Marco Raffine Colored Pencils
24-72 count pack
Great for Detailed Areas
Polarized Color Choices in Smaller Sets
Marco Raffine Colored Pencils Review
Updated by Brandon F. on January 23, 2020
The Marco Raffine colored pencils are a very popular budget colored pencil set that has recently made some pretty big splashes in the online art world. This is due to the combination of being quite affordable while also having pretty good performance.
These have a harder lead than their cousin colored pencils, the Marco Renoirs, but the overall color output is still perfectly fine. They come with a 3.7mm core, have a hexagonal barrel, and come in 24, 48, and 72 count sets.
Visual Appeal – 3.5/5
The first thing you may notice about this lead is that it is rather hard, particularly compared to many of the premium colored pencil lines on the market. This harder material means that you may struggle a bit to get the proper blending that you are looking for. However, the colors do seem to layer relatively well despite that.
A common misconception (that we were also guilty of!) is that both these and the Marco Renoirs are oil or charcoal-based. One of our great readers actually contacted Marco directly and they verified that these are wax-based like a majority of the budget-priced pencils in the industry. This makes more sense to use as the color output and color thickness is more similar to what we expect from wax leads.
As for color selection, we tried out the 48 pack set. We did notice that they were a bit heavy on the greens and blues which is great if you plan to do a lot of forest or water scenes but we wish that they would include some more reds, yellows, and oranges to add to the variety. Color intensity is about average.
Usability and Durability – 3.5/5
The hard lead keeps a pretty good point when sharpened which makes it great for high-detail areas and also for sketching hairs or other narrow features on a drawing. However, the combination of so-so blending as well as being a harder lead means that covering large areas with subtle color may be more laborious than you are used to.
We personally found that using the Marco Raffines for detailed areas and using the Marco Renoirs for areas that take up a lot of space was a nice combination. These barrels come in hexagonal shapes which we typically prefer over round barrels as it seems to be easier to get a good grip which is essential for detailed areas of a work.
Packaging and Presentation – 4.5/5
We have been impressed with the packaging that we have come across on all of the Marco colored pencils, and these are no exception. They come in an attractive brushed silver tin case and the pencils are double-layered inside. Our only complaint (that we also mentioned on their other products) is that the trays that the pencils sit in is rather filmy plastic and is easily bent and pencils tend to “pop” out when we don’t want them to.
As for the pencils themselves, they come in a matching silver barrel to the case with the base of them being color-matching to the color of the pencil. The Marco Raffine name, as well as their color code, is stamped on the outside of the barrel. We do wish that they would simply list the color rather than the color code but this information can be easily obtained if need be.
Cost – 5/5
These asking price for these is very attractive and easily into the budget category. While none of Marco’s lineup of colored pencils is overly expensive, these come in at the cheapest. For the price, the performance you get is great and better than many products that are more expensively priced.
Overall Ranking – 4/5
Marco Raffine colored pencils try to tackle the budget-priced tier of colored pencils and manage to do a very good job of it. The leads are noticeably harder than their other lines and most colored pencils in general but are still workable. Color output is better than you would expect for this price tier so, while you won’t get the powerful and creamy texture of some other pencil models, you can enjoy a versatile set that really excels in detailed areas. For those on a tight budget, we definitely recommend considering trying these out.