Marco Raffine Fine Art Oil-Based Coloured Pencils – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Before I start reviewing let me first state that I am NOT an artist, I have no art training, not even an art GCSE and only started using coloured pencils again 2 months ago. This review is from a beginner’s perspective  and the colouring I’ve done has been based on learning techniques from YouTube tutorials which are linked below. These pencils are from my personal collection and I’ll tell you right now, I LOVE THEM! I bought a pack of Crayolas and despite others managing to get truly beautiful effects from them I managed a vague bit of shading, no blending and just got blisters because I found them so hard and almost impossible to get a deep and vibrant colour from. I scoured the internet and found all of the artist grade pencils were over a £1 a pencil which I couldn’t possibly afford at the time and I thought all was lost and that I’d never be able to use pencils unless I won the lottery. However, I persevered and happened upon the Marco pencils on Ebay and was shocked at how cheap they were for oil-based pencils which sounded like the type I needed. I looked for reviews and found a measly two on Amazon both of which said they were amazing so I went for it and began my long wait for them to arrive from China.

So after nearly 3 weeks they arrived and I’m so glad I found them and ordered the largest set they make. They come in sets of 24,36,48 and 72 and personally I’d recommend just going all out and getting the set of 72 because they’re under £20 including postage and that’s just a bargain! The pencils are soft, not scratchy and lay down colour easily and smoothly on all of the paper types I’ve come across so far in my colouring books. They are great for layering, shading, blending or just giving smooth, vibrant colour without hurting your hand from pressing too hard. Each pencil gives a huge range of hues from the palest hint of colour to a bright, bold, dense pigment depending on layering and pressure. The colours in the box of 72 cover a great range with a lot of emphasis on greens (11 in total) and browns (6 in total) which is ideal for all of those nature colouring books like Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, Animal Kingdom and Tropical Wonderland. There are a few too many greys for my liking (7 seems excessive) and not enough shades of pink (6 – not including the 3 flesh tones but these 6 include some purple colours). However, all in all, it’s a great range that is really versatile because of the ability to shade and blend thus creating more effects and colours and making the possibilities pretty much endless!

The box they come in isn’t a great storage solution because as soon as you’ve sharpened the pencils a few times they become too short to dig out with your fingers and if you tip the box up you either get stabbed with a whole load of sharpened pencils or accidentally tip half of the contents on the floor (not advised!). I would definitely suggest getting jars, a pencil case or a pencil carrier to store them in so that you can avoid the above! Since writing this review originally, I have been sent a set to review which come with a pencil roll to store the pencils in and this is a much better solution (more info at the bottom of the review). I would also strongly advise creating a colour chart with the number of each pencil and a shaded section from light to dark so that you have it to hand (see mine below). As with many coloured pencils, the end of the pencil is coloured but this isn’t always an accurate portrayal of the colour you’ll lay down and this often leads to some very strange colour combinations due to “accidents”. It’s also difficult to replicate colours without this if you’re half way through a project and don’t remember what colour you used. Making and colouring the chart can be time consuming but it’s absolutely worth it and will save you getting frustrated in the future or constantly having to scribble on scrap paper and wasting your precious leads!

As for using these pencils, they’re a dream! I’ve had various friends try them out, all of whom are novices like me and all of them have loved them and commented on how smooth they are to use and how vibrant the colours are and just how different they are from the pencils we all used at school. They sharpen beautifully without the need for an expensive sharpener (I currently use a Lego one from a kids’ stationery set) and have had very few problems with breakages or not being able to get a proper point. They last ages and honestly I’ve had absolutely no problems with them! They behave in exactly the same way as premium oil-based pencils so you can use blender pencils, burnishers, baby oil and other products to give you a more professional look but all of the images below have been completed with just the Marco pencils, without any other products.

