Pencil Review: Midori MD Color Pencils

I love pencils but I love books even more. This will become clear when I tell you I had every intention of posting this review this morning but I was so wrapped up in the book that I’ve been reading that I completely lost track of time this morning and had to toss my book down and race to work without ever finishing this post.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, what book were you reading that was so engrossing that you forgot to write a blog post? It was The Cartographers by Peng Shepard. It’s a lovely story about maps and the people who archive, research and collect them. I won’t give away any of the details but if you like libraries, maps and a little bit of magic, you’ll like this book.

That said, let’s talk about some delicious pencils while you wait for your copy of The Cartographers to arrive.

I’m hard pressed to think of a single Midori MD product that I haven’t liked and this set of Midori MD Color Pencils ($12) is no exception. The set includes two each of an orange, cyan blue and medium grey colored pencil. When I initially acquired these, I thought the grey pencils were graphite pencils but they are not. I am happy about this because, as a lefty, graphite often smudges but most colored pencils do not.

The exterior paint, rounded hex shape and slightly rounded ends make these looks and feel like premium Japanese pencils. They sharpened easily to fairly long points with my Dahle 133 Hand Crank Pencil Sharpener (approx. $19).

First, I tested these on the Leuchtturm1917 120gsm paper notebook. The blue and orange colors showed well and felt creamy and smooth on this lightly textured paper. The grey felt a little light on the ivory paper but not much so as to be unusable. I am just unlikely to reach for the grey on ivory paper for anything other than sketching and adding shadow to other elements. The orange and blue hold their own and felt surprisingly lovely on this relatively smooth paper.

The color erased mostly for a pencil that does not appear to be listed as erasable but not completely. The color did not smudge at all. My efforts to do too much blending of the colors was not particularly successful.

I decided to see how the pencils worked on toothier Col-o-ring OVERSIZE paper. The pencils are a bit harder than other art pencils (Prismacolor Premiers, etc) so there was more white from the paper showing through since the pencils were not soft enough to sort of melt into the paper texture.

Alternately, this means the pencils are a bit firmer, maintain their point longer and can be sharpened to a longer, finer point for detail work.

Overall, if you are looking for some pencils to annotate notes, I really like these. Do I wish they offered more colors? Emphatically, YES. Am I happy with this teeny mini set? Yes.

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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thank you for your posts, as always. Thank you even more for mentioning the book. I read a book you mentioned in a post a year or two ago, and liked it. I’ll try to find this one at the library.

  2. Adding this because that is a popular book. I’m number 54 in the holds at the Mid Continent Public Library.

    1. I just loaned my copy to someone or I would have sent it over to you to read so you didn’t have to wait forever to read it!

  3. Just finished The Book of M by the same author, highly recommended too – but it’s about a mystery pandemic so some people might find it too topical (although it was first published in 2018). Love these pencils and always enjoy reading these review.

  4. I’m using a fountain pen / black ink in my journal, and these pencils to highlight.
    Love the colours (I don’t need more), and good quality overall.

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