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10 Best Colored Pencils For Artists Of All Levels

best colored pencils

Are you looking for the best colored pencils for artists of all levels? Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, we have the perfect colored pencil set for you! In this blog post, we will discuss our top 10 favorite sets of colored pencils and why we love them.

We will also provide a buyer’s guide to help you choose the right set of colored pencils for your needs. So whether you are just starting out or are looking for an upgrade, read on for the best colored pencil sets available today!

Contents

Colored Pencil

A colored pencil is a pencil that has a colored lead. The lead is made of a pigment and a binder. A perfect colored pencils have high-quality leads that are fully pigmented and evenly distributed. This creates rich, saturated color that is easy to blend and layer.

Perfect colored pencils also have thick cores that are sturdy enough to stand up to heavy pressure without breaking. This allows you to create both finely detailed line work and bold shading. Overall, colored pencils provide superior color quality, performance, and durability.

prismacolor pencils hard

Since the 1960s, colored pencils were used a lot in classrooms. You probably used them when you were a kid.

Even when high-quality colored pencils came out in the 1930s, individuals were mostly used by simple illustrators and graphic designers. Fine artists sometimes used them to plan and sketch, but not to make finished works of art.

This started to change in the 1960s, when fine artists started to like colored pencils for how versatile they were and how easy they were to use. They are now considered a legitimate form of art, and colorists use them all the time.

Types Of Colored Pencils

Wax-based Colored Pencils

soft cor pencils for artists

Has A Smooth Texture

The proper number of wax gives the pencil a smooth and soft leads, which makes it easier for the pigment to spread across the surface. The wax also helps the mark stick to the exterior or other layers of pencil, so you don’t have to worry about smearing or sticking if you put down more than one layer (a common issue with pastels).

Lighter And Available In Different Size And Colors

There will also be more shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from. Also, they may be lighter and easier to erase than oil-based cores.

Available In Hard Pencils And Soft Core Pencils

Some wax-based cores are less durable because of their soft core. Soft wax produces soft lead which results in soft colored pencils. But, in all honesty, this varies a lot. Factors like the pressure of the application, how it was made, etc. play a big role.

There are many different kinds of wax-based pencils, from the hard ones made for students to the soft ones made for professionals. Since wax-based pencils are so common, you can probably find a set that meets your needs for price, quality, and consistency.

Wax-based Colored Pencils Have Glue Made Of Wax.

The only problem with wax-based colored pencils is wax bloom, which is a natural oxidation process that can cause the wax to rise to the surface of your artwork and leave a pale haze.

But wax bloom can be a problem, especially if you don’t use a fixative. It happens more often when there are many layers or when darker colors are used.

Wax bloom is when the wax binder rises to the upper layer of the color and makes a cloudy haze over the pigment. There are ways to keep it from happening, like applying it in thinner layers or using a spray fixative, but it can still be a bit of a hassle.

Based on how you style, you may never have a problem with wax bloom. But artists who use a lot of dark colors and thick layers should think about using oil-based colored pencils instead, which don’t wax bloom.

best colored pencils artist

Oil-based Colored Pencils

Oil-based colored pencils hold the pigment together and spread it on the surface using oil. This means that they will have a bit distinct texture and don’t have a wax bloom.

Most oil-based pencils are medium soft, which means they are a bit firmer than many wax-based pencils but still softer than student-grade pencils. Even though they are still very smooth, they don’t lay down color as quickly as, Prismacolor coloring pencils, but they hold a point better and might be more useful.

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Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils | Art Supplies for Drawing, Sketching, Adult Coloring | Soft Core Color Pencils, 72 Pack
24,306 Reviews
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils | Art Supplies for Drawing, Sketching, Adult Coloring | Soft Core Color Pencils, 72 Pack
  • Soft, thick cores are perfect for shading and shadows
  • Lightfast, richly saturated pigments
  • Ultra-smooth, even color laydown

Because the lead is harder, it won’t break as easily and won’t need to be sharpened as often. Some artists like to use color with less force because it gives them more control.

