Saturday, May 7, 2016

Tranquil or Vivid? Pick Your Mood

Tombow Irjiten Colored Pencils Review

by Tim Jeffs

Barred Owl Colored Pencil drawing 

Being an nature artist that works extensively in colored pencils, I have to admit, I have never used Tombow products before, but I'm always game to try new colored pencils. So when Tombow asked me to review their latest products I thought what better way to really test them out than to do a drawing exclusively using them. With my most recent drawing of a Barred Owl, I'll explain my experience drawing with these pencils in depth. 


Irojiten Colored Pencil Set, Vivid

Irojiten Colored Pencil Set, Tranquil

The pencil I used on this drawing were the newly released Tombow Irjiten Colored Pencil sets. 2 sets to be exact. The Vivid and Tranguil Adult Coloring Sets. Each set comes with 12 colors, a sharpener, and a sand pencil eraser. 

My first impression is that these sets have a very nice grouping of colors. With only 12 pencils each, each set is thoughtfully arranged into 2 distinguished palettes. The Tranquil set includes lighter soft colors and the Vivid has brighter, intense, and darker colors. For this drawing I used both sets. I picked a subject where I could try both sets on one drawing. Because of the softer colors of the owl's feathers, I drew the majority of the time with the colors from the Tranquil set, but used the darker colors from the Vivid set for my owls bold eyes, which require a deep dark look.

Fit and Feel

The round shape and the smooth enamel finish sat very nicely in my hand. I draw for long periods of time and tend to squeeze my pencils tight, and they remained very comfortable over long stretches of drawing. This drawing took around 40 hours to complete, and these pencils never bothered my hands or fingers during this long period.

Testing the Tips

I love detail. Extreme detail. My drawing style consists of very fine lines, so I prefer pencils that hold a very sharp point when they are sharpened, and won't break under pressure. I'm pretty hard on my pencils, and have a heavy hand, and I was pleasantly surprised how strong the lead was, and how sharp the tips remained. They never broke in my electric pencil sharpener, and always sharpened to a very fine point. As I drew the fine lines of the feathers, I found the sharpened tips remained sharp for long periods of time before I needed to re-sharpen them. They are not quite as hard as Primacolor Verithin pencils, but I would say they come in a very close second. And unlike the Verithins the color was more vibrant and laid down much easier.

Coloring Basics

I found the color blending of the pencils smooth, and layering down and building up colors easy to achieve. The eyes of my owl are extremely dark, and I found slowly building the dark blues and reds up was very easy to do. And unlike other pencils, I didn't run into any waxy build up. The Tranquil set was perfect for the softer colors of my owl feathers and body. With a wide variety of pastel colors that blended nicely to create a soft fluffy and feathery look.

Since I own and use a reliable electric pencil sharpener I didn't use the hand sharpener that was included in the set, but it's a nice addition for someone who needs one. The sand eraser came in very useful. I liked how it worked so much that it replace the eraser I've been using for years, which wasn't as effective.

Finished Piece

Over all I was extremely happy drawing with these 2 set of pencils, and they were the only pencils I need to complete this drawing. I will definitely continue to use them on future drawings, and recommend them to the novice colorist or the experienced artist.


Tim Jeffs is an American artist best known for his intricate and highly detailed drawings of animals. He has received global attention for his artwork, and his artwork has sold worldwide in more than 15 countries. Using only black ink pens and colored pencils he continues to bring animals to life through his ongoing series of portrait illustrations. His drawings capture even the smallest details of each animal’s fur, skin texture, and patterns. His artwork and his love of animal conservation has lead Tim to help raise animal awareness and research funding for well known organizations and conservation groups.

His works can be seen at:

A book of 50 of his animal drawings has been published and is available as an adult coloring book through Pomegranate Communications, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.
Intricate Ink Animals in Detail. Coloring book, 108 pages with 50 animal images 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Intricate Ink Animals in Detail

A coloring book by Tim Jeffs

Available to order here:

Follow me, ask me questions, and see my latest artwork as I create it on social media:
I couldn't be happier and more excited to have 50 of my drawings packaged into a beautiful coloring book published by Pomegranate Publishing of Portland Oregon! Pomegranate out did themselves with the production of this book. It's a casebound book with a special lay-flat binding and sturdy, hardbound cover. It's 108 pages long and printed on high-quality paper. The Size is: 8¾ x 11¼. The coloring pages are blank on the back so they can be cut out and displayed once you've finished coloring them.

