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Speaking of Stabilo: Stabilo Tones, Now Defunct or Are They?

July 22, 2009

071008RevMorePurpleCr Left: “Painting” of my favorite Australian Shepherd bitch Reveille, 4.5 x 7 inches, on Folio Antique White. (The muzzle and chest white in this image are the paper showing through.)

Writing about Stabilo All yesterday made me think of another product of theirs that I love (and actually use quite a lot): Stabilo Tone. The sad thing is these watersoluble wax crayon pencils are no longer made—or have they been resurected.

The Stabilo Tone were (and are for me, because I still have a set of 50 and a set of 10) fat wood pencils filled with a wax crayon center that could be used like a watersoluble oil pastel, a dry waxy colored pencil, or even encaustic! I loved these pencils. I continue to use my stash, mostly for paintings. I find them a bit too messy for work in my journal: the opposite page will get some rub off.

I never did a lightfast test on this product either! I also didn’t have huge expectations, and used them only on personal pieces I wasn’t going to sell. But I do long for a product like this that is lightfast and artist quality, and STILL AVAILABLE.

After Stabilo Tones disappeared from the market there was silence, and then Stabilo released the “Woody.” (Eighteen colors.)

Stabilo’s ad copy says the target group for the Woody pencil is children who love drawing and experimenting and “all those whose creativity knows no bounds.” They also say the pencils are “highly pigmented.” Since they are aimed at kids, I’m doubting the Woody is lightfast. If you enjoy experimenting you might check them out and even do such a test yourself.

Will I do a lightfast test on my Stabilo Tones? Doesn’t seem to be any point to it since they aren’t available any longer. I’ll just use them and enjoy them for my personal art until there is nothing but a box of stubs left.

Why post about them if no one can get them? Well you can get the Woody, and some folks might like that. And you never know. Sometimes if you ASK for something the Universe rewards you. So I’m asking. I would love a waxy, slightly oily and very smooth, watersoluble product with artist quality pigments (lightfast tested) with or without a wooden “case” or pencil body. A fat stick would be particularly nice. I’m a frustrated oil painter-oil pastelist, i.e., allergies prevent me from pursuing those media. But I love the textures and blending you can get with those media, and with Stabilo Tone you can come very close, without the smells and allergy issues.

071008RevMorePurpleEYE Right: Detail from the Rev portrait. You can see layering of color over color (I do initial layers, wet and dissolve them, let them dry, and do top layers which get liquified and sometimes just blended with my fingers).

No similar product that I’ve worked with (Neocolor II or Neo Art, both from Caran d’Ache; and let’s leave other kid-focused products out of the discussion) works in the same manner or gives me the same results.

So I’m hoping the Universe is listening. I have a lot of dogs I’d like to draw and paint. I could use such a tool. If I find one (or if you let me know about one!) obviously I would blog about it! Then we could all have as much fun as children who love drawing and experimenting and “all those whose creativity knows no bounds.”

Note: I rarely use black in my paintings, prefering to mix complementary colors to get dark neutrals. Have some fun with your blues and oranges today. Or your greens and reds. Bust out of your usual color choices. Just go for it.

    • Carol C.
    • July 22, 2009
    Reply

    I sure hope you’ll let us know if you find such a product. I’ve not played around with something like that, but you make it look like such fun!

  1. Reply

    Interesting post on a discontinued product. Seems like Jerry’s still have a few Stabilo Tone sets of 10 left for $29.99. Now that I Googled them, I recall seeing them in their catalogs a few years ago. The product concept sounded intriguing, but they were rather pricey for such short pencils even if their cores were 10 mm wide in diameter.

    • Suzanne Popalardo
    • July 22, 2009
    Reply

    Roz, I just received a set of those Woody’s yesterday from Dakota Art Store, the cheapest online I could find…$43.06 for a set of 18, with $9.95 shipping. I do hate those high shipping costs, but they came UPS in a hard box so what can you do? Kind of expensive for kids? Haven’t had much time to play with them, but they do seem very creamy and rich and dissolve easily with water. I’m going to do a lightfast test and see what happens. Most of the stuff I do is in closed book form anyway, so lightfast isn’t all that much of an issue for me but I’ll let you know what I find.

    Also Roz, I really don’t smell anything with the Kunst & Papier, but could be because my sinuses are all clogged up! Some books with glossy pages have a horrible odor that just about turns my stomach. Can’t imagine what they put in them to smell so awful.

