These are elite, high-quality colored pencils designed for beginning and intermediate artists. The Marco brand is manufactured by a long-standing, reputable, Shanghai-based company that specialize in making pencils of all kinds. They produce two types of colored pencils for adult artists: the Renoir collection for professional artists and the Raffiné collection for amateur artists and hobby users. The Raffiné line is sold in boxes or tins of 12, 24, 36, 48, 72 pencils. At the present moment, this specific Amazon seller, Ohuhu, is offering only the 48-pencil boxed Raffiné collection. They must have made a large purchase of these at a terrific cost, because they are passing on that bargain to you here. Anyone who is a hobby or professional artist knows that artist’s supplies are expensive and high quality matters. These are excellent quality colored pencils.
From its website, I learned that all the pencils in the Marco brand are produces in accordance to the ASTM-D-4236 non-toxic standards. As a result, they are completely safe for use by anyone, including children and pregnant women.
I also learned that the pencil cores are composed of graphite and clay with different types of organic and chemical coloring agents depending on the color. Only the best ingredients are used. During the manufacturing process, these cores are fully bonded with the surrounding pencil wood to prevent breakage while sharpening. The company specially selects only the finest and hardest pencil woods (i.e., Plantation wood, Linden, Chinese Cedar and Incense Cedar). As a result, its pencils can easily achieve and maintain a strong, sharp point with little waste during the sharpening process.
In practice, it was easy to tell that this was true: these pencils did sharpen very nicely without breakage; and the wood held the point well. I’m sure we’ve all had the frustrating experience of trying to sharpen a cheap pencil that keeps on breaking again and again while sharpening. These Marco pencils are specifically designed so that won’t happen.
I used these colored pencils to make the attached illustration. I did it during a local community-based, adult-education intermediate-drawing class. Our assignment was to draw a flower with colored pencils and then to blend the colors by applying odorless mineral spirits with a blending stick. This process gives the colored-pencil drawing an overall water-color-like effect. I chose a bird of paradise flower from my garden.
I was impressed with the brilliant true colors of these pencils. They felt smooth and creamy as I applied them to the paper. Yet, even though they were soft, they also were highly break resistant. They worked no better nor worse than the other professional colored pencils that each of the art students had purchased in an art store and brought to our class. My set was distinguished by being, perhaps, the most inexpensive yet the most professional looking. A few students remarked how good they looked because the bodies of the pencils were all a uniform grey color, yet the back end showed the exact color of the core. As you can see in the photo, the colors blended well using the odorless mineral spirits.
If there was one small problem, it was the box. The box is not made for easy storage and use. In fact, I found the pencils so difficult to use directly from the box during class that I eventually put them all in a small glass jar with the tips down and the colored back ends sticking up making it easy to select just the right color. That looked great, but after class I then had to return them to the box again and that was not easy. A number of the students in the class had bought plastic pencil boxes for their sets. Perhaps that is what I need to do. I’m sure I could get an inexpensive box like that at the local dollar store.
If I were to buy colored pencils again, I’d not hesitate to buy this exact same brand.
[I received this product complementary from the seller in exchange for an honest review.]