Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Kimberly watercolor pencils!

Although I’ve been using Derwent Inktense and Derwent regular watercolor pencils quite a bit in my nature sketchbooks, I recently bought a loose set of 24 Kimberly watercolor pencils. I was inspired by a blog post on this brand by Pam Johnson Brickell (South Carolina Low Country Nature Journaling & Art); specifically her comments about the ease of use and the reasonable cost.

I’ve only had time to do my color swatches and a few color mixes, and so far I find them to be as soft and durable as reviewed. I highly recommend making color swatches of any new media – needless to say, I had a few surprises! Some colors were striking in the way they retained their intensity (such as yellow and lemon yellow), and some were destined to be pastels (such as Madder lake and Light Blue). I confess that I’m a bit excited about the range of blue and violet colors, since our wild blue iris is blooming right now in wetland areas. : )

Since I purchased this set loose, I’m not sure if it's a standard set of colors for Kimberly. I’m fairly pleased with the selection of greens, but feel there could be more earth tones. The family-owned General Pencil Company in New Jersey makes the Kimberly brand. According to their website, the watercolor pencils are certified as non-toxic, made from artist’s pigments and encased in cedar. I’ve emailed the company to ask about the archival properties, but don’t have anything to report back yet.

I created the color swatches on Arches hot-press watercolor paper, and then tried some mixes and blending on both hot- and cold-pressed surfaces. I’m very happy with these so far!  If you've tried these, I'd love to hear your comments or suggestions.

You can click on the top image to view them larger on my Flickr photostream. After arriving at Flickr, click on the magnifying glass above the image marker “all sizes.”  The other images link directly to the "all sizes" page.