Purple Bird. Testing the Mitsubishi Uni 888 Pencils.

I spent some time over the past couple of days trying out my Mitsubishi pencils (see previous post).  I decided on a simple picture where I could explore layering and gradients.  I chose this pretty little bird from Millie Marotta’s first book Animal Kingdom.  The first thing I found was that the way the pencils had been sharpened for sale did not suit me at all.  Each had blunted points so into the sharpener they went to give me the nice sharp point I prefer.  There were no issues with sharpening and no core breakages.  The wood is good quality and sharpens smoothly.   The pencils are thicker barreled as the Derwents and feel very comfortable and luxurious to handle.

Nothing so intoxicating as opening a brand new tin of pencils.


The colours are quite bright and saturated and lean towards pastel-ish hues. There are plenty of greens!

The cores are quite soft but are definitely wax based from the feel.  They feel a little dry similar to the Colour Soft pencils made by Derwent but went on easily delivering rich colour.  My issues with this picture may have been related to the particularly smooth paper of this book as i had some issues with getting a smooth lay down with multiple layers.  As you can see in the picture below.  In the dark green leaves with the olive edges I started with a layer of yellow ochre and then went over it in a dark green to get an olive.  But the dark green did not want to play nice and left a blotchy look.  Even going over it again with the yellow ochre did not fix this.  I didn’t mind the resulting texture but it wasn’t what i was aiming for and certainly not how I want my pencils behaving.  These are the only colours I had this issue with on this picture.  I quickly learnt that with these pencils you will get a better result if you lay the darker colour down first and then go over it with lighter colour layers.


Over all I like these pencils.  They are not my favourite but I wouldn’t be unhappy using them again and they’ll enter my rotation of art products that I use.  I think I will have to test them some more on different paper types before I can draw a final conclusion as I have found the smooth paper in Animal Kingdom a bit of a wrestle with some pencils to get a good smooth laydown.  My advice is that if you like to try new pencils, or if the very bright ‘anime’ style colours of this set is attractive for you then these pencils aren’t a bad choice.  For my money, though, I think I would invest in Lyra Rembrants or Polychromos if I had to choose.



  1. Paula

    It is a shame about the lay down in this book, I have had this issue with it as well, but yours came out beautiful nonetheless. I love your color choices, as always.

  2. Theresa Petermann

    I am just coloring my first page from Millie’s book. I chose the butterfly puff circle. I have not used any pencils but the Prismacolor Premiers so I don’t know enough yet to comment on the pencils or the paper. I do like your coloring. I have learned so much about shading since I found your you tube channel. thanks as always for sharing.

  3. Nido

    Well…abit of info, Mitsubishi Uni made a few types of coloured pencils, and the No. 888 from what i know isnt artist grade, its more like a student grade or lower end. But from what i have read from the news, they have stop making coloured pencils or atleast the artist grade ones. And the reason is due to Japan’s decline in birth rates.

    And if you try to translate the words on no.888 it did mention something like the colours is selected for motif colouring with gradation.

  4. Joan

    Any chance you could do another intense, multi-part you tube lesson like you dd for the ducks in the pond? I learned so much from that exercise. It really was interesting and full of good information!

    1. AnnW

      I second the motion! 🙂

  5. Chaypeta (Post author)

    It is certainly on the list of to-dos. I would like to do it using The Magical City but i am aware that not as many people own a copy or own Inktense pencils so the tutorial will probably end up a bit shorter. (Plus it is faster to colour with Inktense than with normal pencils.)

    1. Nido

      I really hope to see one tutorial using Animorphia and using one brand of pencils instead of mixed media.

    2. Dina

      I would love a “color-along” with The Magic City! I bought the book and Inktense pencils specifically because I saw your speed coloring videos on YouTube. Love love love your work Peta! Can you post a final picture of the Eiffel Tower page?

      1. Chaypeta (Post author)

        Got one planned. 🙂 Also I’ll be posting an update on the Eiffel Tower picture shortly so stand by. 🙂

  6. Mari

    Dear Peta:

    I love the colors you used in this picture. Would it be possible for you to tell us what colors to use using either the Faber-Castell or Prismacolor pencils. I still have a tough time with color selection and that information would be a huge help. As always, thank you for your guidance.


  7. Erin

    Hi Peta, I just received some Staedler Ergosoft pencils and wanted to put them out there as a great option for people with arthritis or those who can’t hold / press a pencil for too long – the colour goes on strong and smooth with very little pressure, and the pencils themselves are a pleasure to hold. The colours are bright and intense, and a pleasure to use. They also have the anti breaking system which I’ve found really helps. For a non-artist pencil, I’d highly recommend them 🙂

  8. Brenna

    I’ve only colored one page in Animal Kingdom, but I used the Colleen pencils from Thailand that you reviewed a few weeks ago, and they worked very well, even when I layered colors. Definitely the best cheap pencils I’ve used!

  9. Paula

    I’m so glad I read this post – I got Millie Marotta’s Tropical World and had a terrible time with the smooth pages. I can see if I had been as good as you are I’d have worked harder at it. Your picture turned out gorgeous, as usual. But I really wanted to start putting in one color per space like I did when I was a little kid – lol! I loved the artwork but it was a waste on me. Maybe when I get really good. I know this was pretty off topic, but, once again, thanks Peta.

  10. Ela Dy

    Is this oil based color pencil or wax base color pencil?

  11. Mixshumn

    Thank you very much for the invitation :). Best wishes.
    PS: How are you? I am from France 🙂


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