    Oh yes! I do love the colors in your blue dog. I’ll have to think of a color for my lazy Pug!

    • Velma
    • July 22, 2009
    Reply

    it’s totally the dog, my heart skipped a beat even though it is not my border collie wendy this dog has the aussie/bc “look”. if i turn my head right now the eyebrows raise (of course her eyes are open!) and she rises, stretches, because she knows i didn’t click this mac off, and she walks past once, twice, whines a little and relocates to another spot where she can observe my every movement and sound. that’s what your “painting” said to me!

    • Roz
    • July 22, 2009
    Reply

    What, Alberto, you found some!!! I couldn’t find any on Stabilo’s website, but you found them at Jerry’s? Well now I’ll have to do a lightfast test to see whether it’s worth investing more in buying more sets! Thanks for reporting back! I wish they had the full sets though. I can’t do without some colors!

    • Roz
    • July 22, 2009
    Reply

    Suzanne, I hope you have fun with the Woodys sad thing is the colors are so limited at 18. The colors I really love aren’t in that group. I remember standing at the display when they first came out and pouting.

    just a word of caution when choosing any art medium—Just because the book is closed doesn’t mean fugitive color can still fade on you. It happens all the time. Keep this in mind when choosing art materials that are fugitive. I wrote about this happening, for instance, with Derwent Graphitints. I think it was my very first blog post (Oct. 9, 2008). A friend had horrible fading on an image inside her closed journal.

    • Roz
    • July 22, 2009
    Reply

    Velma, thanks for your kind note. And yes those herding breeds are every watchful. Rev was a delight to be around, and while her owner claimed she was “evil” I always found her to be wonderful as long as I gave her some encouragement, which was easy to do because I do so love black dogs!

    Go draw that pup of yours, then go for a walk!

    • Roz
    • July 22, 2009
    Reply

    Yep, Suzanne, you want to check out my post on Graphints which is
    http://typepad.rozwoundup.com/roz_wound_up/2008/10/derwent-graphit.html

    Even with the closed book you can have some fading.

    So let us know how your lightfast test on the Woodys goes!

    • Suzanne Popalardo
    • July 23, 2009
    Reply

    Thanks Roz, for the link to your post about the Graphitints and the Inktense pencils. As soon as I wrote that it doesn’t matter that much to me because most of my stuff is in closed books, I remembered Kate Johnson saying how hers faded terribly and I tried to find that post so I could see if the Inktense were included too. I loved these pencils and won’t use them now. Why do these companies think artists wouldn’t want the work they produce to stay true? Even the most simple sketch deserves to stay the color it was created. Some of us take a lot of time deciding what shade we want to use.

    So now I’m doing a test ( not a perfect one, but it should show something ) on the Woodys.

    I’m also disappointed in the limited color range of these crayon / pencils. I love a full range of colors to choose from and almost always buy the complete set of something. My husband thinks I’m nuts. And I agree.

    • Roz
    • July 23, 2009
    Reply

    Suzanne, art supply companies make products for users with different agendas—sometimes they come up with ideas that they think will appeal to a certain group, and they are in the business of making money…

    Many illustrators and artists aren’t concerned about their work’s longevity. They create work for publication and it gets photographed or scanned and it looks the way they need it to look for the job it needs to do and then it’s not important to have the original piece, or to have that original piece retain it’s original look.

    I think it’s that way in life. Look at the Sistine Chapel, while I think the restoration went a little too far, for centuries no one saw what Michelangelo first painted.

    Things change and get a patina that in its way can be interesting too. Of fade, which is sad, but expected.

    I think art materials companies, like all companies, are trying to make a profit and they expect the buyer to select the products that will suit their needs.

    While I accept that there are a lot of fugitive art materials out there, and some of them are even used by me for various purposes (one of which is to have fun) I really wish that art supply manufacturers would make a point of clearly stating the properties of their products so people could buy intelligently for the purpose they want.

    I make a point of telling every art supply company rep I come in contact with that request.

    We could all write to Jerry’s and Cheap Joe’s and AWS, and Daniel Smith, and ask them to put out clear copy on the qualities of the products they sell. That would get them to ask the companies. Some companies are already clear on this, others probably never will be, and we can vote with our dollars. One thing is sure, either way there will be economic and developmental fall out in the art materials market—costs passed on to buyers, development not undertaken.

    I’d still like to see clear specs on every product.

