Cretacolor Colored Pencils
12-24 count pack
Very Reasonably Priced
Good Blending for Price
Limited Color Choices
Color is Not Very Vivid
Cretacolor Colored Pencils Review
Cretacolor Colored Pencils are offered by a lesser-known brand called Cretacolor. This company has a wide range of art pencils including pastel pencils, watercolor pencils, graphite pencils, drawing pencils, and of course regular colored pencils. Their colored pencil lineup is quite small, consisting of their budget set called the Artist Studio (which this review is about) and their higher end Karmina set. The largest budget set only comes in at 24 pieces. Their target market with this line is entry-level artists and those on a tight budget. They hope that their blending and great price will overshadow some of the inherent issues with their small pencil set.
Visual Appeal – 3/5
The first thing you will notice about the Cretacolor Colored Pencil lineup is its small size. Its most popular offering that utilizes their budget colored pencils is within the 72-pack artist set which consists of a variety of art mediums including watercolors and pastel pencils. Essentially, the 24-pack set has been removed from this larger artist set and put into its own box. The 24 pack (and obviously 12 pack) set size really limits how many colors you will have to work with. We noticed particularly large gaps when it came to oranges and bright greens. Thankfully, these wax-based pencils have surprisingly good blending considering their price point. This will help fill some of these color gaps in. Another issue we had was with the brightness of the color. Despite being a wax-based set, the color application came out almost chalky and somewhat dull. You don’t really get the “pop” of color that certain brands have. This issue can be alleviated some by applying multiple layers but it is still worth noting.
Usability and Durability – 3.5/5
The wax core is about average in size and consistency which means that you shouldn’t have trouble sharpening it. As for application pressure, the core does seem to be slightly above average in hardness which can make it more prone to breaking when sharpened to a fine point. Conversely, it also means that you can enjoy a very nice point that can adequately handle highly-detailed areas (just be sure to be more gentle when pushing down). As we mentioned above, the blending is pretty good here so this, coupled with the somewhat hard lead, makes these pencils better-suited for gentle color strokes rather than aggressive strokes. These pencils are good for creating a base layer where you aren’t looking for intense color. Using them in conjunction with a brighter set is recommended.
Packaging and Presentation – 3/5
These are budget pencils and you are reminded of that by the packaging of the pencils and pencil case. The case is made of thin cardboard and is about what you expect from other budget lines. This is in stark difference to the much more attractive (and protective) tin case that the full artist set comes with as well as the Karmina colored pencil set. However, this set is much cheaper so that likely has to do with it. As for the pencils themselves, they are also very plain in appearance. There is a somewhat cheesy font and you don’t see a lot of the stylistic features such as dipped bases, attractive gold leaf imprints, etc. The looks of the pencil aren’t a big deal to many people but we do wish that Cretacolor would spend a bit more time on this aspect.
Cost – 4.5/5
The Artist Studio line of Cretacolor colored pencils is very reasonably priced and is at a price point that allows it to be in just about everybody’s budget. It is important to remind you that this set isn’t meant to be competing with the top tier Prismacolors or Faber-Castells. Rather, it is a student-oriented line that is trying to go stride to stride with Crayola and Reeves. And overall, when we are talking about these kinds of prices, it makes it much easier to overlook some of the glaring issues.
Overall Ranking – 3.5/5
The Cretacolor Artist Studio Colored Pencils are a simple answer to those just starting out or that don’t want to spend a lot of money on a starter set. Being a small set, they are severely limited in the available color choices. These color gaps mean that this set is best used as an accessory to another larger colored pencil package. The blending here is actually pretty good and is more advanced than a majority of the other budget sets on the market. Unfortunately, the lack of vivid color sort of offsets this benefit. In addition, we wish that the pencils would undergo a bit of a “facelift” and get some more attractive packaging. For those who strictly want to work on blending techniques, this is a perfect and affordable product for that. But for those after an entry-level “all-in-one” set, there are better options out there.