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CarbOthello Pastel Pencil Set (24) review

These pastel pencils are a great starter set or a strong addition to any collection.

Spectrum of CarbOthello pastel pencils

Our Verdict

This mid-range set of pastels is a riot of colour that won’t break the bank.


  • Charcoal-like stroke
  • Can be dry-mixed or blended
  • Colour fast


  • Bit advanced for absolute beginners

Hailing very much from the art side of the STABILO stable, the CarbOthello Pastel Pencil Set (24) is aimed at mid-level artists. And as with most STABILO products, you’re guaranteed a high level of quality.

This 24-pencil set comes in an attractive two-piece tin and includes a decent spectrum of colour choices. The pencils sharpen very well, so you can fashion a good tip with a new scalpel blade and a sandpaper block.

Tin of CarbOthello pencils

The pencils really come alive when mixed with water

The pencils’ dry stroke is perfect for blending, but the fun really starts when you begin adding water, with some particularly interesting results achievable when working in wet areas with dry pencils. Playing about with the balance of these elements is one of the joys of this set. And when you do, you’ll realise that the great advantage of using pastel pencils is the lack of mess at the end of the day.

Stabilo’s pencils are fuss-free and solid, with good pigment strengths matched with quality wooden shafts. If you’re looking for your first reasonably priced set of pastel pencils, this is a great mid-level entry point.

This article was originally published in ImagineFX magazine (subscribe here). Read more: How to hold a pencil correctly.

The Verdict

out of 10

CarbOthello Pastel Pencil Set (24) review

This mid-range set of pastels is a riot of colour that won’t break the bank.

Rob Lunn is a self-taught painter, and loves to paint in oils. His influences are Vincent van Gogh, Caravaggio and Ilya Repin. He has taught art workshops since 2012.