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

The rods are housed in cedarwood.

The product line includes:

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

They are sold both by the piece and in nicely 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 producers of art tools, you’ve probably heard the name before.

Advantages and Drawbacks

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

When using them, you can cross-hatch, make separate intense marks, or figures 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 three times while I was creating my A4 sketch, and became significantly shortened. My craft knife worked much better than a metal pencil pointer. Perhaps the pointer turned out to be bad.

Erasers don’t erase dark sepia or sanguine completely, they lighten them.

Apparently, Gioconda art tools, except for black colors, are generally suitable to apply in combination with soft pastel. Silky Black leaves marks that are too smooth and glossy.

One Important Recommendation

If you are a beginner, please take into account you risk smudging your drawing after finishing it. Any dry materials, not just Koh-I-Noor special pencils, have a very inconvenient quality: they almost always smear hands, and dirty fingers smear whatever you touch.

After all this, however, that feature may be considered helpful. It makes it possible to partially remove a layer of pigmented particles and correct 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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