I picked these up for a mere $7 from the Staples clearance rack. I purchased based on seeing the name Conte on the package.
The tin is gorgeously printed- the spiral coloring page on the top cover is great. The lid fits very snug and holds the pencils very tightly into their plastic tray. Opening the tin the pencils are gorgeous- black with black “wood” (we’ll get to that in a bit.) And vibrantly colored cores. The printing is silver foil and looks great. Each is simply labeled “coloring pencil” and Conte.
The color selection is weird. There are five shades of red, 3 shades of brown, five shades of green, three blue, two purple plus white, grey and black. the cores are very smooth but also very hard. It takes a lot of pressure to get a dark line. They are anything but creamy. They layer and blend well and are nice on rough paper. One smooth paper they are terrible.
The “wood” part of the pencil is not wood but a foamy extruded garbage.* In use this allows the pencils to bend, especially when using pressure to apply a darker line, they bend in the hand. It’s quite unpleasant. I suppose this is where the Bic part of the arrangement comes in, the extruded garbage reminds me of the Bic Xtra fun pencils. Nasty.
Overall, these are good for kids who might want a nice set for coloring or doodles. For art making purposes they are good for sketching. i’m not sure I’d trust them to be lightfast, and I’m not likely to test them since I’m not adding them to my art tools. Continue reading