Since my posts about pastel pencils are the most popular, I thought I'd give you an update after my order of several pencils from Dakota Art Pastels. It turns out that my favorites out of all that I ordered are the Koh-I-Noor Gioconda. (The Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel Pencils are a close second, and I'll review them later. ) The Gioconda pencils have very rich pigments and the color is intense. The color goes on very smoothly, and they sharpen just fine with either my Stabilo sharpener or the M+ R 0602 brass sharpener. In the photo above, I tried to make sure the numbers were showing, but those little rascals have a mind of their own and kept rolling around on the scanner. I think you can tell which is which from the descriptions below.
The #17 Steel Grey is a foggy grey blue-green that is just wonderful. In fact, all the greys are lovely. The Mouse Grey has a bit of an olive cast and the Light Grey is very warm, a dove grey. If you look on Dakota's website you can order individual pencils which is economical if you use the same colors over and over like I do. www.dakotapastels.com
I have just about used up the # 22 Light Orange which works well for all skin tones that I've used it on. If you do portraits, too, you might like #11 Caput Mortuum Light; it's a nice rich brown-red, the earthy reds are all lovely and include #52 Sienna, # 23 Indian Red, and the hard to find #51, English Red. The Carmine Madder # 32 is a gorgeous pinky-red and the #04 Old Rose is an intense, true red though it looks a bit orange here. It reminds me of an classic nail polish by Revlon called, "Love that Red."
In the blues, I have fallen in love with #18 Paris Blue, a deep blue/green/spruce kind of color and the fabulous #10 Ultramarine medium. In fact, all the Ultramarines are very vibrant.
If you have any questions about these pencils, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll happily respond.