Monday, August 14, 2017

Giveaway! Plus Review of Ooku Watercolor Pencils

I bought this set of Ooku watercolor pencils from Amazon on Prime Day. I used them to color a really cute image from Dreamerland Crafts for a card featured in a recent post. In this post I'll do a review of OOKU watercolor pencils and compare them to Prismacolor watercolor pencils. I will also be giving away my set of OOKU watercolor pencils (only used twice!) - details at the bottom of this post.

Here is the product description from Amazon:
  • OOKU® Artist Series - 48 Watercolor Pencil set with EXTRA Coloring Pencils Canvas Wrap, Watercolor Brush, and Pencil Sharpener INCLUDED for a FULL 51 Piece Artist Grade Kit for all skill levels.
  • Professionally crafted for artists, with everyday use in mind featuring vibrant pigments & soft shadows used dull, or crisp, bold lines with intense color when sharp. The soft core helps create creamy textures, easy blending, and extremely smooth color laydown when wet or when applied to wet mediums.
  • Draw Dry or Paint Wet, on Dry or on Wet mediums! All using our Dry or Wet Watercolor Pencils, for the fullest flexibility of color tones and watercolor painting.
  • These coloring pencils are ideal for all ranges of water coloring or dry sketching techniques looking for a softer yet solid tone. Try applied any assortment of water coloring techniques for a diverse range of color and texture ranges. Shade them on dry paper and apply a light water wash using the provided brush to get a watercolor look with unique blending effects - or wet the pencil tips and paint on dry materials.
  • OOKU 100% Money Back Guarantee: If our products do not satisfy you, we promise to offer a 100% money back guarantee for the lifetime of the product
Affiliate links may be included in this post. I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program that provides a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites at no cost to you. This helps offset a small portion of my crafting addiction... uh, hobby. See notice at bottom of blog for a longer description.

Review and Comparison

I will be comparing the OOKU watercolor pencils to Prismacolor Water-Soluble Colored Pencils (this
OOKU Watercolor Pencils Roll Up Case
is what they call their watercolor pencils) 36 color set - their largest set. The Prismacolors are slightly more expensive, but there are 12 more pencils in the OOKU set. Prismacolor Water-Soluable pencils are lightfast, professional quality pencils that are made to match their other lines of pencils.

Although the product description says the OOKU pencils are crafted for artists, no lightfast ratings are provided. This is a selling point for artist grade pencils so likely they are not lightfast. I recommend keeping artwork made with them out of direct light. They are fine for sketchbooks or card making but if used for display art, I highly recommend using a UV filtering glass or Plexiglas when framing, and maybe even a UV coating over the artwork itself.

The OOKU pencils come in a roll up case that fastens with the attached elastic band. The set of 48 pencils comes with a small pencil sharpener and a watercolor brush. I didn't use the brush at all. It seems like the bristles are an okay quality (they are synthetic and come to a nice point - I didn't see any hairs sticking out) but the handle is cheap plastic. Inside the case, the individual pencils are held nicely in place by elastic.

OOKU Watercolor Pencils - Sharpened Tips
The pencils came sort of sharpened... in a strange manner. Some had squared off tips, others were slightly broken. I had to sharpen some of them before use. I would have preferred that the pencils come unsharpened. The pencils come with a small sharpener but I only used it to sharpen one pencil to see how it worked. I used my automatic sharpener on the rest.

The sharpener that came with it did an OK job. The tip came to a point but was not completely smooth. I tried another pencil with my favorite small/travel KUM sharpener and it sharpened perfectly. (There are many types of KUM sharpeners; my favorite long point sharpener is a bit bulky for travel.)

The paint on the casing of the OOKU pencils do a fair job of indicating the color inside. Probably the biggest thing that annoys me is that there are no color names or numbers on the pencils. I ended up numbering the pencils with a black Sharpie (on the very dark colors, I used a white paint pen). The Prismacolor pencils have both names and numbers but the casings are not colored - this is my biggest annoyance with these pencils since it makes it more difficult to find a pencil you are looking for at a glance.

OOKU Watercolor Pencil Swatch Chart

I made swatch sheets for both sets of pencils (I do this for all my media). I used the numbers I wrote on the OOKU for identification. For the white pencils, I added a bit of black cardstock on which to swatch, to show opacity/vibrance. I used a waterbrush on the bottom half of the swatches. Most colors stayed fairly true to color, although some changed slightly (e.g. number 15 looked more yellow). They did look a little more vibrant as the color became thinner - showing more of the white below - and filled in the tooth of the paper. None of the colors separated (although the Prismacolor Mulberry looks like it did; I think some of the Ultramarine Blue dust got in it at the bottom - it didn't happen when I tried the color again on another sheet of the same paper). Note: I had used a different paper with the OOKU (watercolor paper), which is why the papers look different in the photos. I used a thick bristol paper with the Prismacolors, which is whiter than the watercolor paper.

I did not find the OOKU pencils to be "creamy" - they were slightly scratchy going on but the color lay-down was nicely pigmented. The cores are somewhat brittle - you have to use a light hand when coloring with a sharpened point or they will crumble and/or break. I had no trouble once I learned how much pressure they could take. They blended fairly well dry, but very well when mixed with a wet brush. The Prismacolor pencils are more waxy in feel - they blended well both ways. There was a little crumbling with a sharpened point on these as well (not so much as the OOKU though); I could use more pressure when coloring with the Prismacolors, which resulted in more color being laid down more quickly.

Prismacolor Water-Soluble Watercolor Pencils Swatch Chart

When I applied a wet brush to the tips of the pencils, I got much more pigment with the Prismacolor pencils, although the OOKU worked fine, they just took a bit more effort. In general, the Prismacolors were slightly more pigmented and quite a bit softer, making it easier to get color from them.

For each set, I applied the dry pencils to wet paper, carefully so as to not destroy the tooth of the paper. The OOKU went on somewhat lightly while the Prismacolors went on strong. Both pencils were difficult to blend out after this application.

Dipping the tips in water produced strong color from both, however they were also more difficult to blend with a brush after this. It took some scrubbing with the brush to dissolve them and the marks didn't go away completely, although this may vary with colors used. My guess is that the wet color dyes the paper somewhat, making it more difficult to move.

OOKU Watercolor Pencils Compared to Prismacolor Water-Soluble Pencils

Both pencils shined when colored evenly on dry paper and had water added with a brush. This could also be done by scribbling colors on some scrap paper and using it as a palette, picking up the colors with a wet brush. Overlapping colors allowed them to mixed beautifully. The pencil marks dissolved away easily in most cases (some colors were more stubborn than others).

The white OOKU pencil is the weakest pencil in the set, in my opinion. The Prismacolor definitely outshines the OOKU here.

My favorite pencils in the OOKU set are the silver and gold metallics. I have metallics in other watercolor sets (not the Prismacolor) but they don't work very well - using water on them makes the metallic look go away. These still had some shine even when used with water. I am so tempted to keep them (but I won't!).

Watch the following video to see the pencils in action and get a closer look at how the case rolls up.


As a thank you to my subscribers, I am giving away this set of OOKU watercolor pencils, including brush, sharpener, and case. To enter, just "like" the video above and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Shipping to United States address only. I will be randomly drawing a winner from my subscribers! You have until Midnight on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. I plan to announce the winner the following day.

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  1. Thank you for posting this. It helps a lot.

  2. Thanks so much for the exhaustive review! I can't think of any aspect you left out.


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