People have watched me draw the animal drawings in this book on social media for over a year now. They have supported me, encouraged my drawing as I’ve posted step-by-step process pictures, and many of the animals have been their suggestions. I feel their support has made this book happen. Therefore my hope is that now, with the book, they can be part of the creative process as well. And the book and their new color creations can become an inspiration for them to share with me and other coloring book enthusiasts.

Intricate Ink: Animals in Detail is a coloring book for animal lovers that explores each animal’s unique and incredibly ornate details, patterns and textures. This book is where coloring and fine drawing meet. Where the colorer has the opportunity to let the line art become part of the coloring experience. Most coloring books have thick outlines and simplify drawings which lack great detail. The user is limited to only fill in the areas within the lines, where this book lets the user lay color over the drawings and colorize the animals in a completely different way. The end result is a detailed drawing of an animals that is colored with the user’s imagination. The user can color the animals as they are in nature, or let their imagination run free. A rainbow elephant, a blue polar bear, a green lion, with an end result that is realistic, complex, and unlike any other coloring book experience before.

"Intricate Ink: Animals in Detail" takes the coloring book experience to the next level. This is the first coloring book with extremely detailed drawings of animals to color. It lets the user color animals like they never have before in other simpler-lined coloring books. The end result will be a piece of art they helped create. And one they will be proud to show or cut out and frame.

For coloring book lovers, this is the next step in coloring challenges. A book that lets the user explore detailed patterns that other coloring books just don't have. For animal lovers, it's offers 50 extremely detailed drawings of their favorite animals to colorize. For children, its a book to see animals in ways they never have before, and color them in ways only their imagination will limit.

Here are two examples of the 50 pages inside the coloring book

here's an example of an elephant I colored in from the book

and before and after examples of my Macaw and Zebra

A little history about me

Using black ink pens and colored pencils, American artist and illustrator Tim Jeffs is creating a veritable ink zoo of intricately drawn animals. Ever intrigued by their diversity and complexity, Jeffs strives to capture his subjects’ essence in his portraits. He begins each drawing with extensive research into a given animal’s conservation status, habitats, habits, and physical appearance. He then closely studies its skin or fur but lets artistic license dictate the patterns, textures, and colors he applies. He enjoys “having the control of making it my own creation, and not just another photograph.” Jeffs does, however, pay photorealistic attention to drawing each creature’s eyes, which “give it a personality, express emotion and let the animal tell its own story as it looks back at the viewer.”

The artist’s story began in Maryland in 1965. Born the seventh of eight children, and from a young age fascinated by drawing, Jeffs was a national award–winning artist while still in high school. A scholarship to Parsons School of Design in New York set the stage for a twenty-five-year career designing books, logos, and websites for Scientific American, Sunset Publishing, Time Life Books and others. Jeffs began sketching animals for personal pleasure; his finely detailed drawings have gone on to garner worldwide attention.

Here's the list of 50 animal Images included in the book:

  1. Alligator
  2. Bearded Dragon
  3. Black Bear
  4. Boa Constrictor
  5. Buffalo
  6. Chameleon 1
  7. Chameleon 2
  8. Chameleon 3
  9. Cheetah
  10. Crocodile
  11. Cuttlefish
  12. Elephant 1
  13. Elephant 3
  14. Giraffe
  15. Great Horned Owl 1
  16. Great Horned Owl 2
  17. Hippopotamus
  18. Humpback Whale
  19. Iguana 1
  20. Iguana 2
  21. Jaguar 1
  22. Jaguar 2
  23. Komodo Dragon
  24. Lemur
  25. Lion
  26. Lionfish
  27. Macaw 1
  28. Macaw 2
  29. Maine Lobster
  30. Moray Eel
  31. Musk Ox
  32. Nautilus
  33. Ocelot
  34. Octopus 1
  35. Octopus 2
  36. Polar Bear
  37. Ram
  38. Red-Tailed Hawk
  39. Rhinoceros
  40. Rock Lobster
  41. Sea Horse
  42. Sea Turtle 1
  43. Sloth
  44. Snow Leopard
  45. Spiny Lobster
  46. Squid
  47. Tapir
  48. Tiger
  49. Wolf
  50. Zebra

Available to order here: