Review by Tina Koyama
When I first saw photos of Uni Pericia colored pencils and their prices, my immediate reaction was skepticism (OK, lust – then skepticism). $74.50 for a set of 24 pencils? Certainly, it’s not the only professional-quality, colored pencil that costs $3 each or more (Caran d’Ache’s premium lines come to mind). But for the Pericia, how much of that cost is for the fancy, faux-leather case? Even pricey Caran d’Ache pencils come in a cardboard box, and most other colored pencils come in metal tins. Could the Pericia pencils themselves be worth the price? Of course, I had to know.
First, let’s get the bling out of the way, shall we? Yes, that fancy box. It came protected in a translucent plastic sleeve with the color names printed on the bottom.
As described, the case itself is made of a textured faux leather that feels nice and sturdy. A tab on the case slips into a loop on the lid like a belt to keep the case from falling open. The pencils are well protected, and the case looks like it should hold strands of pearls.
Inside, the pencils sit in a velveteen-lined tray of snug grooves that will not let the pencils fall out inadvertently. The lid can be folded back like an easel, and the case can then stand upright for easy access to the pencils. I admit, the box is much better than most.
However, I’m not one to be seduced by a fancy box (especially since I always store and use pencils in a cup). Let’s get to the important stuff: the pencils. Uh-oh, more bling – the pencils themselves are very pretty with a round, brown, matte-finish barrel. (I’m partial to both round pencils and a matte finish, so I love the way these feel.) The end cap indicates the color, and a gold trim ring separates the end cap from the barrel. The Uni logo and Pericia name are stamped in gold foil. On the other side the color number and name (I always appreciate seeing the latter) are stamped in white. The standard-size barrel sharpens well in any sharpener.
JetPens describes Pericia as “soft oil-based colored pencils” and “featuring a special wax core.” The only other oil-based colored pencils I own are Faber-Castell Polychromos and Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor (I may have others, but not all manufacturers identify the binder material clearly), and both are relatively hard. Those led me to expect Pericia to be similarly hard.
In fact, Pericia has a core that is among the softest I have used. It’s softer than Caran d’Ache Luminance, which, up to now, was the softest I was accustomed to using. I know that Prismacolors are known for their softness, and although I don’t use them much due to breakage issues, I have some on hand. I compared them, and I’d say Pericia is easily as soft as Prismacolor.
The hues are rich and saturated, and they blend beautifully. My only quibble is that in my set of 24, there was only one yellow; usually an assortment this size includes both a cool and a warm yellow.
The sample swatches and sketch above were made in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook. On the Epsilon’s smooth surface, I expected the soft cores to have no problem covering the paper, and I was right.
Lately I’ve also been experimenting with colored pencil drawings in my black Stillman & Birn Nova sketchbook, so I made sample swatches and a sketch in it, too. Nova paper has some tooth, which takes a little more time to cover with the soft Pericia cores, but their buttery smoothness makes the additional time a pleasure.
Fancy box notwithstanding, Pericia pencils are scrumptious! They are among the best pencils I own. My only complaint is that I can’t find them anywhere open stock, so it means that once a pencil is gone, it can’t be replaced without buying another set. (I’m hoping JetPens eventually offers them individually.) Since they are remarkably soft, they will not hold a point long, so you’ll need a harder pencil for fine detail work. But for anything else, they are a joy to use.
Tina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.
DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.
6 comments / Add your comment below
Hi! I really like your color pencil reviews. The the info and comparisons are great. And I like seeing the differences of white and black paper. Have you tried the tombow irojiten pencils yet?i have found them to preform on par with prismacolor and I like having them for filling the pastel and neon color gap with my prismas. Also I finally found a place that sells them in open stock, $2.39 each at wetpaintart.com and was wondering. Have you heard of them. Are they reputable and reliable?
Glad you found the review useful! I have a set of Irojiten pencils, and I love the packaging (those cool boxes!), but I have never really warmed to them in use. I find them to be on the harder side, so they are useful for details, and I agree that the color range includes colors that are not typically found in most sets. I’ve heard of wetpaintart.com but have never shopped there. Blick.com also carries Irojiten open stock at the same price.
Cool, thanks for the tip about Blick.com I have heard of them and know they are reputable. I had been leary of using my irojiten pencils to often, afraid once a color was used up that i would have to buy a whole new set to replace it. Knowing I can get open stock is awesome! Thank you for answering my question.
Hi. Are these pencils part of the Mitsubishi Uni set of 100 or are they an entirely different set of pencils? If different, how do they compare to the Uni pencils? Thanks!
Pretty certain that the Pericia are a completely different set of pencils. Consider them the Uni “Premier” pencils. Its our understanding that they are a step up from the standard Uni Colored pencils though no one on the staff have been lucky enough to try both sets.
Hi, I had concluded that these are discontinued in name and packaging but have been rebranded as the Uni Posca colored pencils by Mitsubishi Pencil Company. I LOVE the Uni Posca, perhaps more than ANY other pencil on the market. I finally found a set of the 36 color Pericia by Mitsubishi Pencil Company at a reasonable price and purchased. They arrived today and the very first thing I did was to get out my Uni Poscas to lay on top of these in the case. The colors on the end caps are identical as are the leads. I did a swatch test side by side and they are without any question the identical pencil only with a new name, new color name, new color number and different case. As the UniPosca are less expensive I would recommend getting those instead of tracking down the ever increasingly costly Pericias. Now they are discontinued the price has almost doubled since I first looked at the brand 6 months ago! Effectively you are paying about $50+ for the leather like case. That being said they are an absolutely beautiful pencil and if money is no object the leather case is one of the few I would actually leave the pencils in when using. The typical tins drive me nuts and I always remove my pencils. That being said the Uni Posca case is really neat. It is 3 layers of 9 pencils that stack together and separate so you could arrange it that only one small section is out at a time containing the pencils you need for your project. I do have photos of both sets and of the swatch page I just completed. If you would like to see it let me know. I am happy to share. Lastly as far as I know at the current time the only place to purchase the UniPosca line either in a set of 36 or in open stock is at Dick Blicks (web store has not sure about physical stores.). They also just started carrying the smaller pastel line of UniPoscas & mine are on order!