There are some problems with oil-based pencils, though. They are more likely to smudge and harder to get rid of. They are also usually more expensive and may come in fewer colors.

Water Soluble Pencils Also Known As Watercolor Pencils

This colored pencil can be used dry like standard colored pencils, but the glue in them is a gum that dissolves in water, so the pigments can be lightened out with water.

In practice, this means they can make watercolor paintings by mixing colors with water and a brush or sponge to make washes or blend colors. If you draw on wet paper or dip the tip of the pencil in water first, you can get other effects (creating very soft strokes).

Many artists also use them with regular watercolors and other mediums (including regular colored pencils). They can be hard to use at first, but if you like watercolors, you should give these a try.

Pastel Pencils

Pastel colored pencils are just like pastel sticks, but they don’t have wood around the wax and color on the pencil lead. The only difference is that the core of a pastel is made a little bit harder so that the “lead” doesn’t break or crumble.

Even though pastel-colored pencils look a lot like colored pencils, they aren’t the same thing. While the latter are known for being see-through pastel colored pencils are not, so they are used in a very different way. Professional artists use pastel colored pencils with regular pastels a lot more often.

Why People Love Using Colored Pencils

fine artists scholar pencils

A Good Colored Pencil In Variety Of Colored Pencil Skills

Colored pencils can be used to make expressive and abstract art as well as detailed and photorealistic art. Even though they’re slower than wet media like paint when it comes to putting down color, they’re almost impossible to beat when it comes to control and detail.

Can Add A Striking Radiance To Your Artwork

Like watercolor pencils, pencils for artists are known for being see-through, which can make your artwork stand out, especially on textured paper. If you don’t press too hard, the pigment doesn’t get into the tiny cracks or valleys in the grain of the paper, which lets the color show through. Check out this colored pencil drawing by David Suff to see what I mean.

Color Pencil Are Easy To Use

Colored pencils are also convenient and easy to use! They’re lightweight and small, so you can take them with you and draw on the go.

They’ll also last a long time; unlike paint or markers, you won’t have to worry about them drying out. Colored pencils don’t require as many extra accessories as a medium like oil paint, for example: you can achieve a lot with just a simple set, a sharpener, and a humble sketchbook.

Available In Wide Range Of Colors

These days, you can find colored pencils in just about any color imaginable. Whether you want a set of 12 range of colors or a pencil set of 72, there’s sure to be a brand and price point that’s right for you. If you’re looking for more unusual or hard-to-find range of colors, some companies specialize in making custom range of colors.

Professional Colored Pencils Are Nontoxic

If you’re looking for a medium that’s safe for both artists and the environment, look no further than colored pencils! Unlike oil paint or other toxic art supplies, colored pencils are usually made from nontoxic materials like wood and wax. They don’t require any special ventilation or disposal methods, so you can use them without worrying about harmful fumes or chemicals.

Colored Pencils Can Be Mixed Together To Make Smooth Changes In Tone. 

One of the best things about colored pencils is that you can easily mix and match colors to create new shades. This is great for artists who want more control over their color palette.

Also, best for those who are trying to achieve a specific effect. To mix colors, simply draw two pencil strokes side by side and then blend them together with a brush or your finger. You can also create multiple layers of colors to create different effects.

Colored Pencils Can Also Be Used In Conjunction With Other Media.

In addition to being used on their own, coloring pencils can also be used in conjunction with other media like watercolors, acrylics, and oil based paint. This is a great way to add detail and dimension to your artwork.

To use colored pencils with other media, simply draw your outline with the pencils and then fill it in with the other medium. You can also use most pencils to add highlights and shadows to your painting or drawing.

No matter what your skill level, colored pencils are a great medium to explore. With such a wide range of colors and uses, there’s something for everyone. So grab a set and get started on your next masterpiece!

