Bumping this yet again due to a purchase today.
I've had a set of 36 Fantasia colored pencils, and for the price, they're very nice. Not as good as my higher end stuff, but they work well.
I went over to A.C. Moore to buy a replacement set, and while I was there, I also picked up a set of 36 Reeves colored pencils, because their quality looked pretty good for the price as well. Yay! With the daily coupon, I got 72 colors for around $30.
Or so I thought.
I got them back to the studio and started stocking and making swatches (love the brainless task of playing with and organizing colors
I was seeing similarity between the alike colors from both sets, and started looking closer.
Reeves and Fantasia are the same thing. Different casings and packaging (Reeves uses cedar, Fantasia uses some generic whitish wood and lacquers it over), but the leads are identical in both color and consistency. I started digging, they're both made in Indonesia, most likely at the same place.
That's not a bad thing, they're still nice, but I was expecting more variety between two sets of competing brands. I'm taking them both back because there's no point in having the Reeve's, and the Fantasia's had a bunch of furry white mold/mildew near the tips. I wiped them down with a damp cloth and they look better, but they still stink.
I don't know if they're all made by one of the other companies mentioned above since I don't have the others to compare against, but I figured it was worth mentioning.
I also have sets of the Reeve's and Fantasia watercolor pencils. Looking into those proves the same thing. I never noticed it before because my Reeves watercolor set is only 24. Once I mapped the two brands together, skipping the missing Reeves, and they're also identical aside from the same casing differences.
It's funny how marketing and packaging will skew your perception. I've always though of Fantasia as being a little higher end, they come in a nice tin and have a nice look and better information stamped on each pencil.