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Luminance VS Polychromos

Polychromos vs Luminance: A Colored Pencil Showdown

For years, I've been a devoted user of both Faber-Castell Polychromos and Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils. Each excels in its own way, making them a perfect duo. But if forced to pick a desert island companion, I'd choose Luminance.

Close up sketch of Hope the Labrador on red striped sofa

A Love Affair with Pencils

My journey began with Polychromos. They were my first full set, chosen for affordability and layerability. Their oil base allows for sharp points, ideal for detailed work.

Then came the Luminance pencils – a revelation! Their creamy texture and rich pigments create a paint-like finish. They worked beautifully as a finishing layer over Polychromos, adding depth and vibrancy.

Close up of sketch of Hope the Labrador

The Price Divide

In the UK, Luminance pencils cost nearly double Polychromos. Their softness also meant faster wear, leading me to use them sparingly for years.

Sketchbook page of Hope the Labrador with Polychromos and Luminance pencils

The Luminance Shift

Last year, a 100-portrait challenge pushed me to experiment. Luminance's fast color application proved invaluable as the deadline loomed.

Hope the Labrador sketch on red striped sofa with Polychromos pencils

The Power of Pigmentation

Fast forward to today, with my art supplies in storage. Forced to improvise, I repurchased Luminance pencils, strategically selecting specific colors. Despite the cost, their pigment payoff and efficiency are undeniable.

Sketch of walking boots in Polychromos pencils

The Verdict: A Luminous Champion

This week's portrait of my dog Hope perfectly exemplifies the difference. While Polychromos provided most of the colors, Luminance broufht the red of the sofa to life. It is undeniably bolder, brighter, and true to their name – luminous.

Polychromos will still have a place in my collection, but for most colors, Luminance reigns supreme. They are a must-have for any artist seeking vibrant expression.





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