Art Gear – Faber Castell
Welcome to the first instalment of a new series dedicated to the arts and gear that has tried, tested and proven to be useful for artistic pursuits over the years.
If you have grown up in the old world in the 1980s, Faber Castell and its Holzmalstifte would have been a constant companion throughout our early school career. While I was using Faber’s coloured pencils on a regular basis, it was only until many moons later that I really got to appreciate the craftmanship and attention to detail that went into their creation.
With the advent and rising popularity of Photoshop and other digital means to create art, I early on counterintuitively started to refocus on the manual expression and creation of artworks.
For the uninitiated, Faber Castel’s history harks back to the nineteenth century and has been catering to all age groups for all fine art related matters. The beauty is that with the quality and the tactile experience each Faber Castell product is infused with, you can feel the expertise that went into its creation.
Case in point: The ever popular Polychromos collection. Chances are that if your favourite artwork was created with coloured pencils, the utensils used were part of this range or one of Faber Castell’s others, each of which complement each other.
What I specifically like about the Polychromos range is its versatility and robust shape, due to the use of American Cedar wood holding the close to four millimetre in diameter pigment core, which is to unleash its vibrance on the surface of your choosing. The Polychromos pencils are oil-based, which result in a harder core and make them predestined for work that needs precision and it would not be Faber Castell if not only the delivery of pigment was on point as well but fortified against the side effects of sharpening through the injection of resin.
When it comes to daily usage, the fact that all pencils have detailed information printed on the outside relating to a numerical code related to the colour nuance and a rating pertaining sensitivity to light, is immensely helpful. Performance-wise, I like that the pencils cater to both blending and layering.
Needless to say, apart from the differently sized Polychromos sets, there are carefully curated limited-edition sets, with the holy grail being the decadently designed “Karl box”, which was exclusively put together by none other than designer extraordinaire Karl Lagerfeld.
Summa summarum, if you are passionate about the usage of coloured pencils, you’d find yourself hard-pressed to go past Faber-Castel’s Polychromos range comprising a hundred and twenty colour nuances and shades.
Fine writing is another area that unfortunately does not only seem to be a less and less appreciated lost art, but also one that good and affordable tools I find hard to get by.
Faber Castell’s new Hexo range is an interesting one, as it has been specifically designed to cater to the purpose of sketching, creative writing and drafting. With the hexagonal shape being an obvious homage to the original FC graphite pencils, a black large-capacity refill and a twist mechanism to open and close, it has become a constant and reliable companion for both professional and artistic endeavours.
No matter the medium I am working on when it comes to art related explorations, it usually starts with pinning the vision down via drawings and my go to is the permanent and waterproof, unerasable Faber Castell Pitt artist pen range, which imbues drawings with a vibrancy I do not get from a lot of other pens courtesy of the elongated and more refined brush nib. I love the versatility as with pressure and working with different angles, lines, shading and strokes can be perfectly calibrated and modified as needed.
image from company website
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