[REVIEW] Pilot Color Eno (plus behind the scenes of my artwork process!!!)

I think all of you know that I draw. I mean, I do have a bunch of queued posts based on my back catalog of images. You may also know that I generally do my sketching on paper, then scan the pictures to the computer. What you may not know is that I use different colour leads to differentiate between parts.

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I started to do that sometime last year in attempt to improve my artwork, to create a difference between all the lines. Originally I only had red lead, since that’s all I could find, but I eventually found blue. I think I had some inspiration from manga artist (I think it might have been Nao Yazawa, the creator of Wedding Peach, who I’m friends with on Facebook) to start using different coloured lead.

After using red & blue lead for over a year, I decided that I really wanted more colours, to REALLY point out the differences between everything. You’d be surprised at how hard it is to find mechanical pencils with coloured lead! (Even my red & blue ones weren’t originally inside mechanical pencils – I had to put the lead into pencils that had regular lead.) I searched Amazon.com first, I checked in stores, and eventually I found my way to a website called JetPens. I was EXTREMELY happy to find that they had a large assortment of pencils, including ones with various coloured leads! Of course, I had to wait a while before I actually bought the pens.

JetPens is a really simple website, really easy to order from, and if you order $25 or more, you get free shipping. When I finally bought my pencils, I made sure to not only get the pencils, but the replacement leads as well (four for each colour), so it added up pretty quickly. They shipped near the beginning of this week and were suppose to arrive tomorrow, but happily arrived today (which is fantastic because, geez, I hated today – especially since yesterday was pretty dang fantastic in comparison).

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I ordered four colours: orange, pink, purple, and green. They had a few other colours too, but I didn’t get them. I already own red and blue lead, so I didn’t need them, and I missed the yellow ones. Okay, yeah, the orange looks yellow by the casing, but no, it’s orange. I checked.

The size of the lead is a bit bigger than I like (I prefer 0.5 when drawing, but the lead is 0.7, which is what I used to draw in and I still doodle in), but that’s alright – it does its job of being different colours!

Each colour is extremely vibrant. I was kind of surprised – I was more expecting the colours to be “lighter” and to get a darker colour, I would have to press down harder. The only one that hit that expectation was the green one, which is a really bright, pastel green.

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They’re pretty smooth to draw with too, unlike my regular blue & red lead pencils which break every few seconds even if I’m lightly using them. I did break the pink lead a few times in my first drawing experiment, but that was about it.

I decided to just experiment with the pencils. I’m still not really sure HOW I will be dividing up everything, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon. Definitely nicer to work in multiple colours.

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I started with my basic outline in red and added a few details in blue.

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Then I added all the details in different colours – orange and pink definitely conflict with the red (which is kind of reddish-orangeish-pink in the first place). I tried to slim down the body (she’s suppose to be 13…oops) with the pink and orange, but they both failed, so I slimmed it down with the purple. I also used purple to to the details and I used pink to outline things I wanted to fix.

While I’m not particularly a huge FAN of how the picture came out or how I used the colour placement, but it definitely helped me get a better sense of the pencils in a few aspects:

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– The pencils can take my unfortunate habit of pressing down hard MUCH better than my red and blue ones, probably for multiple reasons include it being 0.7 size lead and the pencils actually being made for the lead!

– They definitely feel smoother too in comparison to the blue and red pencils. The red & blue pencils draw more like they’re on a rough, slightly conflicting surface. The Color Eno pencils run across my printer paper like they’re made of wax being spread across the surface. They feel a lot nicer to draw with in comparison.

– The green (as I mentioned before) draws very lightly in comparison to the other three. However, the orange and the pink CONFLICT with not only each other, but the red pencil as well (so I don’t recommend using them together unless it’s on something small and specific – I’ll go over it in another example).

– The grip for the pencils are also really great too. It helps that there is a rubber pencil grip, which makes it comfortable to hold and less like I’m pushing the pencil into my skin to hold it.

My second drawing experiment (primarily because I didn’t like the first drawing) let me do the order just a bit differently.

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Okay, so I started with my basic outline. I eventually added details. Initially I wasn’t going to use pink at all, but then I decided it would be okay for the headphones.

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I think it works well in this case. With such a big detail, it needs to stick out, but doesn’t need to stick out obnoxiously. The colours don’t conflict with each other much here either when it’s drawn that large.

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The final image provided a good experiment, as well as comparison. The purple is vibrant enough to provide me with solid details, which is just what I wanted – something to help me with solid details. I used blue for that before, but I want to start limiting the blue to detailing the red lines instead (like giving the characters actual fingers, adding facial features, adding a more defined collar bone, etc.). The two compliment each other well, without the colours conflicting.

The green is honestly still too light for my liking. I need to see what would happen if I pressed down harder while drawing.

I did like that it didn’t take me pressing down TOO hard to get the pink darker for the headphone cord. I don’t recall the lead breaking, which is always a good thing to me.

The orange was still too conflicting for my taste, so I drew an abstract version of the background I would want to give this picture. No, those are not people or ghosts.

I like that the array of colours contrast with each other, ignoring my disappointment in the light green, wishing it was just a bit darker.

While I didn’t try it on either picture, I did experiment on a scrap piece of paper to see how well they erased. Unfortunately, just like coloured pencils in general, they fail to erase well. Using the eraser is a better idea if you’re trying to make a lighter colour. The purple turned a bit more lilac when I tried erasing it.

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I wish someone would figure out how to erase coloured pencil properly.

Overall, I would DEFINITELY recommend the Color Eno pencils to the part-traditional-mostly-digital artists like myself to help with their artwork, to keep the lines separated. The pencils are wonderfully made with a comfortable grip that forms well to the hands and fingers. They run across the paper with wax-like smoothness.

Now to know if they disappear when I change them to black & white and change the levels in Photoshop…

Purchase:

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Pink Pencil/Matching Lead
Orange Pencil/Matching Lead
Green Pencil/Matching Lead
Purple Pencil/Matching Lead