A Comprehensive Guide to the Caran d'Ache Luminance Colored Pencils

drawing of a purple porsche 992 gt3 next to a box of caran d'ache luminance colored pencils

Discover the world of Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils in this comprehensive guide, designed to help you understand what sets these premium art tools apart from the competition.

With a focus on their unique features, benefits, and versatility, this article will provide valuable insights and comparisons to other colored pencil brands.

Whether you're a professional artist or an enthusiastic hobbyist, learn how Luminance colored pencils can elevate your artwork to new heights, enabling you to create stunning and long-lasting masterpieces.

Let's dive into the captivating universe of Caran d'Ache Luminance and explore why they're considered among the best colored pencils on the market.

What are Caran d'Ache Luminance Colored Pencils?

Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils are a high-quality, professional-grade line of wax-based pencils designed for artists who demand the best performance from their materials. These premium colored pencils are known for their vibrant colors, exceptional lightfastness, and smooth blending capabilities.

They were first introduced by the Swiss company Caran d'Ache, which has been producing top-notch art supplies since 1915.

As you dive into the world of Luminance colored pencils, you'll find that they offer a unique experience that sets them apart from other colored pencils on the market. With their soft, creamy cores, they make blending and layering a breeze, while their superior build quality ensures that they remain break-resistant and easy to sharpen. While these outstanding features come at a premium price, many artists swear by their quality and consider them well worth the investment.

Features and Characteristics of Caran d'Ache Luminance Colored Pencils

Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils boast several unique features and characteristics that make them a favorite among artists. Let's take a closer look at what sets these pencils apart from the competition.

1. Smooth Blending and Layering

One of the most loved features of Luminance pencils is their ability to blend and layer effortlessly. Thanks to their wax-based, soft, and creamy cores, artists can easily create smooth color transitions and build up layers of colors without the struggle of dealing with hard or scratchy cores. Their easy blending capabilities make it possible to achieve a wide range of effects and textures, giving your artwork depth and dimension.

2. Break-resistant Cores

Luminance pencils are known for their break-resistant cores, which make them an excellent choice for artists who might have a heavy hand or are prone to dropping their pencils. The sturdy barrels protect the cores, ensuring that they remain intact even if the pencil takes a tumble.

3. Vibrant and Opaque Colors

Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils come in a range of 100 vivid and natural colors, offering artists a versatile palette to work with. While the selection might not be as extensive as some other brands, the available colors can be easily mixed to create new shades, thanks to their blendability. Most of the colors are highly opaque, allowing you to cover the white of the paper with ease. However, some colors might be slightly transparent, which is something to keep in mind while working on your masterpiece.

caran d'ache luminance colored pencils color chart

4. Matte Finish

The Luminance colored pencils produce a beautiful matte finish on your artwork. This finish lends a professional and refined look to your drawings, making them stand out.

5. Excellent Lightfastness

When it comes to creating art that lasts, the lightfastness of your materials plays a crucial role. Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils have impressive lightfastness ratings, which means that their colors won't fade significantly over time. This feature is particularly essential if you plan to sell your artwork or create pieces for collectors who value longevity.

6. Premium Build Quality

The high-quality build of Luminance pencils is evident in their comfortable barrels, soft wood casings, and robust cores. The wood casings make sharpening these pencils a breeze, while their durable construction ensures they'll withstand the test of time.

In summary, Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils offer an array of features that cater to the needs of professional artists and enthusiasts alike. Their smooth blending, break-resistant cores, vibrant colors, matte finish, excellent lightfastness, and premium build quality make them a top choice for those who value exceptional performance in their art materials.

Comparing Caran d'Ache Luminance with Other Colored Pencils

When it comes to colored pencils, there are several other popular brands on the market. Let's compare Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils with three of these well-known brands to see how they stack up.

