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Caran D’Ache Luminance Review vol2

So, here’s the deal. After a long (1-year long) break from Caran D’Ache Luminance colored pencils and from traditional drawing in general, I decided to give these pencils another chance. 

Because I initially wasn’t impressed. The most annoying part was that everyone on the internet was raving about them, but I just couldn’t make them work, no matter how hard I tried. (Mind you, I didn’t try THAT hard, I actually only did a couple of artworks using Luminance. However it shouldn’t be that difficult to get the grasp of them, they’re just colored pencils after all…)

Anyways, I recently was commissioned to draw the ever-so-fabulous Evangeline Lilly. Because of luminance’s superb lightfast qualities, and because a year passed and I had forgotten how it felt working with them, I decided to give the pencils another go. 

And nothing seemed to work.

Caran D’Ache Luminance

Funny thing is that I love everything about luminance: I love how they feel, I love how the pigments is layered on paper, I love the opaque vibrant colors. The only think I don’t love is the … final result.

Texture, texture, texture

Caran D’Ache Luminance create A LOT of texture

For some reason luminance looks way too gritty for my taste. That is kinda expected of soft wax-based pencils, but this is the first time I see a pencil create SO MUCH texture. Even for total weirdos like myself who love heavy texture, luminance looks way too grainy. Sure you can blend. But 1) I hate blending 2) blending can make your drawings look patchy at places 3) glare is so much, it is almost unbearable to the eye. XD 

2) When I blend Caran D’Ache they can look patchy at places
3) Glare with Luminance can be overwhelming (just look at the hair)

Layering

Another issue with luminance is that I cannot layer many colors, especially on smooth paper.  I feel that after a couple of layers, my paper cannot hold any more pigment. Once again, soft wax-based pencils tend to deposit more product on paper (just with a single layer, the color is super bright and saturated) but personally I want to be able to lay down as many color layers as I want. (generally I prefer to work with a limited color palette and countless layers, I find this method more precise than using countless, unrelated, different pencils)

… and a random disadvantage 

I cannot keep the pencils sharp. The lead gets blunt REALLY quickly. For a control freak such as myself… that’s not good, I need to sharpen them all the time. Subsequently I have to restock used-up pencils all the time. Not convenient, especially considering the ridiculously high price tag.

In short… I scrapped the original drawing of Evangeline Lilly. And started fresh using my favorite pencils of all time faber-castell polychromos. I guess you can see the difference. 

Caran D’Ache Luminance vs Faber-Castell polychromos

DISCLAIMER: So, yes friends, I just cannot make luminance work for me. Don’t get me wrong, they are superb pencils. But considering the hype around them and the ridiculously high price tag, I expected them to solve all my drawing-related problems. XD Which is a reminder that one shouldn’t rely on materials so much. Constantly striving to improve your skills is more important than hunting down the “perfect” pencils, paints, software, you name it. A pencil won’t make you draw better. (Unfortunately!) In any case, if you are curious about my favorite materials, you can find them here.

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