Last week someone in the Dutch Coloring for Adults Facebook group (Kleuren voor Volwassenen) asked if people had experience with the Lyra Art Pens. You must know I’m quite curious by nature, and when I looked them up on the internet they aroused my interest. With the result that I immediately ordered them. And what a coincidence that Amazon had a special offer for 20% discount, so I chose the complete set of 50 pens.
According to the information on the internet these pens are “ideal for large areas, fine drawing, sketching and drafts. Water-soluble. Particularly robust fibre tips for even and precise strokes.” It all sounded very interesting, especially since I haven’t found any felt tip pens yet that don’t leave streaks and irregularities when coloring larger areas.
The next day already my order arrived and I could get started. The first impression was positive. The metal case contains two layers with pens. The pens themselves are round, feel comfortable to hold and the tip is not too broad to be able to draw thinner lines. There are four neon colors and two metallics, gold and silver. All in all I was hopeful and optimstic.
Lyra Art Pens in One and Only Coloring Agenda 2017
My first project came from the new One and Only Coloring Agenda 2017. I’ve tried to use the watercolor technique. The result wasn’t too bad, only the paper wasn’t very cooperative. As soon as I put the pens on the paper it got damaged. Pieces of paper would appear to ‘crumble’ off the surface when it became wet by the ink. Applying extra water with a water brush made things even worse.
I also felt that the pens didn’t cover the paper very equal. Not only in the larger areas but neither in the smaller areas. I blamed it on the paper. I finished the drawing with glitter and metallic gel pens. It had become too nice to let experimenting with the Lyra Art Pens ruin it.
Second attempt in ‘Wood you color me?’
After that I gave it another try in the new coloring book of Johanna Ans, Wood you color me? The Lyra’s did a lot better here, as long as I drew thin lines. Within the lines of the drawing there was no problem with paper coming off, and I even managed to do some blending with a couple of colors. But then I took the gold metallic pen and the real disappointment kicked in. It became splotchy. While coloring it looked as if small heaps of metallic were pushed forward by the tip of the pen… very weird. It didn’t distribute very nice over the paper and when it finally dried, the result was quite horrible actually. It became a splotchy mess and I’m not the slightest bit pleased with the result.
Well then, just another try, because I’m not the quitting kinda girl. I took the book Intricate Mandalas that I received to review from the artist ‘Amazing Pencils’. I was curious how the pens would perform in this book. But after only a few small areas I already knew that this wasn’t going to work either. It became splotchy again and the paper fiber came off like crazy when the tip touched the surface. I was still not convinced that the pens were to blame. So again I finished this coloring project and pimped it with a brick wall by using a stencil and pastel. I still had high hopes that the next one with the Lyra Art Pens would be better after all.
Drawing number four and five
For drawing number four I chose a design from the One and Only Mandala Coloring Agenda 2017. Soft pastel colors and a lovely design to color. But again, on this paper again the Lyra Art Pens didn’t perform. Streaky, especially the blue areas, and again a lousy result. I began to lose heart.
Eventually I took a sheet of marker paper and printed a drawing on it. After three streaks with the Lyra Art Pens I immediately knew: this isn’t going to work. I did finish the drawing, but because this particular design will be used for a coloring contest on my website next month, thanks to Studio324, I will not yet show the result haha.
Comparative study with Stabilo 68
Finally, after careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that maybe the paper wasn’t the problem after all. Maybe I had given too much credit to the Lyra Art Pens. It was time to do one final test. So I colored one last drawing from the One and Only Mandala Coloring Agenda 2017. But this time not with the Lyra Art Pens! I used the Stabilo 68 felt tip pens. I quickly chose similar colors as the pastel colors I used before from the Lyra’s and I colored this one really fast.
Already with the first area that I colored I felt the difference. It went smooth, the paper was perfect, no crumbles, no stains nor streaks! I even did some blending with the water brush, and that went great. Okay, they’re still felt tip pens, so there will always be slight streaks or irregularities visible. That’s inherent to fel tip pens. But with the Lyra Art Pens I’ve really tried to make it work, to no avail, while coloring on the same paper with the Stabilo 68 went effortless.
I’ve put the color charts of the Lyra Art Pens and the Stabilo 68 next to each other. So you can see that the color palettes are very similar. While working with the Lyra Art Pens they often felt stiff and rough, while the Stabilo’s felt supple and smooth. When you take a closer look at the tips on the picture below, you’ll see that the point of the Stabilo is actually smoother than the Lyra Art Pen.
Though I’m very sorry, in my opinion the promises on the internet about the Lyra Art Pens weren’t met in any way. They are water-soluble, but blending or using a water brush doesn’t work very well. They destroy paper, make it crumble and tear. Even specific marker paper and paper that gives no trouble at all with the Stabilo 68. No matter what kind of paper I’ve tried, the results were always splotchy, streaky, ugly and causing more frustration than joy in coloring.
I´ll save them, for whenever children will visit us. The price-quality ratio is not commensurate. No value for your money, they’re way overpriced and to me they’re falling into the category childrens pens, toys. Definitely not suitable for artists who take their work seriously. A better choice would be the Stabilo 68. Their prices is comparable to the Lyra Art Pens, but they deliver value for money with much better quality pens!
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