1. Faber-Castell Polychromos vs. Caran d'Ache Luminance

Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils are oil-based colored pencils that offer a different drawing experience compared to the wax-based Luminance. While both pencils produce vibrant and highly pigmented colors, Polychromos pencils have a harder core, making them more suitable for creating fine details. However, the harder core can make blending more challenging compared to the soft, creamy core of Luminance pencils.

In terms of lightfastness, both brands are highly lightfast, ensuring that your artwork will remain vibrant over time. Polychromos pencils come in a wider range of 120 colors, giving you more options to choose from. Price-wise, Polychromos are generally more affordable than Luminance pencils.

2. Prismacolor Premier vs. Caran d'Ache Luminance

Prismacolor Premier pencils are another popular wax-based colored pencil option. Like Luminance pencils, they have a soft and creamy core, which makes blending and layering a breeze. However, the cores of Prismacolor pencils can be more prone to breakage compared to Luminance pencils.

Prismacolor offers a larger color range with 150 colors, but their lightfastness ratings vary across the color range. Some colors may fade faster than others, which could be a concern for artists who prioritize longevity in their work. Price-wise, Prismacolor pencils are generally more affordable than Luminance pencils.

3. Derwent Lightfast vs. Caran d'Ache Luminance

Derwent Lightfast colored pencils are oil-based pencils with a focus on lightfastness. All colors in the Derwent Lightfast range have a high lightfastness rating, just like Luminance pencils. The Derwent Lightfast pencils have a slightly harder core compared to Luminance, which means they can hold a sharper point for longer, making them better suited for fine details.

The Derwent Lightfast color range is smaller, with 100 colors available, which is the same as the Luminance range. In terms of price, Derwent Lightfast pencils are generally comparable to Luminance pencils, with both falling on the higher end of the price spectrum.

In conclusion, Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils hold their own against other top brands, offering unique features like smooth blending, break-resistant cores, and exceptional lightfastness. While each brand has its strengths and weaknesses, Luminance pencils cater to artists who prioritize blending capabilities, vibrant colors, and longevity in their artwork.

Benefits of Using Caran d'Ache Luminance Pencils

Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils provide numerous benefits for artists who choose to work with them. These advantages make them an appealing choice for both professional artists and enthusiasts who value high-quality art materials. Here are some of the key benefits of using Luminance pencils:

1. Effortless Blending and Layering

The soft, creamy cores of Luminance colored pencils make blending and layering an absolute pleasure. This feature allows you to achieve smooth color transitions, create depth and dimension, and mix colors with ease. Artists who prefer to work with wax-based pencils will appreciate the exceptional blending capabilities of Luminance pencils.

2. Fade-resistant Artwork

With their excellent lightfastness ratings, Luminance colored pencils ensure that your artwork remains vibrant and resistant to fading over time. This benefit is especially important for artists who sell their work or create pieces for collectors, as it adds value and longevity to the final product.

3. Ability to Add Highlights

The opacity of most Luminance colored pencils, particularly the white pencil, allows you to add highlights over darker colors easily. This feature gives you the flexibility to create stunning effects and make corrections or enhancements even after completing the initial layers of your drawing.

4. Durability and Break Resistance

The premium build quality of Luminance colored pencils, including their sturdy barrels and break-resistant cores, means you can rely on them to withstand the rigors of regular use. You won't have to worry about constantly dealing with broken leads or replacing pencils due to damage.

5. Wide Range of Applications

Thanks to their blendability and versatility, Luminance colored pencils are suitable for various techniques and styles, from portraiture and wildlife art to botanical illustrations and abstract compositions. Their smooth application and vibrant colors make them an excellent choice for artists working in different genres and mediums.

In summary, Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils offer numerous benefits that make them an appealing choice for artists who value smooth blending, vibrant colors, longevity, and durability in their art materials. While they come at a premium price, the advantages they provide make them a worthwhile investment for those who want the best from their colored pencils.

Techniques and Styles that Work Best with Caran d'Ache Luminance Pencils

Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils are incredibly versatile and can be used to achieve various techniques and styles. Their unique properties, such as easy blending and layering, make them an excellent choice for artists who want to experiment with different approaches.