What To Look For In A Colored Pencil Art Supplies

personal preference soft pencils

Color

Professional artist grade colored pencils comes with a wide range of vibrant colors. You cannot mix colored pencils unlike paint to make new hues and tones. It’s a good idea to make a color chart once you have your pencils. Because this will help you a lot when creating your artwrok.

Quality

When shopping for colored pencils, there are a lot of things to think about. Like deciding whether to get student-grade pencils or artist-grade pencils. As personal preference professional artists should always use artist-grade pencils, which are high-quality pencils. They do cost more, but that’s because they have rich pigments, which produce more vibrant colors

Also, artist-grade pencils are good colored pencils. They are more resistant to light, and they are usually soft core, which allows them to blend and mix colours easily. They will also come in more colors, and individual pencils are sold individually

Permanence

When it comes to colored pencils, permanence is an important quality to look for. Permanently affixed color means that the color will resist fading or bleeding, even when exposed to light or other environmental factors. This ensures that your drawings will maintain their vibrancy and originality over time.

While there are many different brands of colored pencils on the market, not all of them are created equal. Some brands use lower quality materials that are more prone to fading and bleeding. So, if you want your drawings to stand the test of time, it’s important to choose a brand that offers permanence.

Price

Of course, one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for colored pencils is price. Artist-grade pencils are generally more expensive than student-grade pencils. But, they offer better quality and performance. So, if you’re serious about your art, it’s worth investing in a set of high-quality artist-grade pencils.

What To Check When Purchasing A Colored Pencil

pencils for artists set

Make Sure That The Pigment Core Centered In The Wood Casing 

The best way to tell if a colored pencil is of good quality is by checking to see if the pigment core is centered in the wood casing. If it’s not, then the pencil is likely to break easily and the color may not be as consistent.

Has A Nice Conical Tip

Another way to check for quality is to look at the tip of the pencil. If the tip is flat, then the pencil is likely to be of lower quality. A nice colored pencils have a conical tip that’s perfect for precision drawing.

No Damage To The Wood Casting

When you’re looking at the pencil, make sure that there’s no damage to the wood casing. If there are any cracks or chips, then the pencil is likely to break easily and the color may not be as consistent.

Check If The Colored Pencil Is Straight

Make sure that the pencils you buy are straight. Put the pencil on a flat surface to check. If not, it means that the wood has been damaged and the pencil is not of good quality.

water soluble best pencils

Best Colored Pencils

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

Prismacolor premier colored pencils are some of the softest core pencil sets you can buy. Just like professional colored pencils their creamy consistency allows them to blend colors in a professional level.

More than 150 colors, which can be bought separately or in sets, are bright and easy to mix. They are also less expensive than many other artist-grade pencil, and you can find them in many stores.

But they aren’t perfect. Because they are soft, they don’t hold a point as well as harder pencils, which can be annoying for artists who like to work in detail.

To solve this problem, you can have a set of Prismacolor pencils Verithin that work well with Soft Core pencils when I need a sharp point for details.

The Prismacolors are also soft, which means you’ll have to always use a pencil sharpener for them. These prismacolor pencils can also break easily, so be careful with them.

Prismacolor Art Stix

Prismacolor Art Stix resemble crayons but contain the same pigment mix of 48 Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencil colors. They can be used to lay down more color with broad strokes, but the edges can also be used for lines and some details

Older versions of Prismacolor premier colored pencils are easy to find and usually work pretty well for people who collect and use vintage pencils. Older Prismacolors aren’t too expensive.

Also, you can find a box of them at a garage sale or other place that sells used things. There is still a chance of getting a pencil with a broken core, but the risk is low and, with a little searching, you can find full boxes, sets, and loose lots.

