So to continue with Marcos, today lets look at the crazy popular and affordable Marco Raffine pencils.
All reviews, including Marco Renoir can be found HERE.
Marco is a Chinese brand and other than that, not much is known about the company as far as I can tell. You can easily find both Raffine and Renoir varieties online, Ebay for instance. These pencils are oil based.
Marco Raffine comes in a cardboard box in sets of 24, 36, 48 and 72. The cardboard box has three layers of pencils and at least for me, the box itself is unusable as a way to keep and use the pencils so I suggest you also get a pencil wrap or something of that nature.
As you can see, mine are in a wrap. You can get this wrap from Ebay. Marco Raffines have a hexagonal barrel (whereas Renoir has round) with a color coded capped end.
The pencil has the name of the product and company, plus a color code. These pencils do not have names, just codes.
- Very very affordable, around 22-25$ for a set of 72
- Very easy to find online
- Surprisingly good quality for the price
- Hexagonal barrel is good for angled tables particularly, they don’t roll off the table
- Blend reasonably well
- Layer also reasonably well
- The lead looks to be around 3mm diameter, maybe a tad more
- Will fit in all standard sharpeners
- A crapton of warm shades to choose from
- Erase well
- Has a great shadow color, 567 plus some other interesting pretty unique colors
- Barrel quality is not the greatest, to be expected for the price
- No tin, you might need to spend some extra for storage
- A bit tricky to work with at times
- Break quite easily (though not as easily as Renoir)
- I’d prefer names for colors as well
- The reds are a little too similar, also some of the greens
- Not available open stock
I’ll compare these to their brothers, Marco Renoir pencils.
Raffine is definitely of a harder variety then Renoir. While that makes them a tad less breakable, they’re also not quite as nice to handle as Renoirs are in terms of blending.
Renoirs are almost double the price as Raffines but come with a tin instead of the cardboard box Raffines are housed in.
Both erase well and layer just fine. Neither is available open stock. Raffines have a hexagonal barrel, Renoirs round but both casings are a bit shoddy, prone to splintering here and there.
Colors aren’t the same for both but there are similar shades. Renoir feels a little brighter but they’re both stronger in the warm range. Renoir has more greys and doesn’t have the cool shadow tone 567 that I grew to love. 568 is also a favorite which is not represented in the Renoir range.
Renoir is certainly more breakable but also noticeably easier to use so if you can spare the 40$, I’d suggest getting those if choosing between the two sets. But the Raffines are not bad by any means, I’d say they’re easily on par with Staedtler Ergosoft pencils but you get a ton more pencils for around the same price. So if your budget can afford Raffines and not Renoir, don’t worry, Raffines are really surprisingly good, better then most student grade pencils you could get for this money. So I do recommend these.
There is no official color chart as far as I could find so you’ll have to Google for more images, here are my crooked swatches:
Example image done with Marco Raffines:
Picture: Sommarnatt by Hanna Karlzon
I do recommend these with the caveat that if you can, try the Renoir as well, you will probably like those even better. But if you can’t, these will get you places for sure, no worries.
Disclaimer: all of the above opinions are mine, you might have a different experience with these pencils
In other news, tomorrow a new color with me will be up so stay tuned! We’ll color another girl this time 🙂