Special Artist’s Pencils Koh-I-Noor Gioconda: How Good Are They?

Inspired by russet autumn colors, I’ve tried my hand at drawing with Koh-I-Noor sepia and sanguine. Since my paper was toned, I also bought charcoal and white chalk.

All the media were in the form of pencils.

A Few Words About Their Features

The special pencils Gioconda have 4.2mm diameter leads from micro-pulverized natural substances mixed with binding agents.

The rods are housed in cedarwood.

That product line includes:

  • various chalks (red, white);
  • sepia (light, dark);
  • charcoal in three hardness degrees etc.

They are sold both by the piece and in pretty packed sets. The sets usually contain:

As for the brand, I don’t think it’s necessary to tell you about Koh-I-Noor: the Czech company Koh-I-Noor is one of the world leaders in producing art tools, you’ve probably heard the name before.

Advantages and Drawbacks

The pencils, which I’ve tested, are similar to pastel ones, just they’re a bit harder. They provide good artistic potential thanks to rich color and the ability to cover each other’s layers.

When using them, you can cross-hatch, make separate intense marks or with no particular shape by rubbing the medium.

On the website, where I ordered my pencils, it’s written something like this: if Gioconda leads are well sharpened, they allow drawing even very fine details.

That’s true, but… Sharpening those leads isn’t an easy task. They broke down at least thrice, while I was creating my A4 sketch, and significantly shortened. My craft knife worked much better than a metal pencil pointer. Perhaps, the pointer turned out to be bad.

Rubbers don’t erase dark sepia or sanguine completely yet lighten them.

Apparently, Gioconda art tools, except for negro, are generally suitable to apply them in combination with soft pastel. Negro (Silky Black) leaves too smooth, glossy marks.

One Important Recommendation

If you are a beginner, please take into account you risk smudging your drawing after finish it. Dry materials – I don’t mean only Koh-I-Noor special pencils – have a very inconvenient quality: they almost always smear hands, and dirty fingers smear whatever thing you touch.

But after all, that feature may be considered helpful. It makes possible partial removing a layer of pigmented particles and correcting errors at every stage.

Purchase a fixative, and everything will be ok.


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Natalia Usanova
I am a poet and an amateur artist. A few years ago, it seemed to me creating works of art is a much more important occupation than reading books, visiting galleries, or listening to music. Now I don't think so. Let me share with you the masterpieces which have changed my life and can change yours. Follow me on Twitter!

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