About the company
Cretacolor is located in Austria, where they make a variety of artist and children's art products, including dry and water-soluble pencils, blocks, and crayon like sticks.
Cretacolor's artist's colored pencil are called the Karmina. They are a reddish brown on the outside, and are hexagonal shaped. The pencils have end-caps painted to match the core colors. The pencil name and number are on the exterior. The Karmina pencils do not have lightfast ratings on them.
Cretacolor's water-soluble pencils are called the Marino. They have blue exteriors and are round. The large set has 35 water-soluble colored pencils and one water-soluble graphite pencil. The Marino's have lightfast ratings on the pencil.
The colors are close to being the same between the traditional and water-soluble sets, but there are some differences. The numbering system for each range is a bit wacky- the first three numbers change at the end of the range, and the last two numbers repeat- for example there are two pencils in each range that end in 01.
Cretacolor makes a variety of woodless water-soluble products as well.
No lightfast charts available for the traditional pencils, but lightfast ratings are on the water-soluble pencils.
Both the traditional and water-soluble pencils are in the hard ranger, and can have hard spots that leave streaks, but they are not too bad about this. They do not 'give' as much pigment to the paper as the softer water-soluble pencils such as Caran d'ache and Faber-Castell.