Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Review: Paul Smith + Caran d’Ache Artist Stripe Supracolor Set

Paul Smith + Caran d'Ache Artist Stripe Supracolor set

Before I begin this review, I’d like to make it clear that I don’t succumb to every set of novelty colored pencils associated with artists (like this Mondrian set, although given my interest in primary triads, I’m sure you can imagine my temptation), occupations (like this nursing set), or popular TV sit coms. Even if I were a nurse or a “Friends” fan, I know that novelty pencils are generally not worth using, so I manage to resist.

On the other hand, Caran d’Ache is my all-time favorite colored pencil maker, and Supracolor is a runner-up on my list of top colored pencils; how could I possibly resist a collaboration between the Swiss company and British fashion designer Paul Smith? True, I know nothing about his designs except that he seems to like stripes, but surely that’s reason enough to have a set of Paul Smith + Caran d'Ache Artist Stripe Supracolors.

The star of this set is the brightly colored, matte-finish tin, which wears the eponymous Artist Stripes. The lid bears the two companies’ logos.

The set includes eight Supracolor II Soft water-soluble pencils corresponding to the Artist Stripe colors. I have only one complaint, and it’s this: The eight pencils do not fit in the tin in a single layer – only seven fit. Therefore, the eighth must sit on top of the seven, and it tends to roll around, even with the foam above and below to protect them. I suppose Cd’A wanted the tin’s dimensions to align with the company’s other pencil tins for retail display purposes (for example, it’s the same width as the Bicolors tin), but the design lacks finesse. I think a single-layer tin would have looked better and more special for this designer who clearly cares about details. (But what do I know about fashion design or details; I still wear a coat I bought in the ‘90s.)
 
Only 7 of the 8 pencils fit in one layer.

The glossy, semi-hex-shaped barrel is identical to standard Supracolors. One facet has Paul Smith’s logo. The opposite facet has the standard Supracolor branding, paint brush icon indicating water solubility and “Swiss made.” Omitted are the 3888 numerical product designator and, unfortunately, color names and numbers.


No color names or numbers.

Although I was fairly confident that I recognized at least some of the hues from the standard Supracolor palette, I started wondering . . . would this collaboration have gone so far as to create a special edition palette of unique colors just for Paul Smith? I gleefully set aside a wet afternoon (in the middle of yet another “atmospheric river” weather event) for research.

Alas, the Paul Smith palette is not unique; I was able to find a Supracolor pencil to match each of the eight hues. Two, however, are from the Supracolor 30th anniversary limited edition “exclusive new colors” (indicated with “L” in my chart below) – Chromium Oxide Green (212) and Rose Portrait (582). (Actually, Rose Portrait struck me as the only one that didn’t match exactly, yet nothing else comes close, so I’m going to say it’s a disturbing standard deviation.) If you already own all Supracolor hues in Caran d’Ache’s contemporary palette, there’s no need to rush out to add these eight to your collection.


If, however, you’re like me and must have all things Caran d’Ache colored pencil, by all means, rush out and get a set. I ordered mine from Paul Smith’s US site, which offers free shipping on all orders. Amazingly, it came to me from the UK by International Priority Mail in a few days! You’re welcome.



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