    I could do a whole lot less testing and get more paintings done!

    I’ll look forward to hearing about your Woodys test.

    • Velma
    • July 26, 2009
    Reply

    roz–drawing or photographing wendy makes her nervous (less so than my first bc who couldn’t bear seeing the camera). i have to sneak. but we walk daily and frisbee incessantly, though she has slowed down a bit now at age 10. there’s a new pup in my life, too…

    • Roz
    • July 26, 2009
    Reply

    Velma, wait until Wendy falls asleep and sketch her then. Or if she is always watchful (as three Australian Shepherds I house sat for were), carry your journal and pen around with you when you’re in a sketching mood (or have several stashed everywhere you might sit down) and then after you have been sitting for awhile, and Wendy has settled somewhere, sketch her out of the side of your eye.

    You get odd angles, but it works. Here are two examples
    https://rozwoundup.com/Kinni26.html (I was on the couch facing forward where the dog’s nose was pointed, and turned my head to look at her and then sketched.

    https://rozwoundup.com/Kinni25.html
    the main drawing in the center of the right hand page was done while I faced away from the dog who was lying to my left. If I looked at her she would get up and come over and see what it was that I wanted. (Other sketches on the page spread are of Rev who was perfectly happy napping. She knew I would get her up if we were going on an adventure.)

    There’s definitely a challenge to sketching herding breeds, but give it a try Velma, you’ll find it feels normal in no time.

    (Of course all of this explains why I so loved living with Malamutes. Sleep, eat, work. Always ready for adventure, and not bothered if you look at them a lot! No need to herd you.

  2. Reply

    RARE STABILO TONE Aquarelle Crayons Water Wax Pastel Oil Encaustic Pencils BNIB – EBAY 151054042419

    • Roz Stendahl
    • May 29, 2013
    Reply

    Wendy, thanks for the heads up, you see these pop up now and then. They always want WAY too much for the sets. I can’t justify it even though I love them. It’s also only the 30 color set. I have the full set which actually has the colors I really use (now of course stubs. So this set wouldn’t work for me.

    Sad though. If I could find a full set of 60 unused for under $100 (including postage) so roughly I’d be tempted.

    But I appreciate the head’s up. If the set of 30 had included my favorite pale, pale blue I might have been tempted even at this price—Mine is just a tiny stub!

    Happy shopping on ebay!

    • John
    • July 22, 2015
    Reply

    Koh I Noor do something similar in sets up to 48 colours, just a shame they don’t do the 20B graphite as well

  3. Reply

    Thanks John, I didn’t know that Koh I Noor made a product like this I’ll have to look into it.

    • Naomi
    • January 1, 2016
    Reply

    Has anyone done a lightfastness test since these posts? My 4 Stabilotone passed just fine, but since they’re not avi8alable anymore. I am considering buying the Woody 18 colors because they’re perfect for plein air drawing 9they don’t melt like oil pastels, but not if they’re fugitive. Thank you and Happy New Year!

  4. Reply

    Naomi, my lightfastness test is in this post
    http://typepad.rozwoundup.com/roz_wound_up/2010/09/lightfastness-tests-stabilo-tones-and-caran-dache-neo-color-ii.html

    You have to be careful when you look at the charts. The right side of each line on both halves looks lighter, but that’s a graduated wash, because light effects them differently often, in very visible ways, so I include them. You have to look at each chart to see which was in the light and which wasn’t and compare those. So click on the images and view them side by side.

    I found them acceptable for what I want to do. My problem is that they no longer make the essential colors I need to make things come out the way I want. That’s frustrating.

    BUt if you can get by with the 18 Woody colors I would. You decide and let me know. Fugitive is a continuum and my favorite Stabilotone colors did better than other brands in the same category.

    Have a great 2016.

    • Diego
    • March 29, 2016
    Reply

    Are you interested in a stabilo tone set of
    50 pieces?

    • Diego
    • March 29, 2016
    Reply

    Is there anyone interested in a stabilo tone set 50 pieces?

  5. Reply

    Diego, I am unsure whether you were asking me of someone else who was writing in on this post.

    If you’re asking me, I am possibly interested. I would need to know which colors you had (since there are only a few that are really importnat to me) and I would need to know what you wanted for it.

    If you would like to discuss it further email me directly (Contact is in the top left of the blog) with a price and I’ll shoot you back the numbers of the colors I need the set to include if I’m going to even consider it. THanks.

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