I would highly recommend these pencils to anybody. Those of you who are just starting out and learning to use pencils, these are great because they’re soft, versatile, behave in much the same way as premium products but because of the miniscule price tag you won’t be afraid of getting stuck in and using them and learning how they work together and what effects you can get. For those of you with more experience, these are great for a travel set and for creating beautiful images with and the range of colours is ideal for almost any project if you get the largest set of 72 pencils. I am now lucky enough to own a set of 120 Faber Castell Polychromos pencils which I love but I have to say I like the Marco Raffines almost as much. The range of colours of Polychromos is much better, obviously because there are almost double the number of shades, but the Marco pencils really are up there for ease of use and ability to create amazing effects and I just can’t get over the price! If you’ve been umming and ahhing over whether you should click buy then my recommendation would be DO IT! They’re super cheap and as yet, I’ve not found anyone that regretted buying them or didn’t like them. Happy Colouring!

Pencil Wrap/Roll – The wrap contains 72 elasticated slots for the pencils (and these are a perfect fit, not too tight or too loose) as well as 2 extra pencil slots, perfect for blending or burnishing pencils, and 4 larger elasticated slots that could be used to store erasers or pencil sharpeners. There is a leather flap at the top and bottom to cover up the leads of the pencils to prevent them being broken when transported and the case folds over to half the size and can then be rolled up and safely kept closed with a leather strip and a secure popper (press stud). The pencils aren’t pre-added to the wrap so it’s easy to put them into it in whatever order suits you, I went for number order as that’s easiest to match up with my colour chart.

If you’d like to purchase these pencils then you can purchase sets through the links below.
72 set including a pencil roll – GHB Colouring Pencils 72-Colour Assorted Colours with Pencil Pouch
72 set in cardboard box:
NIUTOP 72 Colored Pencils, Marco Raffine fine art Drawing Pencils For Artist Sketch / Adult Coloring Books/Secret Garden Coloring Book (72 Colored Pencils)
Erofa 72 Color Art Colour Pencils Drawing Pencils for Secret Garden Pencil Pouch colored pencil Artist Sketch Set
SUMNACON Set of 72 Colour Pencils Colour Marco Fine Art Drawing Oil Base Non-toxic Pencils Set For Artist Sketch
Wiysond Set of 72 Color Pencil Colour Marco Fine Art Drawing Oil Base Non-toxic Pencils Set For Artist Sketch

These are the links to the videos I used to learn to blend and shade. Happy Colouring!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufgdg8bwexI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_FcWFIXusA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuyWteo65bk
https://vimeo.com/134639014

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19 comments

  1. I just ordered some of these from Ebay coming by way of China.. so they are somewhere in travels right now but because of all the wonderful things I’ve heard about them I decided it was OK to wait a bit. Can’t wait to play with them. Polychromos aren’t in my budget right now. Thanks for this.

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    1. Ah how exciting! You won’t be disappointed, these are my go-to pencils and I just love them! I’m using them right now in fact, ready for another review. I really hope you’ll enjoy them and that you don’t have to wait too long for them. Happy Colouring! xxx

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  2. Lucy, thank you again for the email you sent. It was so very helpful. I’m still trying to decide which “easier” books I’d like to get…….ahhh, so many choices, yay! I also decided to try these Marco Raffine pencils, however, the above links were to Amazon UK, and the sellers won’t ship to the US. I think I’ve noticed this with other links I’ve tried, but honestly can’t remember (having somewhat of a bad day). Is there an affiliate link to Amazon.com (US) that I can use? I would really like to support you and your site. (I’m sorry if this answer should be obvious. I’m definitely not technically inclined.)

