LYRAManufactured in Germany, Lyra REMBRANDT POLYCOLOR are good pencils and good value - as they tend to slip in to the lower cost bracket of Coloured Pencils. The Company was taken over by Fila, the Italian owner of the US based Dixon Ticonderoga in 2008 and the pencils are now distributed by the Dixon (Europe) Ltd company based at Peterborough.Prices are a little higher on those seen in past years - mainly due to the strength of the Euro against the £ , which affects all continental European manufacturers.If you can’t find them locally or over the Internet, you can get in touch with Dixon’s at 01733 371237 The Pencils are worth buying. Soft to the feel and oil based, you should find them for around two thirds the cost of other brands. The full set of 72 pencils used to sell for around £90 but I have seen them (fleetingly) as low as £70 for a full set. Lightfastness is good across the colour range and the star ratings are shown with the colour reference numbers on the inside lid of the boxes. Care should be observed using a pencil with one star rating as these are the least lightfast.For purchasing, Look at GreatArt.co.uk The main distribution for Great Art is based in Germany and often features European lines not easily found in the UK. Search on that site for Lyra Rembrandt PolycolorGreat Art currently have them listed as both boxed sets and individual pencils as also do the Jacksons Art Supplies site and the UK based internet supplier www.pencils4artists.co.ukPolycolor are a favourite with Parchment craft addicts as the oil based colour takes well to the special parchment surface. I am also told that Lyra Polycolor work well on drafting film - not something I have tried, myself.There is also an aquarelle of similar good value and I hadn’t seen these about for a while, but Great Art quoted them as recently as June 2009. I see ( Sept 2017 ) that www.pencil4artists.co.uk list both Polycolor and the aquarelle in singles for around £1.45 eachIn July 2017, Jacksons Art in the UK were selling the Aquarelle at around £90 for the set of 72 so the sets are still about.The Lyra product most frequently found, is a blender pencil called the ‘Splender Blender’This is made with a clear transparent core and can be sharpened like a normal pencil. When worked over a layer of coloured pencil, it picks up and moves the lower layer and blends edges. Very useful in the finishing stages of a picture, though I have found that if you use it too early in the painting process, it is difficult to add further colour layers on top of the soft blender material. I guess that it is made from an oil based ingredient, as the Lyra Rembrandt pencils are oil based. See my comment on Blenders in general and the Lyra one in particular on this site at working the surfaceThe blender pencil was listed for sale (Jun 09) at www.1buy1pencils.co.ukLyra also market various accessories which include a useful ‘click’ eraser which has a long thin erasing medium held by a plastic barrel which can be ‘clicked’ to extend the eraser ‘lead’. This is marketed in Europe. A useful item if you are near a European mainland stationer whilst on holiday.I see this was on sale in the UK (2012) and branded as Pentel ( but is the same thing as the Lyra one I bought in Germany .) If you are looking and can’t find, it was on sale at Pencils4Artists at £1.99The updated Lyra website gives overall product information for UK users and is at www.lyra.de
PLEASE NOTE1. Comments made here are personal and are not sponsored by the manufacturers2. The order of listing is entirely down to the date the initial reviews were done, and more recently reviewed brands appear towards the end of the list.3. The guide is designed to aid those who are new to the medium of coloured pencil, helping them select a brand and product that may be most suitable for their needs.4. Just because one brand suits one person does not automatically make it ideal for everyone.