This is the Cretacolor Artino Graphite Drawing Set I bought months ago and only started using recently. The Cretacolor Artino actually comes in two different sets, the graphite and the sketching set.
The Graphite set contents are as follows:
- Monolith Aquarell Graphite 4B
- Graphite Aquarell HB
- Graphite Aquarell 4B
- Graphite Aquarell 8B
- Water-resistent Nero Pencil
- Black Pastel Pencil
- Graphite Sticks 4B and 6B
- Paper Blending Stick
In case you're interested, the sketching or drawing set has the following:
- 1 Monolith solid pencil-size stick of pure graphite
- 1 Nero extra-soft black drawing pencil
- 1 black charcoal soft pencil (#1)
- 3 chalk pencils (White, Sanguine, and Sepia)
- 1 pastel stick (Sanguine)
- 1 charcoal stick
- 1 kneaded eraser
- 1 paper blending stick
That's how the tin case looks like. It's compact. It's quite difficult to take the pencils out from the plastic holding tray within.
The selection is nice for beginners at graphite. It's not a very expensive set.
I've two main problems with this set though. The pastel pencil just seem too brittle. The lead breaks off easily. I've tried both the simple sharpener and also sharpening with a pen knife and the lead just keeps breaking. There seem to be a lot of internal breakage inside. This problem is quite rare for other brands of pastel pencils that I've used.
The other issue I have is with the Monolith Aquarell pencil. This is a woodless pencil. The external is coated with a thin film of lacquer so that you can hold it without making your hands dirty. After several months, that coating started to deteriorate and made the pencil stick. I no longer use that as a result.
These are two graphite blocks that are quite useful for filling in large areas.
Their edges are sharp. They come in 4B and 6B.
Here are some shading tests with the graphite pencils. The Graphite Aquarell 8B is quite close with the Nero pencil. The only difference is the Nero isn't water-soluble.
The Graphite Aquarell HB feels quite soft actually. It's more like 2B to me.
Here's how they look with water added. They don't dissolve completely so you'll still see some of those pencil on paper texture.
Here's a drawing with the HB, 8B and the Nero.
Overall, it's a nice self contained complete graphite set. It's convenient. I sort of wish they have a white pastel pencil included rather than the Nero because that's not very different from the 8B Graphite Aquarell pencil.
The downsides are the quality of the Monolith woodless pencil and the black pastel pencil.
Find more reviews at Dick Blick Art Materials (US) | Jackson's Art (UK)
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