I bought a really nice set of oil pencils. 120 pencils with all the right colors including a phenomenal range of greens, blues, reds, browns from very dark to very light. I got them a few days ago, but didn’t open them until today. I needed a holder for them. I can’t deal with those flat plastic trays. The Duke jumps up, knocks one of those flat trays over and all the pencils go flying. On the floor, under the sofa, in the sofa. A few never appear. They are hiding.
These pencils were remarkably inexpensive, so I figured there had to be a catch. I knew they were made in China because they said so and half the ad for them was in Chinese. No matter. China had an art industry – a huge one – when many of our ancestors didn’t know how to light a fire.
I opened the case today and put all the pencils in a case. The pencils were exactly as advertised. Each pencil was numbered which should make blending colors easy.
There’s just one minor catch.
The colors written on the pencils are in Chinese. Only. There a number plus a block of Chinese characters. So it’s eyeballs all the way. It’s hard to complain since the set was not expensive and to the extent I’ve used them — a little bit — they seem pretty good. When I was looking up reviews on this set, someone asked if the name of the color was on the pencil and the answer was “Yes!”
What they failed to mention was that the names are on the pencils, but only in Chinese. The person should have asked if they were on the pencils in English. As for me? I figured there had to be a reason why a set of oil pencils of this size would be this inexpensive. If the only problem I have is the lack of English names for the colors, I’ll be fine. I just need to keep a piece of paper handy to make sure the color I’m using is the color I think I’m using. Even when they write the color name on the pencil, it doesn’t necessarily tell you much. I’ve found pencils titled “dark green” they were really some kind of dark blue. A lot of “color names” assume the we know what color jade the green pencil is supposed to be, except that jade cames in many colors including yellow and dark red brown. The names aren’t necessarily accurate.
I knew there had to be a catch. It turned out to be — in my opinion, anyway — a small one. Maybe I’ll learn to read Chinese. Is it Mandarin or Cantonese?