You may already know the name Tombow as the manufacturer of the popular Dual Brush pens that I reviewed a while ago, but it has only recently come to my attention that they also produce a range of medium-grade Japanese colouring pencils called Irojiten. These lovely pencils come in 3 sets of 3 boxes, totalling 90 pencils in the full collection. The sets are made to look like books, an encyclopedia of colour if you will, and are removable in sets of 10. Each of the three main sets has a colour theme: Rainforests, Woodlands & Seascapes, and I have the Woodland set to show you today.
The pencils have a round barrel with their name stamped in silver and are very light in the hand. Each pencil has a dipped end but I'd recommend charting them as a few aren't true to colour. I love the white as all the pencils look uniform and it really makes the colours pop.
What's really outstanding about Irojiten is the presentation. I love the Asian aesthetic for beautiful packaging and this doesn't disappoint. Each card box has a corrugated feel lid which looks like fine linen, and a piece of elastic to keep them closed. The pencils are contained in individual grooves to stop them from moving around, and the reverse of the lid has their pencil names and numbers written for reference.
Like most wax-based pencils Irojiten don't erase well, but sharpen nicely and infrequently. Overall I would recommend these pencils to anyone looking for something a bit special, because that's how they feel to me. If you don't like the buttery-ness of Prismas but still want a good range of colours, Irojiten might be exactly what you're looking for.
Here's a picture I coloured with Irojiten (I used PanPastels for the moon background) from Dagdrommar by Hanna Karlzon. You can find a quick video of me colouring the hair here.
You can find all 3 sets of Irojiten pencils with FREE UK DELIVERY at Cult Pens. The price is variable across the 'net but I find Cult Pens a very reliable stockist when it comes to overseas imports.
7/3/2016 02:56:12 pm
This is one of the best reviews I have read. you have done a great job, thank-you. Only problem is I live in Wisconsin, US. Can I buy these in Paris, will be going there in April?
7/3/2016 09:12:05 pm
Thank you for reviewing these! I am highly interested in them, and am spying a set on Amazon (I'm in the US). As always, great work! :)
8/3/2016 01:20:10 pm
Another hardcore pencil is the Prismacolor verifine which is for detailing,, using to make reflections.. Like glass etc. they don't break like 'B' leads. And no, don't need sharpened as often. Nor will they erase as well :/ but they will be great to work with for more of the serious artist not the general colorer or beginner. But that is my opinion. :)
11/4/2016 05:34:50 am
Ah, I would love to buy these some day. The packaging is very lovely! :)
10/11/2016 12:15:28 pm
Claire, such a nice review. I've been looking into these for a few weeks now and can't decide which set I should go for. I actually think you have the Rainforest set (numbered 1).
18/4/2017 03:11:52 pm
What a great review! Been looking at these for quite awhile and your review and picture has dispelled all the negatives I have heard in regards to vibrance and blending. I will certainly be ordering all 3 sets asap.
13/1/2018 10:29:45 pm
I love these pencils and was very interested to read your review. I watched your tutorial but could not quite make out which shades you used. I know its a while since you did your tutorial but wondered if you remembered. I received these as a gift and absolutely adore them. x
12/5/2018 01:27:27 pm
Great review. I have been looking at these and wasn't sure about them
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