SoHo Colored Pencils
12, 24, 36, and 72-count pack
Intense Color for a Wax Pencil
Unique Outside Barrel Color
Good for Detailed Areas
Colors are Lacking in Smaller Sets
Blending Could be Better
SoHo Colored Pencils Review
SoHo is an Austrian-based company that takes a rather unique approach with their increasingly popular set of colored pencils. They have dubbed their pencils “Urban Artist” colored pencils. In fact, they have gone so far as to include an urban city background on the cover of their box! For those of you that are familiar with Cretacolor, these were actually produced in tandem with them. The wax-based pencils try to stand out from the crowd by cranking up the pigment content to produce extremely vivid colors.
Visual Appeal – 4/5
Since maximizing pigment concentration was a priority with these, it is no surprise that the SoHo Colored Pencils are quite bright. In particular, we really liked the intensity of colors in the yellows, oranges, and reds. In the larger sets, definitely try out the Cadmium Red Medium, Vermillion, and Carmine as they were a blast to work with!
However, speaking of color choices, the smaller sets will have noticeable color gaps. This is a common issue in any smaller set but is particularly prevalent here. If your budget allows, we definitely recommend trying to go with the 36 or 72 pack sets as they do a good job of filling in these voids. In particular, the larger sets have a nice selection of greens and blues which will come in handy for your typical landscape drawing.
Color production will be highly dictated on your application pressure and what type of paper you use. We found that using a rougher paper does a much better job of extracting color than a smooth paper. With a thicker paper, you will be able to produce a very impressive color with minimal effort.
Usability and Durability – 3.5/5
This is a wax-based pencil so your application won’t be as buttery as you may be used to if you use many oil colored pencils or some of the softer was pencils that are available. However, the wax core is quite resilient and doesn’t seem to break or chip easily. As we mentioned above, the pigment content is really amped up here so you will be able to have good control of color depth by increasing or decreasing application pressure.
The 3.8mm lead core is about average thickness. At this size, it is large enough for you to be able to cover large areas of the canvas while still giving you the control that you need for the more detailed areas of your work.
Blending is a bit underwhelming. This is a harder wax core and it just doesn’t blend or layer as well as some of the softer wax cores that we have tested. This shouldn’t be a major issue in the larger sets as most of the colors that you will need will already be in the box. But if you go with a smaller set that has the color gaps discussed above, you may find yourself becoming a bit frustrated when trying to blend. We found this to be the case with both wet and dry blending.
A big benefit of this harder core is that you are able to sharpen it to a pretty fine point. This makes it good for highly-technical areas of your work where you need a sharp point and precision. This, coupled with the great color output, makes these quite effective in those settings.
Packaging and Presentation – 4/5
SoHo Colored Pencils come in a standard tin that we are used to seeing with pencils at this price range. The tin is covered in a cardboard outer sleeve which displays all of the pertinent information that you would need to know about the pencils. Inside, the pencils are contained with a thin plastic tray. Again, this is pretty standard stuff that all by the absolute cheapest of art pencils tend to have these days.
The pencils themselves come with a deep matte black barrel. The color of the core is dipped at the base of the barrel. As for stamping, you will find the pencil Brand and type as well as a really cool “Austria” stamp towards the base of the pencil. There is the color code stamped as well as a massive barcode. We aren’t really sure why there was a need for a massive barcode to be stamped on each pencil. Perhaps so that they could be sold individually?
According to SoHo, each pencil is lacquered seven times, resulting in a satin black finish. Overall, it is a really cool look at certainly stands out from most colored pencils that we have tested which tend to come in lighter outer barrel colors.
Cost – 4/5
SoHo Colored Pencils are situated comfortably in the intermediate price range. This puts them a tick above many of the ultra-budget lines such as Crayola but noticeably below super expensive examples like Holbein and the higher-end Faber-Castells. Considering the performance and quality, this is a perfectly acceptable price range.
Overall Ranking – 4/5
SoHo Colored Pencils take a very unique marketing approach in their colored pencils. And while we don’t necessarily see any sort of urban-inspired flair, we can certainly appreciate their higher concentration of pigment. This results in a very vivid pencil that can output quite a bit of color with minimal effort. However, we wouldn’t mind the wax core being a little softer to allow for more butter application and an easier time blending. But considering the acceptable price point, we can’t be too picky about this.