Sunday 14 January 2018

Product Review Series | Black Widow & Scorpion - Wax Based Coloured Pencils

Hi everyone, thank you for stopping by. I hope you're having a great day.

Today I'd like to talk about the Black Widow and Scorpion wax-based coloured pencils by MediHealth. I had been seeing these pencils more and more in different social media groups and I wanted to know what the hype was about.

So sit back, grab a drink and read on. As always, this is going to be full of pictures and information!
For the purposes of this review, the image stamped is from Lawn Fawn's "Our Friendship Grows" stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black ink on 110lb white cardstock and 65lb kraft cardstock.

These pencils have recently gained a lot of popularity and I wanted to know why. So when Amazon (Canada) had these on a super sale, I jumped for them. At first I was confused about these - were they the same, was one set bigger? As it turns out the Scorpions are a continuation of the Black Widows, so as of this writing there are 48 different pencils between the two sets with plans for a new set in the spring of 2018.

  • Wax-based
  • Hexagon barrel
  • Scorpions have a number and colour name right on the pencil, the Black Widows do not
  • Both boxes include a colour swatch - though I found this to be relatively inaccurate
  • Black wood
  • Pre-sharpened
  • Vibrant colour

As I mentioned, I tested these on 110lb white cardstock and 65lb kraft cardstock, I chose these papers as they are the most common papers I use in my crafting. For this image, I used two different shades of red.

I prefer to test with reds because reds are typically the hardest colour to use - no matter what the medium.

Some of my observations:

  • The core is very soft - much like a pastel. I would argue that the core is softer than those in the Prismacolor Premier. However, the core is sturdier than the Prismas. It was a very different to use these. 
  • The colour lays down incredibly smooth, and spreads nicely. Much like using pastels. I didn't feel a need to resharpen the pencils before I used them; which was also interesting as I am insanely picky about the sharpness of my pencils.
  • The barrel is very smooth and the hexagon shape makes it feel smaller than a standard pencil in my hand. If you have read my other reviews, you'll know that I have some arthritic issues in my hand and I did find that using these for an extended period of time hurt me. So that is definitely something to keep in mind.

For the blendability test I chose one of each of the primary colours. The top was blended just using the pencils, and the bottom was blended with Gamsol.

  • I found that the pencils layer nicely, but didn't really "blend" together to create a new colour the way I expected them to. I found the colours just seem to lay around each other.
  • When blending with the Gamsol the pigment melted very nicely and sank between the teeth of the paper and helped with blending the two different colours. You can see this in the orange and green areas under the line.

For the erasability test, I used the SC33 Blood Red with increasing layers and pressure as I progressed down the page. On the left I used a regular white eraser and on the right I used the Tombow Mono Sand eraser.

  • Both erasers did a relatively decent job of removing the lighter shading at the top. 
  • The regular eraser would most likely remove a small, light mistake - we've all been there.
  • The Tombow sand eraser was able to remove a lot more pigment, but it took a bit of work. Depending on the quality of your paper this could be fine or detrimental to your project.

Here I have all the colours swatched (post on swatching coming soon), as you can see for the first 24 colours they have no names because none were provided. I worked out the colour order as I prefer it on a separate paper and numbered them myself. I like to show varying pressure moving from left to right.

The Scorpions do have their names and numbers on the pencils - I emailed the company about this and was told that when they rerelease the Black Widows in 2018 they will have names and colour numbers, but were unwilling to provide me with that list at this time.

I used a thin piece of painters tape and just wrote the number on the end so that I could reference back to my swatch and determine the colour I want to use.

They do have a couple unusual names for some of the colours, Blood Red, Bug Brown and Pig's Ear, but this is not really consistent. They have some regular names but I think it would be fun if they took this further for the whole collection.

I wanted to include this close up picture from a card that I had completed a little while ago. I used the Black Widows and Scorpions for the Balloons in this Happy Hippos card.  I had wanted to use them for the entire card, however there is a very sad lack of greys.

Overall Conclusions:
  • These pencils have an incredible value vs cost. They were very inexpensive and would be an excellent addition to any colourist's collection at any level. I'll definitely be getting the next set that comes out for the collection.
  • I will be getting a pencil case for these because I hate the cardboard box the Black Widows came in and I like to keep all my pencils together.
  • The pigment lays down beautifully, requiring very little pressure though blending takes some work.
  • They sharpen very well, I use the T'GAAL multi-sharpener by Kutsuwa and I highly recommend it for every pencil that I have and it has not failed me yet.
If you are looking to try something new or get a "better" type of pencil at a great price for yourself or as a gift, I highly recommend these. At this point there is a terrible lack of grays and I am hoping that when the next volume comes out they will have a few more.

I hope you enjoyed today's review. If you have any questions about this product or a suggestion for a future review, drop me a line the comments section below and let me know. If you haven't already, please follow me on the right side bar or over on Facebook, so you don't miss any future reviews.

*disclaimer: I am not sent products for review nor am I paid to review them. I review the products that I personally use, that I find interesting and that I have paid for. I receive no reward, incentive or payment to create a review. All reviews are based on my experience and are my opinions only.

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