Many people will warmy remember Laurentian pencil crayons from their childhood. I know that I used them throughout grade school to colour all of my pictures. I rediscovered them earlier in the year and wanted to write this post because they’re a great tool for illustrators, artists and designers.
These pencils were discontinued a number of years ago, but you can find them if you search the second hand shops like Value Village or Salvation Army. My sister scooped up this box of 36 for about $4 dollars and that included extra items like erasers, fabric markers and pencil lead refills.
Laurentians were originally made in Canada by the Venus Pencil Company (located on the Queensway in Etobicoke ), but manufacturing shifted to America when the company was acquired. Apart from the cosmetic changes that were made to the exterior, some colour formulas were altered and no longer match the originals.
The best qualities of these pencils are the rich pigments and smoothness when you lay down the colours. I find them perfect. Keep in mind that the consistency will be different between pencil crayon brands...some are soft and smudge, while others are very firm.
Another plus, is that they were made to the same thickness of ordinary pencils and will therefore fit a standard pencil extender.
The only possible concern with these pencils is longevity, since there's no documentation to show which colours will fade or shift over time. I use Laurentians for adding colour to my sketchbook drawings, so I’m not worried, but it’s something to consider if you plan to do a piece of art that’s intended for display.
To test which colour are susceptible to fading, create some solid colour patches on a sheet of paper and cover half of them with opaque paper while keeping the other half exposed. Place the paper next to a window that receives continuous daylight for a few months, then remove the covering to see which pigments have been affected by the UV light.
If you're lucky enough to have a box of Laurentians gathering dust on a shelf, I suggest you pass them down to the aspiring artist(s) in your family. They are a classic pencil capable of beautiful results, and hopefully one day Laurentians will be available on store shelves again.