Well here l am again talking about Schpirerrfarben pencils. I wanted to do this for two reasons. The first is that l want to talk about lightfastness and the second is that l want to update on their use.
l really want to say again how much l love these pencils, they layer well, they blend well, they sharpen beautifully and hold their point well. The piece you see below is at least 90% worked with Schpirerrfarben pencils. I used just a few from my other brands because l wanted to test how they work in conjunction with different brands, but l will discuss that in my next post.
In this blog l am going to concentrate on lightfastness and the reason l am doing this is because it is the one thing everyone (including me) mentions in their reviews. I just wanted to put this into perspective. I would love these pencils to be tested and rated, but ... l also own full sets of Caran D’ache Luminance and Pablo’s, Holbeins, Faber Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor Premieres and here is my point... if l wanted to draw this fish with only pencils with the best lightfastness rating ... l couldn’t! I would never draw a pink fish. The only range with a top rated pink is Caran D’ache Luminance (all of that range are top rated) but l would struggle to get the colors l want using only Luminance. With Pablos, Polychromos and Holbeins the pinks and lilacs have one or two star ratings out of 3. With Prismacolors who knows? They are tested for lightfastnesss but a third are not lightfast and they don’t show the ratings on the pencils so you never really know if the one you are using is or isn’t lightfast.
So my point is that you have to make a personal decision . These are my thoughts (and questions?):
Personally l love color. I want to draw anything l want to draw. If l want to draw a pink fish l want to draw a pink fish. I don’t want to limit the colors l use. I want to use them all. I love color. So while l am conscious of the lightfast ratings and will choose a lightfast pencil where l can, l will always go for color first.
My other thoughts are that even with a top lightfast rating where a picture is hung, how it is mounted and framed, the paper used, the environment all produce variables. And the test itself cannot cover all the variables in a piece of work, how does the amount of layers l use affect lightfastness, does using many brands in one piece change anything? Do the oils from my skin affect it? Does using blenders affect it? Are they tested as if they were kept in museum conditions? Are they tested as if they were hung directly in the bright Californian sunlight?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but l do know that a lightfast rating is no more than a guide and that some particular colors (such as pink) are not as lightfast as other colors.
My conclusion is that l could get far too hung up on ratings. So, no, this brand doesn’t have a lightfast rating but l think in fairness you have to consider the price. Under $30 for 72 pencils. Or $300 to buy a similar sized set of Luminance? These are such good value and making a big issue about lightfastness would be to me like complaining that your Toyota Prius won’t do 0-60mph in under 4 seconds like a Ferrari.
For me it is really exciting to be able to say to people that for under $30 you can try colored pencil as a medium and get great results. I hope more people try them and see what beautiful results can be had and how much fun colored pencil art is. These could be the start of a new addiction for so many people.
lf you are reading this in the week it is published Schpirerrfarben are giving away three lovely sets of these to three lucky people so head over to Instagram and check out my page from tomorrow for how to enter.