Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencil Review

Hey Everyone!

I’ve recently been trying out some new products and thought I would share one that immediately became my favorite. Before I jump into it though, I have an announcement. Starting in January 2017  the My Fave Monday section will be called Awesome Artist Tools. All of my previous articles will still be available by clicking on the link in the Blog Post Topics menu. In general, there are going to be some changes with my content going forward in the new year that I will detail in a separate post, but I’m hoping that you will still enjoy what I have to share with all of you.

With that out of the way, on to the real reason I gathered you here today….Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Artists’ Watercolor Pencils. O…M…G. I can honestly say I really love these pencils. I’m a pretty big fan of Faber-Castell’s products to begin with, but these truly were not a disappointment. I only bought a set of 12 to try them out, but I’m definitely going to need a bigger set after my initial explorations. Having tried watercolor pencils before I was skeptical that I would like these. I saw a short promo video on Facebook where an artist was actually doing a short demo with them and it peaked my interest.

First Impressions and Packaging
Faber-Castell always does a great job with their presentation in my opinion. I love getting my pencils in a tin. It feels as premium as the price would indicate, and I enjoy that it is reusable and secure. Some people like to take their pencils out and display them in different containers but I actually prefer to keep them in the packaging they came in. (That might just be the graphic designer in me though.) The back side gives you a brief product description and  a colour bar showing you the colours that are included in the package along with their colour number. I wasn’t keen on getting only 12 colours because I don’t really feel like that that is enough to get a true sense of the product, but in this case I was happy with the selection provided. In the off chance I hated them as well, at least I wouldn’t have to feel bad that I invested a lot in a full set.

Product Specs from Faber-Castell:

  • High quality pigments of unsurpassed light-fastness and brilliance
  • Pigments dissolve completely when brushed with water
  • Smooth colour stroke
  • Break-resistant due to special bonding process
  • 120 colours in a metal tin
  • Available as individual pencils or in various assorted sets

Product Demo
This product is so versatile in that it performs like a colored pencil normally would but it also performs like a watercolor paint when water is applied with a paint brush. I was really impressed with the vibrancy and quality of the pigment when water was applied. My first step was to make a colour chart (you all know how I love those 😀) and  from there I tried a couple actual small projects to get a better feel. Paper type is important with this product in my experience if you want to utilize its full versatility. For my colourchart I worked in a Moleskin watercolour sketchook that has a heavy 200gm cold-press paper. It worked fairly well here but I prefer a smoother hotpress watercolor paper so for my actual pieces so I used the Fabriano Artistico 140lb hot press paper.


barbsotiart_mfm-dec17-image-3“Rose Study I” Process shots – Albrecht Dürer watercolor Pencils on Fabriano Artistico 140lb hot press paper

The pigment seemed to just melt when water was applied. The colour didn’t seem grainy or streaky as long as I worked in lighter layers and built up to the saturation I wanted. Colour fidelity from wet to dry was great! Working in multiple layers also held up well. It could be considered a downside however, that it didn’t seem reworkable when it dried. For layering, this was a plus in that the layer I applied underneath didn’t lift up or change in a way that was undesirable. The lead didn’t break unexpectedly and still blended well with other colours in its dry application.

Although I’m giving this product a giant thumbs up there were a few things that I had some issues with. The pencils are awkward to sharpen in a normal sharpener. The circumference of this particular type of pencil is slightly larger than it’s Polychromos cousin and I found it hard to hand sharpen it using the standard sized hole. Another downside that I think needs further investigation is that the warm pigmented colours seemed to have better coverage and saturation with little applied compared to the cool colours. I’m curious to see if in a larger spectrum of colours that is still the case or if perhaps in was just the colours I was using, or my application of them.

barbsotiart_mfm-dec17-image-4barbsotiart_mfm-dec17-image-5“Rose Study II” Process shots – Albrecht Dürer watercolor Pencils on Fabriano Artistico 140lb hot press paper

Overall, if you’re interested in exploring with mixed media involving colored pencil and watercolor this product basically gives you a 2 for 1 advantage with the quality you would expect from a premium brand like Faber-Castell. I’m hoping to invest in a full set at some point to really take these for a proper test drive. Christmas is coming…and I’ve been a good little artist… just saying.

Please Note: I am in no way being paid to promote this product. The opinions in the blog post are my own.

For more on Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Artists’ Watercolor Pencils visit their site at:

Barb Sotiropoulos

Barb Sotiropoulos

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

7 Responses

  1. Wow! That’s a nice array of colors in your example for only having 12 pencils. I love my Polychromos and the entire ethic FC stands behind with their products. Now I’m tempted to try these.

    1. I agree Faber-Castell is great! I haven’t tried these with my Polychromos yet but I imagine it will be amazing. The thing I like about the idea of using the Watercolor pencils as a base layer is that it’s so much quicker than building up layers with just the dry pencil and it fills all the tiny white spots in the paper. It’s definitely worth a try! Also when I’ve used regular watercolor paint as a base under colored pencils it didn’t seem to be as nice of a surface to layer over top of but this is great because it’s essentially liquified colored pencil.

      1. The watercolor base is something I really want to experiment with. The piece I’m doing now requires such deeply saturated colors that I wish I would have started the experiment before I began it!

      2. It really helps I think. Depending on the surface you are working on it can be difficult to reach saturation and still be able to get the detail you want without having over burnished if that makes sense.

      3. I’m not sure how is performs on smooth Bristol, I’ll have try it out. The paper wouldn’t be as absorbent as the hot press wc paper so you might get a different effect. Definitely worth the experiment though! I just love how versatile Colored pencil is 🙂

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Hey, I'm Barb!

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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