Arteza Colored Pencils

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Arteza Colored Pencils for Adult Coloring, 120 Colors, Drawing Pencils with Soft Wax-Based Cores, Professional Art Supplies for Artists, Vibrant Pencil Set in Tin Box for Beginners and Pro Artists
  • Full Set of Sketch Pencils: Get this complete set of professional colored pencils for artists and discover all of the original color combinations...
  • Multipurpose Coloring and Shading Pencils: Use this versatile colored pencil set for adult coloring books, drawings, sketches, and mixed media...
  • Reliable Set of Colored Pencils for Adults and Teens: The break-resistant cores allow you to layer colors and shade your artwork without having...

Arteza Colored Pencils are the best-colored pencils on the market. They’re highly Pigmented and easy to blend, making them a great colored pencils choice for artists of all levels.

These colored pencils are made with thick, soft lead that resists breakage, so you can produce richly-colored artwork that will last for years to come. Best of all, Arteza Colored Pencils are affordable, so you can stock up and let your creativity run wild!

Crayola Colored Pencils

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Crayola Colored Pencils, Bulk School Supplies For Kids And Adults, 120 Count, No Repeat Colors [Amazon Exclusive]
  • CRAYOLA COLORED PENCIL SET: 120 Crayola colored pencils in different colors.
  • PRESHARPENED COLORED PENCILS: These Crayola colored pencils are ready for use right out of the box.
  • ALL UNIQUE COLORS: There are no repeats in this box, so you have 120 colors to use for all your creative endeavors.

Because of its fine point tip, anyone can use them to color and draw details. These colored pencils are sharpened and have vibrant color that last a long time. These coloured pencils also lay down smoothly, which helps artists do things like shade, blend, and layer.

You can easily blend, shade, and add details to your art and craft projects when you use Crayola Signature Blend and Shade Soft Core Colored Pencils. It is the most affordable pencils in the market. This pencil sets of colored pencils is made to add bright colors to your kid’s coloring books.

Faber Castell Polychromos

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Polychromos 36 Pencil Metal Tin Set
  • Unsurpassed lightfast pigments
  • Break resistant tips
  • Waterproof

Faber Castell Polychromos is another great colored pencil brand to look for. Among other pencils , Faber Castell pencils are most popular in the United Kingdom and Europe, but they are also widely available in the United States.

Most high-quality art supply stores carry them in sets and frequently in open stock. Polychromos are more difficult to work with than Prismas and use an oil-based binder. Polychromos, unlike Prismas, can be layered on top of each other without “blooming” (a hazy, white film that can develop on wax-based colored pencils when layered repeatedly).

Faber Castell Poloychromos hold their point better because they are harder, but I find them dry, for lack of a better word. Polychromos’ lightfastness rating is marked on each pencil with a star rating, making it easier to determine. Faber Castell Polychromos pencils have a dipped end and a much nicer paint finish than Prismas.

Blick Studio Artists’ Colored Pencils

Prina Art Supplies 120-Color Colored Pencils Set for Adults Coloring Books with Sketchbook, Professional Vibrant Artists Pencil for Drawing Sketching Blending Shading, Quality Soft Core Oil Based
  • Premium 120 Pack Vibrant Coloring Pencils: Bright, vivid, bold, and assorted colors, artist-quality softcore for rich pigment, ultra smooth...
  • Professional Sketch Art Pencils Kit with 3-Color Sketchbook: Set of unique color pencils for adults coloring books comes with sketchpad...
  • Art Supplies Sketching Colored Pencils Set with Portable Travel Zipper Case: color pencil set comes with a portable zipper-case to keep colors...

Artists from the Colored Pencils Society of America helped one of the largest art supply stores in the United States make its own colored pencils (CPSA). So, Blick Studio Artists’ Colored Pencils are a mix of professional quality and an affordable price. The line has 91 colors that can be bought individually or in sets. They are highly pigmented and won’t fade.

