This was not a video I initially intended on making. I personally use both polychromos (oil based) and luminance (wax based) together. I love them both. Seriously…LOVE. But you guys kept asking for it, so here we go!

These two pencils are both REALLY well made. You don’t have breaking leads, splitting wood cases or even warped cases with these pencils. I was really impressed with Caran d’Ache when I emailed them about the grittier feel of a few of the darker brown and black pencils. They said this was something they were made aware of and had fixed. The gentleman I spoke to explained why it happened and how concerned they are with having the best of the best. That is just awesome that a company actually cares what their customers have to say. Now I will also add about that gritty feel to some of the darker colors…it in NO way affected my finished results. It was something I could hear and feel more than see. But when I was done, the end result was exactly what I wanted, so it wasn’t something I felt needed to be replaced or anything.


The polychromos are oil based pencils. Their leads are harder than the wax based luminance. This means that polychromos are ideal for really fine detail. The luminance on the other hand being wax based are a softer lead. I found them to be ideal for getting really smooth blending. That said, the polychromos do blend quite well, and I had no real issue getting fine detail with luminance. You can choose to work in just one and still create stunning works of art. I would however recommend a white luminance pencil if you’re only going to be working with polychromos. The polychromos are a more translucent pencil. Their white and cream shades do not show up at all if layered on top of a darker shade. The luminance performs quite nicely for layering this way. Both pencils can be used together, which is how I personally choose to work.





The next thing that I think is worth talking about here is the lightfastness of each of these pencils. They are both pretty impressive when it comes to their lightfast qualities, however they use different measures of scale so that makes it harder to compare. I made a chart to help us more easily understand how they line up.  Luminance uses the ASTM D6901 scale. Only pencils ranked a I or a II on this scale can be labeled as being lightfast. Lumiance pencils are the only ones whose entire set falls within these guidelines. This means your luminance drawings are not going to fade when exposed to light anytime in the near future.


Polychromos uses the Blue Wool Scale.  This scale ranks pencils between 1-8, with 8 being the highest.  A 8/7 is equivalent to a I on the ASTM scale, while a 6 is equal to a II. Anything else isn’t considered fully lightfast.  Polychromos use a star system on their pencils which makes it a bit harder to compare. A 3* pencil is equivalent to a 7/8 on the blue wool scale, putting it at around a I on the ASTM scale. A 2* is equivilent to a 5/6 on the ASTM scale putting it between a II/III on the ASTM scale, and a 1* is dropping it pretty low on the lightfast scale. Luckily only two pencils in my entire polychromos set are ranked a one star, so besides those two, I’m comfortable using the rest of the set without worrying about fading.

Lets go ahead and take a look at my full review of these awesome pencils 😀