Tombow is a Japanese company that makes a very unique set of colored pencils, the Tombow Irojiten line. A little quirky and not entirely premium-grade due to their paler-than-average colors and themed packs, these are best used as a gifting set.
Tombow Irojiten colored pencils are a specialty set of artist-grade colored pencils designed in “themes” such as “woodland colors” or “rainforest colors”. Available in sets ranging from singles to 30-pack sets, these colored pencils are only available in their theme packs if purchased in larger sets.
What They’re Good For
This set has a very specific use and it all depends on the theme of the pack you purchase. Limited to the colors within a certain subject theme, Tombow’s Irojiten line is quite impractical to buy as a general use colored pencil set. What they are good for is gift-giving. Each set comes in a gorgeously wrapped package with the most beautiful colored pencil encasing you’ve probably ever seen. Coated in a unique white lining with a colored base, they are a collectable item any artist would love to have.
This is not a premium, or even an artist-grade colored pencil. Because of their better than average performance and quality formula, we’re going to say they’re somewhere above a novice-grade colored pencil, but a technical definition would disqualify them from that category. Let’s see how they hold up against a quality check.
Since these are not technically artist grade colored pencils, they do not have a very good lightfast rating. While the pigment is still of very good quality, the application is quite light and with poor lightfastness rating, a finished project is not bound to last.
Sturdiness/ Durability 2/5
Despite their limited use, these colored pencils are made with a hard wax core and encased in a round, wooden barrel and then coated in a protective lacquer. They are quite durable and will physically endure a long shelf-life.
Binder/ Quality 3/5
Made with high quality pigment and a wax-based core, these colored pencils are a little hard to blend and layer, but are still serviceable with some dedication.
Color Intensity 2/5
Compared with colored pencils with an equivalent price tag, these are very pale. They are not a specialized color pencil and their hard core makes rich application impossible. While you can layer to produce a more intense finish, these are markedly less vivid than other brands of colored pencils, even novice grade brands like Crayola.
The cost for value in this case seems quite unfair as you cannot get a general range of use out of these colors. Even though they make a good gift because they are gorgeous looking colored pencils and come wrapped in an elegant box, their performance as an art tool is quite poor.
More of a collector’s item than an art tool, the Tombow Irojiten colored pencils perform well, but only for a novice-grade colored pencil. The price tag is their most displeasing quality since it seems unreasonable to pay premium price for novice performance.