Best Pastel Pencils

Best Pastel Pencils UK

On the lookout for the best pastel pencils?

From coloring to sketching or for detailed linings, pastel pencils are the go-to coloured pencils anyone can think of. Starting from kids to professional artists, almost everyone has used pastel pencils at some point in their lives.

Pastel pencils are basically the pencil form of the pastel material. As they are in a pencil form, they can be sharpened to a fine point which makes them the best fit for detailed artworks.

There’s a wide range of options available for pastel pencils but finding the best pastel pencils according to your need and preference is very important as it’s going to directly affect your artwork.

The task of finding the best pastel pencils could be a little puzzling. But here’s where I come to the rescue!

I’ll be sharing my opinion about pastel color brands that I think are the best considering their features, pros and cons.

So, follow me on the journey to discover the best pastel pencils and fingers crossed, it’ll help you to find the best pastel pencil for you!

01) Caran D’ache Pastel Pencils – 84, Multi-Coloured

With Wooden Gift Box

Caran d'Ache Colored Pencil & Wooden Gift Box main image


  • Pastel pencil set of 84
  • Beautiful wooden gift box
  • Dry pastel pencils
  • Rounded hexagonal pencil
  • Blue wool standard scale
  • ASTM D4236 standard


Caran D’ache pastel pencils are one of the best pastel pencils available in the market. This exclusive set of 84 pastel pencils comes in a wooden gift box.

The very rich and vibrant colors are also lightfast are perfect for skilled artists and art enthusiasts. These pastel pencils are highly recommended for blurred effects, transparency and subtle color blends.

  • Creamy and soft texture
  • Rich and vibrant pigments
  • Blends easily
  • On the expensive side
  • Easily smudged


Due to the easily smudged feature, I found the pastel pencils fantastically expressive to use, but at the same time also hard to use for creating outlines and fine details.

I also felt the price to be a little too expensive perhaps for anyone not wanting to seriously invest.

However, if you are that someone who loves to invest in good quality pastel pencils and is not focusing on using these for fine details, Caran D’ache pastel pencils are still possibly the best pastel pencils for you.

I absolutely loved them and now use them pretty much every day.

02) Derwent Pastel Pencils, Drawing & Colouring, Set Of 72

With Wooden Gift Box, Ideal For Blending & Colouring, Professional Quality

Derwent Pastel Pencil box and case photo


  • Pastel pencil set of 72
  • Fine wooden gift box
  • Professional pastel pencils
  • Pastel chalk pencils
  • Water-soluble/watercolor pencils


Derwent pastel pencils are high-quality professional pastel pencils that have a chalky texture. These highly pigmented, water-soluble pastel pencils are lightfast, smudge-free and vibrant in colors.

The blendable soft pastels are ideal for almost everyone whether they’re professionals or amateurs.

  • Softer hues
  • 87% lightfast
  • Smudge-free
  • May be difficult to sharpen


Derwent pastel pencils are always on my list as one of the best pastel pencils to invest in. The smudge-free, chalky, powdery texture gives a premium professional touch to every artwork.

The powdery texture may cause difficulty to sharpen the pastel pencils but it’s negligible if you consider the quality of the pastel pencil.

03) CRETA COLOR CRETACOLOR 470 Fine Art Pastel Pencils

72 Colours, 3.8 mm, Multi-Coloured

CRETA COLOR CRETACOLOR 470 Fine Art Pastel Pencils main image


  • Set of 72 colored pastel pencils
  • Pastel chalk pencils
  • Lightfastness
  • Soft pastels
  • Grease-free


The Cretacolor pastel pencil has a powdery, chalky texture that makes them easy to blend pastels and gives a smooth-velvety finish. These grease-free pastel pencils also have high lightfastness full pigmentation.

These are perfect to draw fine details. Fixation is recommended / necessary.

  • Best for fine details
  • Full pigmentation
  • Velvet-smooth stroke
  • Fixatives recommended/needed


Cretacolor pastel pencils are one of my go-to pastel pencils for fine detail works although they need fixation.

If you’re looking for the perfect pastel pencil for fine detail and are okay with fixating your work after drawing, Cretacolor could be hands down one of the best pastel pencils for you.

04) STABILO CarbOthello Pastel Pencils (Premium)

Tin of 36 Assorted Colours

STABILO CarbOthello Pastel Pencils (Premium) main image


  • 36 assorted colors in a tin
  • Chalk pastel pencils
  • Dry and dusty stroke
  • Charcoal-like feel
  • Partially aquarellable


STABILO CarbOthello pastel pencils offer a vibrant range of colors that are unique in texture at an affordable price. The dry and dusty strokes of the pastel pencils give a charcoal-like feeling, unlike soft pastel pieces.

These pastel pencils are equally pigmented and lightfast even when used with a brush and water. They create dramatic effects when used on a dark background or pastel paper.

