Product Review: Bruynzeel Design Coloured Pencils


April 7, 2016 by Beth - I SNIFF BOOKS blog

I’ve been coloring with a 50-count set of Crayola colored pencils for several months now and I’ve been quite curious about what it would be like to color with high quality artist-grade colored pencils. Would the pencils feel different in my hand? Would I notice a difference with how the pencil “nib” moves over the paper? Or how the colored pigment lays down on the page? Would the colors look nicer? Well my curiosity has been sated because Royal Talens North America sent me a 48-count set of Bruynzeel Design Coloured Pencils to review. Bruynzeel (or seemingly Bruynzeel-Sakura) is a sister company to Royal Talens — if you are in Europe you may be familiar with the Van Gogh pencils by Royal Talens. Bruynzeel pencils are distributed in North America.

bruynzeel design colour pencil set - 48 colors - keepsake box

The presentation of the Bruynzeel colored pencils is pretty impressive — they are housed in a sturdy keepsake box with four padded pull-out drawers. Like jewels on display, each pencil is nestled in its own foam bed.

The pencils come pre-sharpened and measure 7 inches from tip to end. The 3.7 mm wide wax core is housed in a light cedar casing. (For comparison, Crayola’s standard colored pencil lead is 3.3 mm.) For those of you with fragrance sensitivity, cedar wood does have a distinctive scent. If you sniff the pencil barrel you will smell it, however; I did not smell any aroma of cedar while coloring. Cedar wood is a high-quality wood and has many different uses — it’s often used in furniture.

The pencils have a very sophisticated and modern look. The end of the pencil is colored and embossed with a unique number. This number corresponds to a specific color name. The color-dipped ends aren’t always matchy-matchy with the color pigment so you may want to make a color swatch chart.

Bruynzeel Design Coloured Pencils - close up of pencil barrel

The cardboard belly band has a small color chart on the back with both color names and color numbers — very helpful when making your own color swatch chart. It’s nice to associate a name with the number.

Bruynzeel Design Coloured Pencils - 48 color set - swatch chart

It’s a bit disappointing that the reds (at least how I perceive them) are very similar to each other. I don’t really notice any significant difference in color between 38 carmine, 11 crimson red, 31 vermillion, and 33 deep red. (I’m even tempted to include 36 dark rose in this group too.) I just can’t see myself deliberating choosing one of these colors over the others for any specific reason — they are too much alike. Likewise, I don’t see a significant difference in color between 23 orange and 18 permanent orange.

I would have been content with just one of the reds and one of the oranges I mentioned above — especially since I would have preferred a few extra shades of green (and perhaps an extra pink). Light green, green, and dark green just aren’t enough green options for me — the emerald green and ice green colors are quite lovely but they are more aquamarine-ish and I don’t think of them as green. (And the olive green is pretty drab.) But that’s just me, others may find this 48-color palette to be perfect.

Bruynzeel Design Coloured Pencils - similar colors

Coloring with the Bruynzeel pencils is definitely a lovely experience. The Bruynzeel pencils are a dream to color with — barely any pressure is needed to get color on the paper and the “nibs” just glide over the paper. The Bruynzeel pigments are very vibrant and rich — there is most definitely a brightness to the colors that is lacking in my Crayola colored pencils. The pencil lead is firm and holds it shape well — I colored so many leaves, vines, and stems using 61 dark green and didn’t even need to sharpen my pencil.

the coloring book of cards and envelopes - nature - completed coloring - front of card

I rarely talk about pricing in my reviews but it’s the elephant in the room right now. We all want to know, just how much does a “good” (high-quality) set of colored pencils cost? I’m not going to lie — it’s easy to get sticker shock when a 50-count pack of Crayola colored pencils retails for anywhere between $6.99 (Target online) and $12.49 (Amazon). The 48-count keepsake box of Bruynzeel Design Coloured Pencils I received has a MSRP of $92.90.

I’d also like to add, and this is not a criticism, but just an FYI: (1) The set of Bruynzeel pencils I received were manufactured in China. I thought that maybe they would have been manufactured in the Netherlands since Bruynzeel-Sakura is a sister company to Royal Talens — and the word “HOLLAND” is embossed on each pencil (not shown in the pictures above). (2) There are only 50 colored pencils in this line — the two that weren’t included in my set were silver and gold.

SEE THESE PENCILS IN ACTION: I used the Bruynzeel pencils in my review of the following coloring books:

The Coloring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Nature by Rebecca Jones
Summer Nights by Swedish artist Hanna Karlzon
Daydreams by Swedish artist Hanna Karlzon


DickBlick offers a 12- and 24-count set as well as open stock pencils

Amazon has a 12-count set and 24-count set

Artist & Craftsman Supply has the 48-count set on sale for $60.39 (list price $92.90) but the set is out-of-stock at the time this post was published

Amazon has the 48-count set — it is being sold by a third-party seller

Check your local fine art supply store

Website for Bruynzeel-Sakura

Disclosure: I received a complimentary 48-count set of Bruynzeel Design Coloured Pencils from Royal Talens North America. The opinions are my own.

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8 thoughts on “Product Review: Bruynzeel Design Coloured Pencils

  1. nyrican4t says:

    Very informative. I just can’t see paying so much for pencils since I don’t do anything but color. Yet for an artist I would consider gifting them.

    • Beth says:

      Truth the Bruynzeels are a bit pricy but their price is quite comparable to Polychromos and Prismacolors — two other popular choices of high-quality colored pencils. The “keepsake box” + Bruynzeel pencils would make a special gift, indeed.

  2. Valarie says:

    I have these pencils and I love them I got the tin with 36 colors for 29.00 I agree the reds are not really red I had to use crayola to do it. But still love it

    • Beth says:

      Oooooh a tin. I didn’t know the Bruynzeel pencils came packaged in a tin — good to know because the pencils packed in the tin perhaps cost less than the ones in the “keepsake box.” I don’t mind that the reds aren’t truly red, they are red enough for me but they are just way too similar to each other. Still love these pencils too!

  3. KBrown says:

    I recently acquired a set of Bruynzeel 50 Eurocolour colored pencils and I’m having a darnedest time finding information, or even images of the set and tin it came in. The lid has Vincent van Gogh on it and the underside of the lid details his life and death (anniversary issue??) I could not find the production date and all written word on the inside is foreigh to me!:) The pencils are barely used and the paper insert with color by number like pictures for the consumer to complete, hasnt been touched either.Would it be possible for you to set me in the right direction for determining its value?

    • Hi KBrown. Based on the information you provided, it sounds like you have the European pencil set rather than the North American set. The European pencil set is called “Van Gogh” and is manufactured by Royal Talens. Royal Talens is headquartered in The Netherlands but they have offices around the world including the UK, USA, Japan, and Spain.

      Take a peek here:

      As for determining your pencil set’s value, try looking up your set on Amazon UK and see what the list (or retail) price is on there.

      I hope this information helps and good luck! Let me know what your discover.

  4. terry billany says:

    Might be worth noting these pencils appear to be a rebadged version of the Marco ‘Renoir’ (as in the artist) brand, which is widely available on Amazon etc., and priced somewhat cheaper. It also comes in bigger sets.

    • Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Terry. I don’t have a set of the Marco Renoir pencils, but from what I’ve “heard” I was under the impression that the Marco pencils were oil-based pencils. The Bruynzeels I have are most definitely wax-based pencils.

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