Finding the best colored pencils can be quite challenging for a beginning artist. I did not realize the science used in these types of pencils until I wrote this review. Read my top reviews about brands of colored pencils that are considered to be the best among many professional artists.
Editors Top Picks for Best Colored Pencils
These 2 brands of colored pencils are so close to the same quality that you can’t go wrong with either one. Perfect for the student just beginning in art and are the most preferred colored pencil among many professional artists.
The key difference is one has an oil base core and the other has a wax based core. This makes the Prismacolor pencils softer and works well for details on the final layer.
I’ve spent hours using colored pencils and love the way you can blend and layer the colors. I own some of these sets and have first hand experience. Check out my How To Draw With Colored Pencils Lesson for more information.
Plus to help make sure that my reviews and information are accurate, I spend a lot of time reading reviews and customer feedback from people that actually have the product plus years of personal experience. You can rest assured you are getting the best information before buying a set of colored pencils.
Table of Contents
5 Best Colored Pencils Reviewed
Having spent a lot of time using colored pencils I did not know all the science behind the creation of a colored pencil. This made my research more fun and I hope the reviews below will help in your decision to buy the best colored pencils for your needs.
You may find that some of these sets are more expensive than others. This is usually due to the quality of the colored pencils and how long the color will hold up over time.
Read my reviews for more details.
1. Faber Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils
Faber Castell is considered one of the best brands on the market. This set of colored pencils are lightfast making the color you lay down more resistant to fading. Core seems to be more stable and less chippy while still allowing for blending and layering. The leads of these pencils are actually bonded to the inside of the barrel to help prevent breaking. This is the most preferred colored pencil for professional and intermediate artists. Can be a little more expensive but worth it in the long run.
- Highly rated
- Great for all coloring projects
- High blendability
- Thicker lead
- Affordable pencil sets
- Artist’s Choice
- More expensive
- Slightly thicker pencils
- Not as beginner friendly
Faber Castell has experience creating quality art materials. They are good at making the type of colored pencils professional artists are looking for. Larger sets can be pricey but there are smaller sets that are more affordable. Smaller sets are budget friendly and provide a way to test this product. Individual pencils can be bought to replace the ones you use the most. This is my go to pencil when coloring or creating drawings making these great for colorists to artists.
2. Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils
Prismacolor has positive reviews from customers and is also a top pick among artists. Good all round pencil with high quality pigments for a better price. Would be an excellent choice for any coloring project and suits anyone who likes to color from beginner to professional. These were so close to being our recommended colored pencil set because they were very comparable to the Faber Castell Colored Pencils reviewed above.
- Easier to blend and layer
- Soft but durable core
- Highly Rated
- Ranks high for beginners looking for quality
- More affordable
- Variety of Sets to choose from
- Rich and Vibrant Colors
- Resists Fading
- Soft core could lead to shorter life
- Still on the higher priced spectrum
My research shows quite a bit of positive reviews. Some mentioned receiving different quantity than ordered but still ended with good quality. Excellent choice for beginners because of affordability but not that much cheaper. People seemed happy to have purchased this product and enjoyed coloring with them mentioning how vibrant the colors look.
3. Arteza Professional Set of 72 Colored Pencils
This set is a good option for all people because of the dense wax core. Making for a stronger lead. sharpens up easier and lays down nice smooth colors. Well rounded colored pencils for experienced or beginning artists. This set also comes with a nice double hinged tin making it more portable.
- Waxier core for better blending
- Glides over paper smoothly
- Beginners and Intermediates
- 72 colors
- Metal Case
- Non Toxic
- Shorter pencil life
- Less variety to choose from
Affordability makes Arteza a good choice for those on a budget. There are some smaller sets to choose from for testing before buying a larger set. The quality of these pencils is pretty good and the brand is well known. There was plenty of positive feedback on these pencils also.
4. Schpirerr Farben 72 Colored Pencil Set
These pencils had a few mixed reviews but could be the best for students and art enthusiasts who are on a budget. Comes in a nice metal case with 3 trays that fit in tightly, helping to secure the pencils for safer transport. This set has a nice variety of colors from earth tones to flesh tones.
- Oil Based
- Firm Core
- Great Gift
- Kid Friendly
- High positive review rating
- Can build up pigment when layering
- Hard to blend
- Not as lightfast
5. Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils
This one gets the “Best Colored Pencils for Kids Award”. Due to the plastic barrel being a possible hazard I recommend these for kids 6 or 7 years old even though they are rated for ages 4 and up. With a twist function like a mechanical pencil allowing the user to expose the lead as needed means almost no sharpening. Tips can be refined somewhat with a fine grit sandpaper or by rubbing the pencil on some scrap paper. Comes with 50 twistable colored pencils.
- Twistable function gives protection of the lead inside a protective barrel.
- Safe and non toxic
- Excellent gift for kids and coloring enthusiasts alike.
- Great for coloring books
- No sharpening needed
- Does not blend as well
- Lead could be fragile
Crayola brings back memories of childhood and is a thoughtful gift for anyone who likes to color. Nice and Unique twisting feature allows protection and easy on the go coloring. Majority of research returned positive. These are rated for younger aged kids but I would think the tips would get broken especially if they are dropped. Adults would also enjoy these pencils.
Best Colored Pencils Beginners Guide
Different Colored Pencil Types
There are 2 main types of colored pencils. One is made for longevity while the other is more for hobbiest and adult coloring.
Artist Grade Is The Best Colored Pencils By Far!
Layering and Wax-bloom
When using different layers of color you might start to notice a milky film start to form. This is called wax bloom. This is a waxy build up and can diminish the vibrancy of the color. There are fixative spray’s which can help for a short time.
Blending with colored pencils
Blending is important in all aspects of drawing and coloring. The art of blending is blurring sharp lines into softer tones to help give objects texture and value. There are not lines separating objects in space only meeting points of color, textures and tones.
When blending always start with a sharp pencil and rotate the pencil to keep a sharp tip for a longer period of time. A light, medium and dark color should be used to show shades and lights. Start with the lighter colors using gentle pressure slowly moving toward your light source. Work in layers from light to dark making sure your colors are over lapping then start applying more pressure in the shades and less pressure in the lighter areas. You Can use your lighter color to blend as as well.
See the video above for a more detailed explanation of blending with colored pencils.
Sharpening Your Colored Pencils
Health Benefits Linked to Coloring With Colored Pencils
Studies show that more adults are picking up coloring as a hobby, helping to unwind from a stressful day. Stress can cause many issues throughout life.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a list of frequently asked questions I noticed while doing the research online.
What are the Best Colored Pencils?
Which Colored Pencils are Best for Beginners?
Crayola’s are good for a first set but you may find that in order to blend your colors more pressure is needed to get the pigment into the tooth of the paper. I still recommend a artist grade colored pencil set for beginners because when starting out you really need to see what a softer core color pencil feels like and how it reacts to the paper.
Will the Colors Fade?
I believe that over time the vibrancy of the color can be lost on all colored pencils. The key factors here are time and pigment content in the pencil core. More pigment means your colors will look fresh for a longer period of time. The opposite would be true if the pencil core has a higher amount of binding agent. Some colors can be more prone to fading than other colors.
Can I use a Fixative Spray on Colored Pencils?
The answer is yes. This type of fixative comes in a spray can and is used for preserving your colors. In some cases they can be used to layer colors but this tactic is more commonly practiced in the pastel world. When using a fixative spray try to apply even coats by moving your hand past the surface you are spraying. Going back and forth being careful not to cause any runs. Be sure the spray is designed for colored pencils or dry media.