Here are some techniques and styles that work well with Luminance pencils:

1. Burnishing

Burnishing is a technique in which you apply heavy pressure to blend and smooth out the colored pencil layers, creating a polished and shiny appearance. Luminance pencils, with their soft and creamy cores, are perfect for burnishing as they blend easily without damaging the paper surface.

2. Glazing

Glazing involves applying a thin layer of color over an existing layer to change its hue or tone slightly. With their excellent layering capabilities, Luminance pencils can be used for glazing to create subtle color shifts or corrections in your artwork.

3. Realism

Luminance colored pencils' exceptional blending capabilities and vibrant colors make them an excellent choice for creating realistic artwork. Artists can achieve smooth color transitions and build up layers to create depth and dimension, capturing the fine details and textures found in real life.

4. Portraiture

The wide range of colors offered by Luminance colored pencils, including natural skin tones, allows artists to create stunning portraits. The soft, creamy cores make it easy to blend and layer colors to achieve lifelike skin textures and subtle shading, resulting in expressive and captivating portraits.

Artwork Created with Caran d'Ache Luminance Pencils

Many artists have created stunning and diverse artwork using Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils. Here are some of my favorite examples:

realistic drawing of a still life of a pomegranate made with caran d'ache luminance colored pencils
Drawing made by Natalie Dark
realistic drawing of a dog made with caran d'ache luminance colored pencils
Drawing made by Becca Barron
realistic car drawing of a Porsche 992 gt3 made with caran d'ache luminance colored pencils
Drawing I made

What Artists Think of Caran d'Ache Luminance

As an artist, I've found that many of my fellow artists appreciate the Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils for their exceptional performance and quality. Here's a brief overview of what artists, including myself, think about these pencils:

Many people love the smooth blending and easy layering provided by Luminance colored pencils. In my experience, they are much easier to blend compared to other brands. The soft and creamy cores allow for seamless color transitions and the ability to create depth and dimension in your artwork.

The range of 100 vibrant and natural colors offered by Luminance is appreciated, although some artists, like myself, wish there were more color options. It's worth noting that the pencils mix well, but some colors can be a bit transparent.

Many artists value the lightfastness of Luminance colored pencils, which ensures that the colors won't fade much over time. This feature is essential for artists who sell their work, as it increases the value and longevity of the artwork.

The build quality of Luminance pencils is also very good. The barrels protect the cores effectively, and the cores are not brittle, making these pencils break-resistant. Additionally, the ease of sharpening due to the soft wooden barrels is another advantage that I really like.

In summary, artists, including myself, hold Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils in high regard for their blendability, color range, lightfastness, and build quality. These pencils are a popular choice among professionals and enthusiasts alike, offering versatility and adaptability across various techniques and styles.

Overview of All Features of the Caran d'Ache Luminance

Barrel materialCedar wood
Barrel finishBare wood with ends painted in the color of the pigment
Pencil length17.5 cm (6.9 inches)
Core size3.8mm
Core binder/typeWax-based
Color availability100 colors
Color intensityHigh
Color laydownSmooth and even
Color rangeIncludes a good selection of hues, tints, and shades, including skin tones
Smudge resistanceMedium
Break resistanceHigh
Holding its pointGood, but not ideal for very fine details
Availability of open stockAvailable, so you can replace individual colors as needed
Recommended surfacesFine grain to smooth  paper
Blending toolsCan be blended with blending stumps, tortillions, and solvents
Manufacturer originSwitzerland


In conclusion, Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils are an outstanding choice for artists seeking professional-grade materials that offer exceptional blendability, vibrant colors, and excellent lightfastness.

These high-quality, wax-based pencils are suitable for various techniques, styles, and subjects, making them a versatile and valuable addition to any artist's toolkit.

Although they come at a premium price, the investment in Luminance pencils is well worth it for the remarkable performance and longevity they provide.

Give them a try and experience the difference that top-tier colored pencils can make in your artwork.

Try the Luminance

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