Arteza Drawing Pencils review

Arteza Expert Drawing Pencil Review

Arteza is a brand I keep seeing pop up on Amazon for art materials and so I decided to get a few things from them to see how good their materials are. The first thing from Arteza I’m reviewing are the Arteza Expert Drawing Pencils. Let’s see how the Arteza “Professional Drawing Pencils” performed.

arteza expert professional drawing pencils review

Arteza Expert Drawing Pencil Swatch Test

arteza expert pencils swatches

As I’ve said before, if a company puts different grades in a pack of pencils, I want to be able to feel or see the difference between those grades. Arteza hasn’t succeeded to distinguish between their pencil grades enough. There are meant to be twelve pencil grades yet I feel like I have only four distinctive pencils.

4H – 2H feels and looks practically the same. H – HB all look the same. B and 2B perform identically. 3B – 6B are the same too.

It almost feels like Arteza do have only four pencil grades and are simply printing different grade names on them. I know that’s not what they’re actually doing but it feels like it. If you’re the kind of person who only likes using a limited range of pencil grades anyway, then you’ll like the fact that Arteza’s graphite doesn’t vary much between grades. I like there to be a difference, so I’m not impressed.

The lightest/hardest graphite pencil in the Arteza Expert pack is 4H and in my opinion it’s way too dark. In some other packs of pencils, Arteza’s 4H would be a HB. It means achieving subtle, light tones with Arteza’s pencils isn’t as easy.

What do Arteza’s Professional Drawing Pencils feel like while drawing?

Most of the pencils in Arteza’s Expert pack feel chalky as I draw with them. They run across the page quite easily without scratching too much, so to me they feel quite nice in that respect. The pencils are of a standard diameter and are hexagonal, so will feel like other pencils you’ve likely already tried. The paint on the Arteza pencils is matte, not that this adds or takes anything away for me personally.

One thing that annoyed me with Arteza’s softer pencils (2B – 6B) is that the graphite in them is so chalky and grainy that it is also brittle. That means that when I sharpen those Arteza pencils to a very fine point, the nib of the pencil breaks as soon as I apply even the slightest pressure to the page. It means rendering fine detail with the darkest pencil grades in Arteza’s set is fairly difficult.

arteza drawing pencils

One good thing about Arteza’s pencil tin is that it’s really easy to get pencils out of it. They put an indentation on the edge, so when I push the pencil end down, it pops out. This is clutching at straws in terms of compliments though. I don’t usually keep pencils in the tin while working anyway, I spread them across my work surface as I work.

What do drawings with the Arteza Expert Pencils look like?

dog drawing with arteza pencils

Here’s a quick drawing I did of one of my parent’s dogs (her name is Maddy) with the Arteza Professional Drawing Pencils. Drawing a sheep dog with graphite pencils is quite demanding on the pencils, so this was quite an intense test for Arteza’s pencils. You can probably tell, I started rushing the drawing towards the end and I’m afraid that’s because I really didn’t enjoy using Arteza’s pencils.

One thing I kept getting frustrated about with the Arteza pencils is that it isn’t easy to lay down flat tone. It also isn’t easy to blend different pencil tones together. It should have been easy for these pencils to achieve flat tone because the paper I was using is very smooth. Even with smooth paper, these Arteza drawing pencils feel chalky and grainy.

All in all, I didn’t enjoy using the Arteza Expert drawing pencils for this drawing of the dog. I have however used the Arteza pencils a few times for gesture drawing, which they perform fine for. I’ve also used the pencils around the house a lot while marking walls for DIY projects. The chalky nature of the pencils means they mark most surfaces.

The Arteza pencils are easy to erase

One positive thing about the Arteza pencils is that they’re quite easy to erase both with a general erasers and stick erasers. For example, I used a stick eraser for some of the white fur in the dog drawing above and was able to cut through dark pencil tone easily.

Are the Arteza Professional Drawing Pencils actually Professional Quality?

No.

The Arteza Professional drawing pencils have “professional” and “expert” written on them, which is quite unfortunate because they perform more like a student grade material. There isn’t anything wrong with student grade materials. I use student grade stuff all the time for practice. Yet to call the Arteza drawing pencils “expert” or “professional” is unrealistic when I compare them with genuinely premium brands like Caran d’Ache and their Grafwood pencils (my favourite at the time of writing) or Staedtler’s Mars Lumograph.

Concluding my Arteza Professional Drawing Pencil Review

dog drawing with arteza pencils

Arteza’s drawing pencils are student grade, yet they have professional and expert written on the side. The pencils say “made in PRC”, which also means “made in China”. There’s nothing inherently wrong with things being made in China, yet it’s just another example of a company trying to obscure their brand image and make themselves seem more premium than they really are. As you can tell, I’m not a fan of Arteza at the moment. I’ll probably test more of their stuff in the future but as of now, I’m not impressed.

The Arteza drawing pencils are good for practice sessions, gesture drawing and under drawings, yet I wouldn’t recommend them for full scale, professionally rendered graphite artworks. It’s difficult to control tone with these graphite pencils and there isn’t much variation between pencils. The lightest pencils (4H – 2H) are all too dark and 6B (the darkest pencil) doesn’t seem dark enough.

I won’t be throwing the Arteza pencils in the trash but really, that’s not much of a compliment is it! I’ll probably continue using them for DIY projects and gesture drawing… but not for any serious artwork.

The Arteza stuff is that some of the things I bought a year ago are no longer available this year. To call something professional also means that in a few years time, I want to be able to buy the same material and get more or less the same performance in my art. Arteza’s materials seem to be disappearing and changing, making me think they are a company that cares primarily about sales statistics rather than the art materials themselves.

Where to buy the Arteza Drawing Pencils

At the time of writing, the Arteza Drawing Pencils are out of stock. I’m not sure if they’ll be coming back into stock, because they’ve disappeared from Amazon in many countries too. You might be able to get the pencils from Arteza’s official website some time, but like I said, they’re out of stock and may not return. It’s a bad sign to me personally. If I need to replace art materials, I don’t want to check back and find that they’ve been discontinued or that they’re out of stock.

Which pencils to buy instead of Arteza’s

Instead of buying Arteza’s pencils, I recommend that you check my review of the Caran d’Ache’s Grafwood pencils and Staedtler’s Mars Lumograph. Both are superior to Arteza’s pencils and the Staedtler ones especially are quite affordable.

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