Colour Pencil Lightfastness Research
When I started working at an art supplies store, I got interested in colour pencils again.
At first I bought some Faber Castell Polychromos, but my colleague told me the Caran d’Ache Luminance is better. Especially if you talk about lightfastness (besides that, the number of layers you can make with Luminance is higher).
I was curious if the pencils where really lightfast and decided to do some research. To find out the differences between some brands I’ve tested 6 different kinds of colour pencils:
1. Pablo Caran d’Ache
2. Luminance Caran d’Ache
3. Rembrandt Polycolor Lyra
4. Coloursoft Derwent
5. Polychromos Faber Castell
6. Design colour pencil Bruynzeel
This test isn’t telling you anything about how fast it will fade when you put your artwork on the wall because I didn’t use the blue wool scale method. And I did put it in direct sunlight and that’s never good for an artwork. The purpose of this test was to find out the difference between the brands, but if I had the chance to do it all over I would use the blue wool scale, because it would give me more information (and test the entire range of colours of every brand).
I’m really glad to see that Luminance has a really good lightfastness and it’s the only one where all the colours still look the same after one year of hanging behind the window in direct sunlight (window towards the east).
Now I know I can rely on the Luminance colour pencils.
The Lightfastness test
From every brand I’d chosen the following colours: black, two kinds of blue,
two kinds of red, two kinds of yellow, one orange, two kinds of green and one purple.
I picked the final five to seven colours based on their lightfastness. I wasn’t able to find the information about lightfastness for the Bruynzeel Design colour pencils, so I randomly picked those.
I placed the colours in a matrix dividing the brands in different columns and the colours in rows. Half of these were placed in a folder and stored in a drawer. The other half were placed behind the window for an entire year. In between I made scans. Whenever I saw changes, I made notes. You can see the results below.