Faber Castell 24 Pastel Pencils: Disappointing color range

November 23, 2017

Hope this will save someone out there some money: this 24 pastel pencils set does NOT include all basic colors!

We’ve probably all been there:

  • You get the idea in your head of a new art material
  • You’re curious
  • You google it, or youtube it
  • You read reviews, you watch demonstrations, you see beautiful artworks created with it
  • You crave it
  • You start researching different brands, to understand which one’s for you
  • You put it on the ever-growing Art Supplies Wish List
  • You check online stores for prices & availability, just to educate yourself about it
  • You check local stores to see if they have it, in case you all of a sudden need to buy it “now”

I got the idea of pastel pencils in my head.
It was buzzing so loudly, bumping around so restlessly, I simply had to get my hands on some pencils. I went through all the steps listed above. I told myself I will be controlled and rational, and smart in my choices.

I craved the Caran D’ache pastel pencils – high quality, soft, very highly praised, and expensive…

Veering off topic

A year or two ago, when I decided to invest in buying colored pencils, I read about Caran D’ache Luminance – “The holy grail of colored pencils” as somebody put it. I wanted them. Really wanted them. But they are nearly twice as expensive as other brands, and more importantly, I couldn’t find them in Israel, and ordering online – the shipping takes a long time. So I settled for the more available, and more affordable, Faber Castell Polychromos, which a lot of people seem to love.

They are great and I like them a lot, but they were not my #1 choice.

Back on topic

Now that I was researching the pastel pencils, the Caran D’ache name resurfaced. Once more, they are more expensive than other brands, and once more, they need to be ordered online, across seas. And I’m impatient, I want to hold the pencil now, today, feel it, try it, create a masterpiece with it. And so, once more, I chose the more available Faber Castell.

I decided to get a set of 24 pencils – enough color variety, yet not too big of an investment in case I end up not liking it after all.

As I tried my new pastel pencils that first night, my excitement dwindled and then plummeted into disappointment. The pencils were fine, the color choice was the problem. I realized my set includes only muted shades, and is lacking some colors I see as fundamental. I don’t have the basic colors to create other colors with. I have no red, no cool pink or magenta, no lemon yellow or even a primary yellow, no turquoise (there is a dark, cloudy turquoise, but not a bright, light one, which I use all the time).

Initially I thought maybe there are different color assortments and I got a specific one, but no. This is it. This is the 24 color selection set.

Why didn’t I see it?

It’s my mistake, obviously. The reviews I read and watched were either concentrating on the pencils’ quality, or were featuring much larger sets, with a lot more colors. There are (small) color swatches on the back of the box, and I could have checked color numbers. But I didn’t, I automatically assumed a small set will have all the basics.

All the online shops I visited and even the Faber Castell website, didn’t mention anything specific about the color range. Only after digging for information about the colors in the 24 set, did I find one(!!) mention of it, in the Faber Castell website, not in the 24 set page, but in the page where they introduce all their pastels. This is what it says:

“The colour selection in this range places a particular emphasis on the muted shades and earth tones that are especially important for pastel drawing”.

http://www.fabercastell.com/art-and-graphic/artist-products/pitt-artists-pastel-pencils

I’m sorry, but I am infuriated and insulted by this sentence.  Who are you to decide for me which colors I should use? Who says which shades are “especially important for pastel drawing”? I find it condescending at best, misleading at worst.

I made a video about it:

I really dislike making a negative reviews, and would have much preferred to praise and recommend them, but I feel I must let you know about it, so you don’t make the mistake I made, and that if you intend to buy this set you will at least be aware of the colors you are getting.

A couple of weeks later, I’m still not “over it”. I still feel that lump in my stomach when I need a certain color and realize I don’t have it, and cannot create it.

I feel cheated. The only reasons I can imagine for creating such a biased selection is to send me back to the store, either to buy single pencils to complete the missing colors, or to get a larger set. And that seems unfair and unjust to me. At the moment, I decided I will not buy any more of their products – my little consumer’s rebellion against what I view as misleading.

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