long established 120 colour range which is shared by both types of pencil.
Faber Castell also produce a leading Pastel pencil branded ‘PITT’ pastel.
This is sold in both wood cased pastel pencil form and as a solid stick of hard pastel See the Pastel Pencil section for more information.
I would regard Faber-
and I have used these pencils as one of my first choices for several years
POLYCHROMOS are a medium soft pencil with a very smooth take up which layer well
The colour range is very strong on the reds and yellows and there are a low level of poor lightfast colours.
Users of Polychromos tend to be strong fans of the brand. The colour range tends to favour those who do botanical work as the flower colours are well represented.
There are a good range of greys and darks in the set.
As Polychromos is an oil based product, pictures completed with Polychromos will not suffer from Wax bloom.
ALBRECHT DURER watercolour pencils (Aquarelles) have a drier feel to them than Polychromos as they lack the oil content.
The aquarelles tend to mimic watercolours closely and the colours you would expect to behave like watercolours do so.
For example, non staining earth colours in watercolours are non staining in the Albrecht Durer range, and mixtures which granulate in watercolours do so in washes of these pigments
Distribution in the UK is wide and efficient and larger retailers and mail order
outlets will stock single colours as well as sets. www.saa.co.uk ( Society for
All Artists) is a good source -
Another good source for pencil stock is Studio Arts of Lancaster, who are one of
the select few independent art materials retailers left in the UK and stock all the
For more background information, there are several Faber-
but I find the USA one the most useful as it contains extra data on lightfastness not found elsewhere
The USA site is at http://www.fabercastell.com/14786/Welcome/index_ebene2.aspx
The Home site in Germany is at www.faber-
This link provides access to the home sites in a range of European languages
The Faber Castell ranges use a star system to indicate the light stability of the pigment in each pencil with 1 star being the lowest
rating. Whilst Faber Castell rate that as ‘good’ I would suggest that you avoid the one star colours and use mainly the 2 and 3 star colours if you can
For sight of the colour range, see the Penciltopics standard charts completed from the actual pencils
The Albrecht Durer colour range is the same and a separate chart will be posted in due course showing the dry and moistened colours in the Aquarelle range
Latest revision April 2010
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