Review: Written Word Recycled Newspaper Colored Pencils

Well, hello!

Welcome to Inkwell & Whimsy. I suppose you’re wondering if maybe this is just another average every day stationary blog — and you’re probably on the right track. But it’s more like an every so often at night blog, trust me. (: And if you’ve ever seen my instagram, there’s very little about me that’s average. And that’s okay.

So night blogging? Stationery? Halfway decent photographs? Bring it on, right? Hopefully?

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Me too.
First thing’s first — the question about a certain lack of ink in said colored pencils may or may not have crossed your mind. There’s a method to my madness, trust me.

Today I am reviewing Written Word Pencil Co. Recyled Newspaper Colored Pencils. I found them on sale at the Staples near my work and I couldn’t resist. Not because I am a huge user of pencils in general, or some over the top advocate of eco friendly things (…I am, but that’s beside the point) but because colored pencils were my first medium for hand lettering.

And here’s the thing — Hand Lettering led to brush pens which led to water colors which led to pointed pen calligraphy which brought me right up to the rabbit hole called Fountain Pens. And you know what? I thought it fitting to bring you a new perspective on a fairly simple and commonplace tool in the first post I’ve ever written for this blog.

You know — how they say to build from the ground up.

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So. Here goes nothing!

Written Word Colored Pencils come in a cute little recycled card stock box which is strong enough to be reused. The pack I found was supposed to be 24 colors, but ended up around 22, because I swear there was at least one double, but I’ll get to that in a moment. There are exactly 24 pencils in the bunch.

Each one is made of — you guessed it — newspapers! They come with presharpened cores and are capped on the end with plastic. Printed on each pencil is “It’s Academic [Recycle Symbol] I’m Made From Recycled Newspaper” and color names are not visibly listed. Don’t worry — I made up my own.

The cores aren’t overly soft, nor do they write like nails. The pencils themselves are of normal pencil size, and they do not come with any sort of sharpener or eraser in the box. As I said, I found ’em at Staples — and they were listed at $9.99 + tax.

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As for the actual experience of coloring/writing with these, I am finding most of the colors rather pleasant. I definitely wouldn’t call these rich, per se, though some colors are more saturated than others. They aren’t completely smooth, either, and yet don’t have much in terms of point retention. They are like writing with a #2 pencil for a school test, which isn’t bad, but it’s definitely not your precious artist’s pencils you keep stashed away at home. It’s right in between.

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So if they’re mostly alright pencils, what would I use them for? Well … I used to sketch a lot of things in colored pencils. I was pretty much an art major through high school, as in I took every single class I possibly could fit into my schedule. I wanted to make. I wanted to paint. I wanted to be an art teacher at that point in my life. I sketched with less expensive and less soft pencils like these, to essentially build layers in different colors for a later project so I could go back and see the pieces. I would use these sorts of pencils to hand letter a birthday card — there’s just something so nostalgic about all the sketchy lines cores like these can create.

But they aren’t soft. They don’t lay down much color without a bit of a struggle. Some colors are exactly the *SAME* as other pencils — I swear I had 3 of the same blue. But they don’t specify 24 colors on the box — just says a 24 pack. I wouldn’t use many of these for coloring books because the colors don’t go down smooth with every one, as PrismaColor colored pencils would.

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In conclusion — I’d say these are average quality pencils, but have dear to my heart eco friendly tendencies. I love the construction of them and their packaging, I love that they have a good nostalgic quality when put down on paper. I don’t like the repeat colors and I don’t like that they aren’t as saturated as they could be.

And damn if I only knew what articles were written on the newspapers they’re made from…what stories each of these pencils tells…my goodness!

Overall, I’d recommend them for non professionals who want to sketch and practice different hand lettering styles, not really for the coloring book craze or for saturated and bright drawings.

They remind me of me sketching the map of Middle Earth in colored pencil, which later became a huuuuuge painted mural in my school. I love remembering how painstakingly I copied Tolkien’s hand over and over again until it felt almost natural. It began with pencils like these. And hell, maybe you’re here thinking your journey might start in colored pencils, too.

I hope so.

Stay tuned for more ink, more whimsy and more reviews, which I hope will be useful!

These pencils were purchased with my own money, and were honestly reviewed as part of my normal tendency to acquire a myriad writing utensils.