Caran d’Ache Pablo Colored Pencils

12-120 count pack

wax core

hexagonal barrel



Many Different Color set Options

Good User Control

No Wax Bloom

Nice Packaging


Might Need Several Passes to get Desired Depth


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Caran d’Ache Pablo Colored Pencils Review

The Caran D’ache Pablo pencils are a water-resistant line of premium pencils offered by the popular Swiss company.  The small 3.8mm diameter wax-based lead is quite strong and can easily be sharpened to a fine point, making it effective for detailed areas.  The color application is quite smooth and is essentially void of wax bloom and the color intensity can be very good, although it may take a few passes to get exactly what you are looking for.  With sets from 12 all the way up to 120, color selection is plentiful and varied.  All of this is packaged in an attractive hexagonal wood barrel.

Visual Appeal – 3/5

There is a great color selection with this line, especially in the larger sets.  Most of the colors are vivid enough, although in a few cases you might have to make a few passes to get the depth you are looking for.  This is likely due to the rather oily waxy core, which doesn’t push out as much of the colored core onto the paper for a given pass when compared to some of the more conventional wax examples.  All colors are very blend-friendly and there is a lot of freedom in color manipulation.  Compared to oil cores on the market, you may see a slight drop in performance but it is by no means detrimental to the performance of the pencils.

Usability and Durability – 4/5

The lead here is very strong and can be sharpened quite easily.  Since not as much color is produced for a pass as expected, the result is that the pencils that seem to last much longer than competitors which are nice considering that these are very expensive.  The fine tip can be easily formed to a sharp tip.  This, coupled with the hexagonal barrel, results in excellent control and precision.  This is great for the detailed areas of your work where extra care is necessary.  A nice added bonus is that while these are actually wax-based colored pencils, they really don’t suffer from wax bloom that is common in most traditional wax colored pencil sets.  The only con as mentioned above is that you might have to make a few additional passes in areas where you want really deep color.

Packaging and Presentation – 4/5

The pencils come in either a sturdy metal box or an attractive finished wooden box.  Both are very well-built and do an excellent job of protecting your pencil investment.  The pencils themselves have a color-matching barrel along with gold-stamped inclusions of the brand, type, and color.

Cost – 3/5

These are a premium-priced pencil, so they aren’t cheap.  However, they tend to last a long time which can offset some of the sticker shock.  But for those on a tight art budget, they may simply be more than you are willing to spend.

Overall Ranking – 3.5/5

A well-built, strong, and attractive set of pencils, the Pablo series is a great choice for those in the market for a new set of high-end pencils that are also water-resistant.  The hard wax-based core results in a smooth application and good blending with little wax bloom, but at the minor cost of requiring more passes or pressure in certain scenarios.  These are a great precision pencil.  All-in-all, this line will compete with any other premium offering on the market.

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