The Buyer's Guide On How To Choose The Best Colored Pencils

    We haven’t yet met anyone who does not like coloring. In fact, there are studies that will tell coloring activities for adults and children helps with relaxation and creativity.

    To start with coloring, we, however, need the right tools. Part of this is getting a good set of colored pencils. We have scoured, reviewed and examined different colored pencils for you. Came up with the best 5 picks to help you from spending too much time researching.

    Buyer’s Guide

    1. Buying Criteria

    Color Vibrancy

    Color vibrancy is the liveliness of the colors from the pencils. There are colored pencils that will require you to add more strokes or layers to make each the colors brighter and livelier in your canvas. Meanwhile, some colored pencils do not require heavy strokes or added layers to make colors alive.

    Depending on the project you are doing or even your preference, you might want to check the pencil’s color vibrancy.

    Color Variety

    Colored pencils often come in sets. We’ve found colored pencils in 6 counts or as many as 48 counts in a single set. Sometimes, we want to have more pencils. But, a large set often cost more than your budget, especially for beginners and when buying for kids.

    For starters, it may be good to choose colored pencil sets that have the basic colors and some unique pieces. Parents can even choose to have lesser colors when the kids are just starting to work on their artistic selves.

    Lead Hardness

    The lead of the regular pencils is made from graphite. For colored pencils, these are made from pigments and a choice of binder (wax or oil based). The lead in most colored pencils as from regular pencils are hard, which is just fine.

    Since these pencils are hard, they break less than those with wax lead colored pencils. You might consider this if you’re buying for kids or beginners.

    But, you also have a selection of softer leads in your colored pencils. The issue with a softer pencil is that you need to exert extra care when coloring or working on it. This is the pencils often used by professionals or artist.

    You are, however, welcome to choose whatever lead material you want.


    Oil-based binders are of the harder kind. These will require more strokes and layers.

    There are also those that are wax-based. It can be easy to work with this kind of lead especially if you are doing projects with larger coverage. But, in contrast to an oil-based binder, the wax binder makes the lead easily breakable.

    It might be helpful if you also take into account the binder alongside the work or project you might be doing or the kind of user of the colored pencils.


    Colored pencils also come in different lengths. There is the regular-sized pencils that resemble the graphite ones and the shorter colored pencils. For older children and adults, regular-size may be appropriate. But, for the younger ones, 3 or 4-inch pencils can be a good set already.

    The shorter ones tend to diminish easily most especially if you keep on sharpening it. But, this also depends on how much you use the pencil.


    We’ve established earlier that oil-based are less breakable than the wax-based colored pencils. There are still those colored pencils, although having oil as grinders can still easily break. Thus, it is still important to also examine whether or not the pencil easily breaks.

    This consideration may be important when buying for children because they tend to use force when doing coloring work.

    Breaking also has something to do with the quality of the material used.

    Care For Your Colored Pencils

    When you’ve chosen your colored pencils, placing them inside the box is not the only way to care for it. Here are a few tips to maintain your colored pencils:

    • You need to choose the right sharpener with regard to size and blade quality.
    • You can also get a hard pencil case to help with keeping the leads intact.
    • Some consider turning the sharpener rather than the pencil for less tension on the pencil.
    • For wax-based pencils, heating them a little can cure breakage as the wax melts and fuse together.
    • It might also be helpful to use just the right amount of force with the pencils.

    Colored Pencil Techniques

    As you can see from the image stippling is made by making dots of the pencil. It can be made with sharp for thinner circles and dull for bigger dots. This technique is suited for added texture on the canvas’ surface.

    Hatching, on the other hand, is made with slanted lines. It can be used when doing straight images to create dynamism.

    Similar to hatching is the cross-hatching, which can be made by crisscrossing the lines.

    The back and forth stroke is a more free-hand stroking where you go back and forth to fill in the spaces.

    Scumbling is a more dynamic stroke using a circular motion. This adds density to your coloring activity.

    Product Review: Best Colored Pencils (1000)

    1. Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 48-Count

    Via Amazon

    A brand that has been in the industry for over 75 years that provides art tools for professionals, students and beginners alike.


    • It has a softcore or soft lead that is suitable for shading jobs. Artists and professionals can find this an enjoyable set for complicated shading.
    • The set includes 48 counts or individual pencils that give you more color options. It can be suited for different and complex coloring works.
    • The softcore allows you to easily make strokes and blending to create unique color combinations.
    • This set packs highly saturated pigments inside each pencil, which create vibrant colors or saturated colors. It helps in attaining the right intensity of the color you might need for your project.
    • It has a good lightfast, where artists can expect colors to less discoloration as the time goes by.


    • The softcore easily breaks, especially when used with stronger force when doing coloring tasks.
    • If users have a minimal idea on proper usage, the wax make glob or chunk matters on the paper making one’s work uneven.
    • The leads are uncentered that may have been breakage from the inside of the pen.
    • There are powder coming off from the pencil, which if one is not careful can create unwanted smudges on the paper.

