Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Impressions of Schpirerr Farben Pencils

It was about three weeks ago that I first heard about Schpirerr Farben pencils, in comments in a Facebook group. Now I have my own set and in this post I share the first impressions of three other colourers as well as my own. It's taken me about a week to spell them correctly!
You can buy them at Amazon US - here.

Facts first -
- Schpirerr Farben pencils come in a 72 pencil set only at present.
- They are available only on Amazon US here - and on Ebay.
- They are made in China.
- They are oil-based pencils, most similar to FC Polychromos with some of the silkiness of Prismacolor.
- The website is here - where you will find various colour charts and sheets.
- The pencils come in an excellent, smaller tin, in three layers that hold the pencils firmly so they don't move around.

Colour chart with similar colours grouped together, except for a couple of greens at the end!

Here is a colouring done in these pencils, with pastel background. I used two colours for the trunk and they blended together quite well. I also used Gamsol and the colours keep their intensity. Image from Wyspy -

Wyspy coloured in Schpirerr Farben

Here is a comparison chart with similar colours. The right hand side of each circle has had Gamsol rubbed over it to get the pigment into the ordinary photocopy paper.

Brand comparisons
Finally before we get others' impressions, here are some price comparisons as on Amazon US in $US last week. These are for 72 pencil sets, unless I state otherwise -

Schpirerr Farben - $26.64
Marco Raffine - $20.88
Prismacolor Premier - $28.44
Crayola - $22.49
Derwent Coloursoft - $155.99
Koh-I-Noor Polycolour - $72.43
Staedtler Mars Triangular - $24.39
Lyra Rembrandt - $86.64
Bruynzeel - $62.99
FC Polychromos - $139.30
Pablo - $148.10 - 80 pencil set
Luminance - $227.51 - 76 pencil set
Holbein - $144.90 for 50 pencil set. Also in 100 and 150 sets

Here is a video review by Dea Lenihan - 

You can see another video review by Vitruvian Art here - 

Here's what Nicola had to say -
"In a nutshell – WOW. I'm super impressed with these.  

PROS - They're honestly excellent value for money. Pretty darn close to FC Polychromos. They're almost as smooth as a Prisma pencil but with the harder core. With the colour swatches I've done I pressed pretty hard to get the brighest layer and no breakage whatsoever. They blend beautifully and lay down really smoothly. There is a little bit of “dust” buildup when colouring, almost like a waxy bloom but they are oil based according to the website. The core also seems to be long lasting. With swatching and testing out blending, the pencil still doesn't need sharpening. I havent tried sharpening them, so no feedback on that as yet. In all honestly this only happened when I was really pressing down hard on the swatches. They're bright, vibrant and come in different size sets, up to a size 72. There's also a couple of colours which are not found in other sets I currently own.  

CONS – There are no colours listed on the barrel of the pencil and the dipped tip is nowhere near the colour in most instances when comparing them to the actual colour when lay down. They are also not in numerical order. The numbering seems totally random, I can only guess that maybe they're maybe planning to bring out a bigger set to fill the gaps?  

There is a colour chart which you can download off their site as well as a chart with suggestions for colour combo's. (They were smoking their socks when they did this) Lime green and French Grey!"  

Would I buy another set, YES!!! 

Here is what Erin had to say -
" I got mine today and have done a scribble with a fair number of them. Very good colour payoff, the mix of hard/soft is where I like it and they feel like decent quality pencils. I've got to do a picture in a book with them to really judge but first impressions are excellent. Well worth the purchase."

Here is what Lorraine had to say -
"I really LOVE them - so smooth to colour with. I've only done the swatches so far but looking forward to doing a picture.
As soon as I received my tin of 72 SF pencils I couldn’t wait to try them – I found them to be so creamy to colour with and they blend very well that I am really going to enjoy them. Perhaps not as smooth as Hobeins or Prismacolour Premier but if you don’t have either of those then SF will be a great set – you won’t be disappointed.
As there are 72 colours and not 120 or 150 there is a limited colour range especially in the browns and greys but for me I didn’t find that a problem as I have plenty of those colours from other set. Personally I love the colour range. Even if shipping to NZ is expensive the total including shipping is around $90NZ which is still a great price for these lovely pencils.
You cannot buy open stock (yet). I notice they have an electric sharpener with a video clip showing how it works very well on all pencils so I have ordered this too. "

My impressions -

Feel - I was blown away with the first strokes. I'd been using Marco Raffines which are a bit scratchy but these are silky without the stickiness of Prismas. Also the leads don't have the Prisma breakage problem and they sharpen well, holding their points well too. The pigment smooths out with Gamsol and the colour intensity holds.

Colour range - No one is going to be entirely happy.! We always want more! I like that there are fewer pale shades and most are in the medium to dark range. Love the dark greens. I would have liked fewer bright yellows and instead some more murky yellows and olivey greens. The reds are fine. Blues okay although I would have liked a greyer blue. Dark browns are good but I'd like some more taupe shades. Not much in skin tones but that's okay as I have my trusty Derwent Skintones. Few greys too. Yes, the colour on the end of the pencil often isn't even close to the lead colour so you'll need to do a colour chart.

Value - awesome. Very good value. The tin they come in is the best pencil tin I've come across. Perfect size, it snaps shut and the pencils are really snug.

- Please note that two of the above people have had a double-up in their tins which means that one colour is missing. They have got in touch with Tania from Goodyism who has been very apologetic and the issue was resolved very favourably. So please when your tin arrives, check carefully. The picking error is apparently happening in China.
- The pencils haven't been tested for colour fastness yet.
- The other issue is that if you are buying via Amazon US and you live in New Zealand (possibly other countries too) please pay the top shipping rate or your pencils may never leave the US. I blogged about this - here.

Recent Reviews and Posts.....

5 Must See New Colouring Books for December - here

Extra Dark PanPastels - here.  (select top shipping cost to NZ)!

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