Sargent Art makes one of the better-performing beginner colored pencils on the market, certainly the cheapest. With a larger than average color selection for its quality grade, they are a great set to practice with, but the pencils do have their issues. Let’s see how they stand up to similar products on the market.
Designed like its competitors (Crayola and Prang) for durability, these pencils are made with a hard, wax-based core. While they do live up to their expectations duration-wise, they can be very difficult to blend and quite faint when used for shading. While they are only recommended for practice purposes, trying to use them for sophisticated coloring techniques can be quite trying as they are difficult to blend, layer, and simply.. show up on paper. In the name of redemption, we can say quite fairly that these are quite durable pencils, so pressing down on them to get the tones you need won’t hurt them.
What They’re Good For
These colored pencils are good for practicing on a really tight budget. Since its equivalent options are significantly better performing than the Sargent brand, these are only recommended if 1) you can’t afford anything else, 2) You’re looking for a wider color range in novice-grade colored pencils, or 3) you want something that’s going to live on your shelf forever.
Performance wise, these colored pencils will take some practice. Their redeeming trait is the fact that they are available in a large selection of colors, something not seen very often in budget-priced novice-grade colored pencils. Other than that, the quality of the pencil’s formula is not the best for sophisticated coloring techniques.
Beginner pencils rarely have good lightfastness ratings and this one is perhaps one of the poorest performing pencils in terms of fading. Since the color intensity is quite pale compared to other novice-grade pencil brands, it makes the colors more prone to fading.
Sturdiness/ Durability 5/5
Designed with a hard, wax-based core and fitted into a round, wooden barrel, these colored pencils are extremely durable. While they lack the traditional traits of a durable pencil (specialized casing shape, thickness, an extra lacquer coating, gripping solution, etc.), they are still very long-lasting. Since the lead is made of a hard wax, it is also very long lasting and the pencil stands up well to sharpening.
Binder/ Quality 3/5
While I can’t really say that the colored lead formula is necessarily good quality, it is definitely durable. Also, as opposed to many different brands of colored pencils, the company does a good job of color coordination and what’s on the label is pretty identical to what you see on paper. However, due to the fact that you’ll be working with a hard core, blending and layering can be quite challenging. Also, because the core is primarily wax-based and not formulated to have any specialized performance, wax bloom can be a real issue.
Color Intensity 2/5
These colored pencils are not intense, we said that at the very beginning. What they are is very resistant to pressure (which can get you some pretty decent color) and also, match their color label quite accurately.
As expected, these are one of the cheapest novice-grade colored pencils you can get from a known and well-established brand. Because the price is so low and you’re actually getting a wider range of colors than you would from an equivalent quality pencil, there’s really nothing to complain about- you get what you pay for and you pay very little.
A good pencil for a beginner, or as an alternative for classroom use, these are a great set of colored pencils if you take into account durability and color variation. While there are certainly better brands of novice-grade colored pencils, very rarely can you find one with more than 24 colors. With a full set of 56 different colors and very affordably priced, these are a good practice pencils. With some patience and care you can really improve your skill set- for almost nothing!