    2. Faber-Castel 24 Piece Polychromous Colored Pencil Set In Metal Tin

    Via Amazon

    Another household brand that has been around since the 1700s, Faber Castell is all about marrying traditional pencil making and environmentally friendly product as Faber-Castel 24 Piece Polychromous Colored Pencil Set In Metal Tin.


    • This set of colored pencils is in “polychrome” or in varied colors. It comes in 24 counts or individual colored pencils that are considered a wide enough range to allow users different color combinations.
    • It has the right combination of hardness and softness of the lead. This feature can help the artists with both detail work and color blending. Thus, it can help with complex color or even drawing jobs.
    • The colored pencils are encased in a tin metal casing. This added feature may seem immaterial to some. But, the casing can help with preventing the breakage of the leads.
    • It produces vivid or vibrant colors, which can help you, as the users, with getting the right color. The color vividness can also keep you from putting too much layer in order attain vibrancy.


    • Some users reported of dry leads. The dryness of the lead can be an issue with regards to blending and hand comfort because you might need force to attain certain colors.
    • The set does not include the basic colors (i.e. the purple or violet shade). The lack of these hues can be an issue for beginners who do not know how to blend and mix colors.

    3. Derwent Colored Pencils, Drawing, Art, Colorsoft, 12-Pack

    Via Amazon

    A brand that is known and widely used by students, Crayola brings in their 24 count colored pencils.


    • It was environment-friendly created as the manufacturer used reforested wood.
    • The set comes in 24 counts, which will give you good color options, especially when doing big or extensive artwork.
    • The colored pencils are suited for kids because of the non-toxic feature of the product.
    • The leads of the pencils are quite thick that can produce larger strokes. But, it can also be sharpened for detailing work.
    • The leads are suited for creating details on your work.
    • Pencils create easy color blending that is advantageous for creating different colors despite only having 24 counts (less than the 48 of Prismacolor.
    • The lead is soft enough to make mixing and blending easy.
    • There is less flaking with the pencil.
    • It has a smooth and even color laydown with the right hand strokes.


    • With the hard wax lead is not smooth enough that the lead seems a little brittle to when used.
    • It easily breaks when sharpening the pencils. This may be an issue with quality and convenience.
    • The colored pencils are a bit dull on regular paper. You might need to put more layers to achieve vibrancy.

    4. Lyra Ferby Short Colored Pencils, Set of 6

    Via Amazon

    A brand that has been in the industry since 1806, the Lyra Ferby Short Colored Pencils is dedicated for children use.


    • It is only 4 ½ inches long that is suited for children’s little hands. This colored pencil set can be good for beginners.
    • The colored pencils are in the triangular shape that helps with the training for pencil gripping.
    • This colored pencil set has 6.25mm lead, which is big enough for artworks with greater cover. It can be good for doing children’s work on large canvasses.
    • Each of the pencils gives an overall good quality. It can be important since children usually use force when doing their coloring activities.
    • The hinges move smoothly for easy open and close movement.


    • This set may not be suitable for adults and older children because of the length of the pencil.
    • The length may be too short that it diminishes faster when used for big projects or many projects.
    • The set only has 6 counts or colored pencils. It already contains the basic colors, but you will have fewer options when creating complex work.

    5. Derwent Colored Pencils, Drawing, Art, Colorsoft, 12-Pack

    Via Amazon

    With the discovery of graphite, the Derwent brand began their journey in producing quality pencils and further developed their product portfolio to cater to students and hobbyist.


    • The texture of the lead of the pencils is velvety more than waxy. This type of texture is tailored to allow the users to blend and mix the colors easily.
    • The colors are rich and produce vivid colors. This very feature can be perfect when you want to achieve the good colors without having to make heavy strokes with the pencils.
    • This set of colored pencils contains the basic colors that one may need for the basic coloring work.
    • The lead and the pencil does not break easily, although it has a soft lead.


    • It comes only in 12 counts or colored pencil pieces, which some may consider having fewer color options. The number can cause issues when working on big artworks requiring complex color combinations.
    • The pencils may not work when doing details on your work because of the softness of the lead.
    • The wood work of the pencils may look a little rough, which can be a problem if you are very particular with the finish of the pencil.

    Top Pick

    The top pick for this review is the Faber-Castel 24 Piece Polychromous Colored Pencil Set In Metal Tin. From the other four colored pencils, this set comes out as the best based on our review and examination using our pre-identified criteria.

    Our choice combines a soft hand hard lead feature that can be suited for detail and blending activities as compared to the hard or soft characters of others in the review. With its 24 counts, you can also have a wide range of color choices and the lack of other colors can be remedied with color mixing.

    From among the colored pencil sets on review, this has vibrant colors that will help work fast and efficient. All these features are packed in a regular sized pencil that can be good for hand comfort.

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