Yes, These Are The Best Colored Pencils - Caran d'Ache Luminance Review

drawing of a ferrari sf90 stradale spider in purple made with the caran d'ache luminance colored pencils. the best colored pencils

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Review of: Caran d'Ache Luminance


One of the most expensive colored pencils, but definitely worth it


Easy and smooth blending


Can handle many layers and really good for glazing


Fade resistant for up to 100 years

What I like

  • Very easy and smooth blending
  • Very break resistant core
  • Great for layering and glazing
  • You can draw lighter color on darker colors
  • Very vibrant colors
  • Matte finish

What I don't like

  • Some colors are a bit transparent
  • Not too good for drawing details

Summary: The Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils are the best and most professional colored pencils out there. They blend super easily and very smooth. They cover the white of the paper without any problems. They are very fade resistant. And the build quality is amazing.

All this does come at a premium price, but they are definitely worth trying.

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I started using these pencils 4 years ago now after I saw a video by Kirsty Partidge about these pencils. And ever since then I've been in love with these pencils. They are by far the best colored pencils I've ever used.

My experience with the Caran d'Ache Luminance

Very good for blending, but not so good for drawing details

Caran d'Ache luminance colored pencils are wax based, meaning they have a soft and creamy core. This makes them ideal for drawing smooth color transitions.

I found that these pencils are a lot easier to blend and you can get a lot smoother results compared to Faber Castell Polychromos. The soft and creamy core makes it really easy to blend the colors, even when you don't layer as much.

The white pencil is in my opinio the best one of all. With the white you can easily blend all other colored pencils and easily add highlights. So if you don't have the money for a set, at least try the white. It'll make your drawing process a lot easier.

The Luminance are however not the best for drawing tiny details. As the core is very soft the pencil doesn't really hold its point for very long. This makes it difficult to draw narrow and consistent lines. You either need to sharpen them very often or you need a sharpener that make the pencils a lot more pointy.

Can handle tons of layers and you can even draw with light colors onto darker colors

Being wax based, the Caran d'Ache Luminance also have the added benefit that you can almost layer infinitely.

When layering with oil based pencils like the Polychromos you can layer up to a certain point when all the white of the paper is colored. But with the Luminance you can layer far beyond that point. And you can even glaze with the se colored pencils. Glazing is using light pressure to slightly tone  or color correct your drawing, usually after burnishing.

With these pencils you can also draw highlights on darker colors, which I really like and use a lot. This makes it so much easier to draw because now you can just forget about the small highlights. You just add them later. You'll need to press a bit harder though.

Most colors are very opaque, but some are a bit transparent

color chart of the caran d'ache luminance colored pencils. the best colored pencils
Image by Caran d'Ache

Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils are available in 100 very vibrant, but also natural colors, which is not exactly much compared to most other brands, but it's just enough I'd say. I'd love it if there where more color options, but the most important colors like light and dark skin tones and every color of the rainbow are available. And if you want to draw a color that isn't available you can easily mix it as these pencils mix very well.

What I don't like about these pencils is that a few colors are quite a bit transparent.

Amazing build quality

mutiple caran d'ache luminance colored pencils

The build quality of the Caran d'Ache Luminance is very good. The barrel is nice as is the core. The barrel protects the core very well and the core isn't very brittle which makes these pencils very break resistant when you do drop them.

The wood of which the barrel is made is also nice and soft which makes sharpening them very easy, especially when compared to cheaper pencils that normally have very hard wooden barrel.

The best pencils if you want to sell your work

The Caran d'Ache Luminance are in my opinion the best professional colored pencils out there.

They are very lightfast meaning the colors won't fade much over time. And they make your drawing process a lot smoother as they blend super easy, easily cover the grain of the paper and make you able to glaze and add highlights with them.

All this does come at a premium price, but the Luminance can make your artwork worth more as collectors appreciate it when art is made with good materials.


Overall score:





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