Tombow Coloring Set

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Tombow 56149 Dual Brush Pen Art Markers, 96 Color Set with Desk Stand. Blendable, Brush and Fine Tip Markers with Stand
  • Water-based pens ideal for coloring, fine art, illustrations, doodling, journaling, hand lettering and more!
  • Includes 96 colors, including a colorless blender, and a desk stand
  • Flexible brush tip and fine tip in one marker! Brush tip works like a paintbrush to create fine, medium or bold strokes; fine tip gives...

Tombow is a good set for people who have never colored before or who only color occasionally. This set of 36 colored pencils has 3mm cores inside cedar casings that make them easy to sharpen and less likely to break. The colored pencils also come with a metal case that makes them easy to carry around.

natural oxidation process

The Caran d’Ache Luminance Pencils

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Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 Clr Pncl Set 76 Artist Rng
  • High lightfastness and smoothness
  • Swiss made
  • 76 piece assortment

The Caran d’Ache Luminance Pencils are my choice for a better pencil. People say that these wax-based colored pencils are the best you can buy, but they are also the most expensive. In exchange for their higher prices, you get pigments that are of better quality, last longer, and have more color.

They are not as soft as Prismacolor premier colored pencils, but they are still very smooth and creamy, and they wax bloom less. If you’re not a professional artist or have an endless budget, these are too much, but I couldn’t help mentioning them as the best of the best.

Supracolor Pencils

Caran d'Ache Paul Smith Supracolor Pencils - Set of 8 colours
  • 8 Supracolor Soft water-soluble pencils (colours selected by Paul Smith)
  • Pencils made from cedar wood; soft, resistant lead with a diameter of 3.8 mm (FSC Certified)
  • Water-based ecological varnish

It is hex-shaped as well, with finished end caps. Supracolors are commonly used in the same way that pencils are.

The colors are lovely, though they appear a little dry, and possessing full access to watercolors in a pencil is also really nice — in some situations. Other colored pencils have the advantage of not moving when wet, making them excellent tools for layering with other media.

Luminance 6901 And Museum Aquarelle

Museum Aquarelles are water-soluble permanent color pencils and Luminance is a wax/oil-based permanent color pencil. The leads on these pencils are slightly wider than those on Pablos and Supracolors (3.8mm).

My main complaint about the Luminance pencils is that the bodies are natural wood and only the cap ends show the colors. It can make choosing colors for everyday use a little more difficult.

4-count Staedtler Ergosoft Triangular Colored Pencil Set

Staedtler Coloring Pencil Wood Colored Pencil 72-Count (1270C72BLU)
  • Ergonomic triangular shape Wood from certified, sustainably managed forests Easy to grip Artist tested

If the Prismacolor Premier set is no longer available, we recommend the 24-count Staedtler Ergosoft Triangular Colored Pencil set. These pencils were comparable to Premier pencils in terms of vibrancy, lead quality, and durability.

We also prefer the Staedtler packaging, which consists of a grooved plastic case that converts into a stand. However, these pencils are approximately 35% more expensive. Get this set if you want a better case. Otherwise, we don’t think it’s as good a deal for most people.

oil based expensive pencils

List Of Coloring Pencils And Their Pack Sizes

  • Faber-Castell Polychromos Artists’ Color Pencils12, 24, 36, 60, 120
  • Prismacolor Premier 150
  • Prismacolor Premier 48
  • Castle Art 72 and 120
  • Derwent 6 and 72
  • Caran d’Ache Pablo Pencil Set 12, 20, 40, 76, 80
  • Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils12, 24, 36, 50, 52
  • Black Widow 48
  • Magicfly Oil Based 72
  • Castle Art Supplies Set 72
  • Studio Series Set 30
  • Artlicious 50
  • Prang Groove Triangular 24
  • Reeves Colored Pencils 12, 24, 36
  • Blick Studio Artists 12, 24, 36, 48, 72
  • Arteza 48 and 72
  • Shuttle Art Soft Core 136-180
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