Caran D’Ache – Pastel Pencil Luxury

We all have our Achilles heel and I’ll admit that art supplies are mine. It’s therefore quite fair to admit that I probably didn’t need the Caran D’Ache Pastel Pencil set I bought. Well, that is until I had used them. It is now quite fair to admit that I pretty much cannot do without them!

Caran d’Ache Pastel Pencils

Caran D’Ache is a premium brand and their products fetch a premium price, but that is simply because it is a brand worth paying for. I have yet to try a product by this Swiss company that fails to meet and exceed expectations. From the meticulous packaging to the manufacturing of each individual pencil, the feeling evoked is one of excellence and quality. These are truly artist-grade with some of the highest lightfastness ratings ensuring your work will last a lifetime.

My Pastel Pencils arrived in an attractive matt black box that immediately impressed me. Each beautiful pencil – and they are indeed elegantly crafted – arrived nestled in a foamy tray and thus perfectly protected.  It is a stunning box to receive!

The core of the pencil is quite substantial at 4.7mm and the pastels are loaded with pigment – the colours bright and extremely opaque. I actually love using these pencils as some of my final layers because they so easily show up over other pastel brands. The lead is also lovely and soft and applies with the ease of a soft crayon – none of the scratchiness often associated with pastels. The Caran D’Ache colours offered are very natural and versatile and will suit every subject. In my opinion, there are quite a few colours – especially neutrals – not readily available in other brands. The Caran D’Ache Chinese White is also extremely bright and opaque and my go-to for those final have-to-be-white highlights. There are also two additional white hues – Azurite White and Bismuth White – a lovely luxury!

As with most pastels the Caran D’Ache Pastel Pencils blend easily and multiple layers can be applied depending on the paper you are using (I highly recommend Clairefontaine Pastelmat!). They also are quite erasable, though multiple layers might be harder to remove – especially if you’ve blended into the tooth of the paper. That is just the nature of pastel though – but the paper is quite forgiving and applying a new set of layers will do the trick.

Using Caran DAche Pastel Pencils
Long haired dog face sketch

Caran D’Ache Pastel Pencils sharpen quite easily with a blade – the wood casing is soft and easily removed and as the core is soft and almost more waxy than chalky, they sharpen easily. Watch out for a very sharp blade as the wood and core is so soft you might slice it clean off if you’re used to working hard to keep your other pastel pencils sharp! As with most pastel pencils, regular sharpeners don’t work too well – but do try the Caran D’Ache Pencil Peeler instead.  It works like a charm and I’ll do a write-up of it soon too.

Caran D'Ache Pastel Cubes
Dog face sketch

Caran D’Ache also offer the same colours in a set of matching pastel cubes – these are presented as a harder pastel and can be used with the pastel pencils or soft pastels. I have tried both and the cubes and pencils play well with my other pencil brands.

The pencils and cubes are available in a variety of formats – from a set of 12 pencils to the very impressive wooden gift set of 84. Cubes are available in sets of 6 hues and there are also combo sets available for landscape, portrait and a general selection.  Pencils can also be purchased open stock – meaning that the individual pencils can be replaced – a definite advantage for artists!

My Caran D’Ache pencils have become my go-to for a very big part of my final layers and in certain colours where I know lightfastness is a challenge (think reds and oranges as in this Sunbird where I worked almost exclusively in Caran D’Ache) I only stick to Caran D’Ache because I know I can depend on the quality of the product.  Now go out and spoil yourself – we all deserve a little luxury in our lives!

Caran DAche Pencils
Hummingbird sketch

Leave a Reply