Updated: Jul 28, 2020
I have recently bought Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 Colored Pencil Set of 76. And, boy, did that hurt my heart and wallet? Absolutely. Are the Caran D'Ache Luminance pencils worth the price? With a $225 current price mark on them, they might be one of the most expensive colored pencils out there and yet they are selling like crazy! I wondered why and, like I always do before I purchase anything, I did a thorough research first. I already have a Faber Castell Polychromos set of 24. So, I wasn't sure about the necessity of it. But as you know, Faber Castell is oil based and I really wanted to work with colored pencils that are wax based.
One of the main reasons why Caran D'Ache Luminance is expensive is that their 80% rate of lightfastness. Which means that they don't fade easily when they are exposed to light. They might be a perfect choice for people who do commissions, but a beginner artist shouldn't think these pencils as a must have.
Having said that, I have fallen IN LOVE with them. From their packaging to their design, my first impression was already perfect. They are thicker than Faber Castell, so they have more core (yay!) However, one down side of that is I couldn't fit them in my electric sharpener. Oops!
When I started doing the color chart for this set, I immediately realized how softly they glide on smooth paper. It was so relaxing and almost actually hypnotizing! I was amazed by the variety of the colors and how they included extra 2 full blender pencils! I had heard Caran D'Ache white pencil is pretty good and the Buff Titanium shade the set has does a similar job in blending. One of the difficulties I had with Faber Castell was not having enough colors for skin tones and blending. But this Caran D'Ache series got that all covered!
I have drawn this little girl's portrait with Caran D'Ache pencils for you guys as a try out. First, I had to decide on the skin tones, lip tones, the hair color, eye tones, and the colors for the clothing. I ended up with so many colors as Luminance series has perfect variety to create layers. And as you all know, the more layer the better! I realized a good variety in light tones which made me really happy. For the girl's portrait, I ended up using pencils below.
As you can see the pencil I used for skin color, brown ochre 10% has gotten really small after just 1 portrait. Probably I can do 2 more portraits with that then I need to buy that specific one again. Thankfully, they are selling them separately! They cost around $4.5 + shipping fee.
While I was drawing her face, I really liked how easy it was to blend these pencils and to just burnish. Burnishing is a method of creating a smooth top layer by applying pressure with your pencil on already existed layers of the same color or different color on your paper. It is basically polishing!
One thing artists must look out for is that if they are using smooth paper, with Caran D'Ache, it is easy to loose the tooth of the paper after layering even a little bit. This is why they need to be careful not to burnish before they are completely satisfied with the layers they put in.
Drawing the hair was a little challenging for me as I didn't know how to create the exact tone of her blond hair. So I experimented with different layers. I always find it helpful to put in the lightest base tones first and layer darker colors on top of them. That's what I did and I tried to stay as true as possible to the reference photo.
This took me about 5 hours to finish as you need to take breaks.Colored pencils might hurt your fingers after a while as you apply constant pressure sometimes. I don't find colored pencil drawing as relaxing as watercolor or charcoal drawing but your finished work definitely creates an awe factor!
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With art and love,