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    1. Tammy, that’s so kind of you and I’m really glad you found the links helpful and I’m sure you’ll love the pencils, I do! Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to sort out a US Affiliate link because I was born in the US but don’t have a tax number and that’s a requirement to sign up for it so I’ve not been able to. I am now signed up with Book Depository who ship worldwide so by all means go through those links to order books if that’s the cheapest place for the books you’re ordering but sadly they don’t sell pens or pencils. With both sites, once you’ve gone through my link, as long as you don’t close the site and then open it normally, the purchases you make within 24 hours of clicking on it will help support my site. If anything changes for Amazon then I will post the US links like the UK ones so it’ll be obvious which is which and that they’re affiliate links. Thank you so much for your continued support, it truly means the world! As for the pencils, they’re definitely available worldwide on Amazon and Ebay so I hope you find some for a decent price soon. Just shout if you need any help with anything! xxx

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  3. Thank you for the review!
    I have a question: Is there a quality difference between Marco Raffine and Marco Renoir color pencils except the wider range of Raffine’s?
    Thank you

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    1. Hi Jasmina, I’m afraid I don’t know anything about the Renoirs as I don’t have them but I think they may be the watercolour pencils becuase I know Marco do a range of them but I’m unsure of what they’re called. I hope that helps a little!

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      1. It looks like they do Renoir both water-based and oil-based. Also it looks like Renoir does maximum 48 colors and it aims to be a bit more luxurious than Raffine as to their look and packaging, you can also have them personalized as a gift.

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  4. Thank you for this fantastic review! I have ordered my 72 Marco RAFFINE Fine Art colored pencils prior to reading this but it just made me be looking forward to them even more 🙂 Just like you I ordered them on eBay (together with my first coloring books) and I am very happy to know that I will not regret!

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  5. Lovely review. I have a question. I have the 120 set of polychromos and was considering bulking them out with some cheaper pencils. Also my thought behind this is that the colours seem to differ between brands. Would you agree that the colours will add more of a variety in shades or is this a pointless purchase due to already owning polys.

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    1. Thank you! There are some different colours between the two. They’re not all different but there are some differences and the price of the Marcos means that it’s definitely worth getting them as well. They do behave quite differently, the Marcos are softer and not as dry as the Polys but they blend very easily and they work well together. I hope that helps! 🙂

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  6. I just recieved a set of 72 Marco pencils that I found on ebay from a U.S seller. OMG, Im SOOOO glad I bought them! I didnt want to spend $80 plus for a good set of pencils. I paid $24 and free shipping. They color so smooth and I love how they layer. Havent gotten much fancier than that yet, but I cant wait to try other techniques. Anyone debating on these pencils, get them!! You wont be disappointed

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  7. I love these pencils and have purchased both the roll and the set of 48. Unfortunately although having duplicate colours my continual use of one specific colour, i’m now finding it difficult to buy a replacement pencil. Olive green (7100 548). Any ideas?

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    1. As far as I’m aware they’re not available anywhere as single pencils so I think you’ll have to keep buying new sets, is the olive green the same as a colour in any open stock pencils? Polychromos has a great range of colours and they’re sold open stock and work well with Marco Raffines as they’re both oil-based so you may be able to substitute for one of those. I’ve just looked at my colour charts (admittedly it’s night time so it’s not the best comparison) but the Permanent Olive Green number 167 in the Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils is pretty similar but a little darker and would probably do what you’re wanting and would be much cheaper than constantly buying new ones. Also, check if the olive green is in any of the smaller sets so you can buy the cheapest possible set each time to replace it. Good luck and let me know how you get on!

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  8. Greetings from across the pond! I’m new to adult coloring books & the coloring media that goes along with it. Luckily, I ordered, via Amazon.com, the Marco Raffine 72 set not because I knew what I was doing, but purely on account of the very reasonable $. At the same time, I ordered another set of another brand also due to low price, and the difference is like night & day. The Marco 7100s behave like a real artist’s medium where as the other inexpensive set lacks in every way. So many colorists rave on about Prismacolor pencils as all they’ll ever use. But while they are wonderful for depth of color, I have to say the Marco Raffine brand is just as easy to use & get great results from at about 1/4 the cost. Now I see that Marco also makes a higher quality of oil-base-soft core colored pencil set called Marco Renoir. These sell on Amazon.com for about the same ( or more ) than the Prismacolor, so I’m guessing they’re pretty fine pencils. Well, just wanted to say hello after reading your great & thorough review. Thanks! Deb from New Mexico, USA

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