Since 1858, Papeteries de Clairefontaine has been producing quality paper and paper products in France, and they have become well known for their fountain pen friendly paper in the pen community. Recently, they introduced a line of coloring books and colored pencils, with the following coloring book themes: Mandalas, Designs, Tattoos, Nature, or Birds. Frank at Federalist Pens and Paper graciously sent me over a coloring book and a pack of the pencils to try out and review.
The Coloring Book (Mandalas):
I have been a fan of coloring books since I was a child and was excited to try out a new one made with high quality paper. The Carnet De Coloriage coloring book is 7 7/8 in x 7 7/8 in and is comprised of 18 glued-in pages of 120g Clairefontaine paper with coloring template images on both sides giving 36 designs to color. The designs range from simple to elaborate with multiple shapes and sizes to color, which makes this coloring book ideal for any skill level. I tested a few pages with their colored pencils and various inks and nibs with my fountain pens. The paper has a wonderful smooth texture, nicely shows off the gradients of colored pencils and inks, and is thick enough that it does not show bleed through or ghosting unless you lay down a lot of ink. My only complaint is that the pages are not perforated so you cannot tear them out if you want to. This coloring book provided a great way to de-stress after a few tough days at work.
The pencils come in a folded cardboard box with a peacock on the front, the number “12,” for the number of pencils, “Colored Pencils,” “Clairefontaine,” and “Made in France”. These natural wood-colored pencils arrive sharpened with no writing on them. This is an interesting finish; however, the only way to tell the color of each pencil is to look at the lead tip or the bottom of the pencil. The colors included are Red, Red Orange, Orange, Light Orange, Yellow, Light Green, Green, Light Blue, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black. The pencils are lightweight so they are great for long coloring sessions. They sharpen easily and the lead is strong enough to allow a wide range of shading depending on the amount of pressure you use. The lead is smooth and offers a small amount of feedback. Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the pencils and the colors offered. I lent the pencils to my wife, who is an artist, to try out as well. She enjoyed the feel of the pencils, but agreed that the natural finish was a bit of an inconvenience when trying to identify colors.
The coloring book is impressive. I like that you can use fountain pens in addition to the colored pencils and there is minimal concern about bleed through or feathering. 36 interesting designs will give you hours of drawing time and tons of options for creativity. The pencils overall are nice but the lack of color labeling on the pencils was a drawback. The coloring books retail for $9.99 and the pencils are $12 but you can get both as a kit from Federalist Pens and Paper for $20.00.
You can find the coloring book at http://www.federalistpensonline.com/NEW-Clairefontaine-Coloring-Books_p_187.html and contact Federalist Pens and Paper at http://www.federalistpensonline.com/ for the package deal. Thank you Frank for sending these over, they have been fun to play with and helped my wife and I relax with the newborn.