I’ve been asked to do reviews on budget-friendly pencils as well, namely the Staedtler Ergosoft and Marco Raffines. I’ll note right away that I’ll also do Marco Renoir but that will probably be the extent of it. But anyway, lets jump into it!
All reviews done so far for pencils can be found HERE.
Staedtler Ergosoft is a student grade pencil so it will not compare to artist grade pencils reviewed so far, lets get that disclaimer off the table. And to give credit where credit is due, my daughter helped me with this review since she has loads more experience with student grade pencils. And another disclaimer, on the box it says ergo soft but on their website ergosoft so… beats me as to which one is correct, I went with one word.
Staedtler Ergosoft comes in sets of 36, 24 and 12, they come in either a cardboard box or a plastic box that acts as a stand as well. While your pencils are long, the plastic case is a lot more convenient. When they wear down… Well, it will probably be pretty annoying to use. Anyway I went with the cardboard box of 24, nice and Lost Ocean-y 🙂
The pencils are triangular with a soft rubber coating that makes them very nice to hold. The coating doesn’t have a color name but is colored. There is a numbering system for the colors and that is printed on the casing. There’s also a place where you can write your name, in theory, good luck writing on the rubber though. Around the lead is their ABS, anti-breakage-system or something like that. It’s there to protect the lead from breaking, that’s the white stuff.
- Decent pigmentation, specially for a student grade pencil
- Sturdy little things, I didn’t experience breakage
- The rubber coated triangular barrel is very comfortable and doesn’t slide off my angular drafting table
- Nice and vibrant bright colors
- There’s also somewhat of a skintone-y peach
- Readily available
- Blending and erasability are decent
- Wood is from sustainable forests, always a plus for me, I care about these things
- Black is really not black, it’s more of a gray
- For student grade pencils, they are on the expensive side, to the point that it might be worthwhile to consider paying a little extra and getting artist grade pencils
- The ABS system is great and all but you get less pigment in a pencil since that takes up room
- 36 colors is the maximum range which I find a little limiting
- You can’t really blend well with the white provided in the set, at least I didn’t have much luck with that
- The lead is 3mm but that counts in the white anti-breakage layer so you don’t really get all that much lead in them
- Not available open stock but at this price, it’s really not a problem
As said, they don’t compare with artist grade pencils and so this part is what my daughter said: “for student grade pencils, these are very good, above average for sure and better then most others, however if you can, you would be better off with Marco Raffines, you’ll spend roughly the same amount of money and will get not only 72 pencils but 72 better pencils. But if you can’t shop online or don’t want to wait, these are a very solid option. Very comfortable to hold and nice colors.”
I am yet to test drive Marco Raffine pencils so I will comment on that at a later date and add that here as well.
Official color chart:
Staedtler doesn’t provide one as a downloadable file but you can check their website for tiny thumbnails of the colors.
Example coloring piece:
Picture from The Magical City by Lizzie Mary Cullen.
Note, this is without a blender, with blending the result is better but I wanted to show you how it performs by itself. The white in the set does not work as a blender well.
To be quite honest with you, I couldn’t wait to be done with the test picture, I didn’t particularly enjoy them. That said, I am used to artist grade pencils and in this unfair comparison, these just didn’t cut it. However they’re really not as bad as I expected them to be, frankly I was surprised at their quality for the price, they’re really not bad at all.
So my suggestion is, if you want to go to the store right now and exit with a good set of pencils and start coloring right away, this is a good option if you don’t want to spend a little extra on artist grade pencils (you really don’t need to buy the whole 120 range, 24 is a decent variety already or 36 if you can afford that).
Disclaimer: all of the above opinions are mine, you might have a different experience with these pencils