  • Highly pigmented colors
  • Unique texture
  • High lightfastness
  • Not great for fine point
  • Can be a bit messy


I found the STABILO CarbOthello pastel pencils to be well worth trying. These premium artist-grade pastel pencils are versatile art supplies that I had a very fun time using.

However, you should keep in mind when going for these that they are not the perfect kind for any detailed artwork. If that’s not an issue for you then STABILO CarbOthello premium pastel pencils could be a great addition to your pastel pencil collection!

05) Faber-Castell PITT Pastel Pencils

Tin Of 60

Faber-Castell PITT Pastel Pencils main image


  • Tin of 60 assorted pastel pencils
  • Dry pastel pencils
  • Compact economical lead
  • Wax and oil-free
  • Emphasizes muted shades and earthy tones


Faber Castell Pitt pastel pencils are dry pastel based. These wax and oil-free colors are highly pigmented and best for fine details because of their compact lead.

Faber Castell pastel pencils are always easily blended and what was great was, these Pitt pastel pencils, consisting mostly of muted shades and earthy colors, only required minimal fixation.

  • Highly pigmented
  • Great for finer details
  • Mess-free
  • Minimal fixing is needed
  • Not great for bigger coverage
  • Difficult to sharpen


I found the Faber Castel Pitt pastel pencils to be excellent for pastel detailed works. However, they are not great to cover a larger area.

Faber Castell pastel pencils are less messy compared to other pastel pencils but they still need a minimal fixation. So, if you’re someone who can put up with these facts, feel free to give them a try!

General Information About Pastel Pencils

What are pastel pencils?

Pastel pencils are basically the pencil form of pastel colors. They are easy to use and less messy, unlike pastel sticks. Pastel pencil is great for fine linings and details. They are also used to draw and sketch and can be a better alternative to traditional pastel sticks.

Different types of pastel pencils from soft pastels to chalk pastels

There is a wide range in terms of different types of pastel pencils. There’s Hard pastel, Soft pastel, Oil pastel and Chalk pastel pencils. Every type has a different texture and works very differently on paper. It is very important to pick up the right type of pastel pencil for each particular job.

How to use pastel pencils?

As we already know that there’re different types of pastel pencils for different needs, so it’s very important to know when to use what.

If you’re opting to draw finer lines, you should use soft pastel pencils as they’ll help you create more detailed work.

On the other hand, Chalk pastel pencils allow you to blend like the conventional pastel sticks which is great for covering a larger area.

Users of pastel pencils

Pastel pencils can be used by literally anyone and everyone with an interest for art, regardless of their age or profession. There are different types of pastel pencils that have been made keeping a wide range of users in mind. There are pastel pencils for expert artists, students and even for children. Anyone who wants to have fun using pastel pencils can find the perfect type for them and enjoy their time using pastel pencils.

Professional Grade vs. Student Grade Pastel Pencils

Among the various kinds of pastel pencils, the two most common and important types are professional pastel pencils and student grade pencils. The professional-grade pastel pencils are made for expert artists who need and expect exclusive quality and also who can afford the price for the amazing experience of using the premium pencils.

While the student grade pastel pencils are for all the students who need to use the pencils on a daily basis to learn their craft and maintain school works.

The most significant differences between these two categories are the lightfastness, quality of pigment and the basic formula of the pastels.

Conclusion / Roundup

As I round up, you can see that finding the best pastel pencils is not an easy task. It requires adequate knowledge about the pastel pencils as I have discussed, giving some general information about them. Ample information about the particular brand is also needed which has also been mentioned throughout my review of different pastel pencil brands.

I hope with the help of this guide you’ll be able to find the best pastel pencils that match your ability and expectations.

To conclude my journey of discovering the best pastel pencils, I would like to say that it’s not about just the best pastel pencils or the most popular pastel pencils, it’s about the one you like the most of according to your requirements.

So, choose your set of pastel pencils wisely considering its features, pros and cons just like I’ve discussed above.


What are the best pastel pencils brand?

With the abundance of art materials brands, choosing pastel pencils brands that’d be best for you is quite a task. You can still rely on some of the popular brands that have been serving for a long time now and gained immense faith from the consumers.

Some of these brands are Caran D’ache pencils, Noor Gioconda pastel pencils, Conté à Paris pastel pencils, STABILO CarbOthello pastel pencils and Faber Castell pastel pencils.

Which pastel pencils are the softest?

Answering this can be tricky as you can’t really tell without trying out every pastel pencil available in the market which is the softest. In fact, most of the time the same brand has different types of pastel pencils including soft pastels, hard pastels and chalk pastel pencils.

However, from my research of the best pastel pencils, you will find that CRETACOLOR 470, Derwent Pastel Pencils, Faber-Castell Polychromos and STABILO CarbOthello pastel pencils are some of the soft pastel pieces.

How to sharpen pastel pencils?

Sharpening your favorite pastel pencils can be a very complicated and tiring process if you don’t know how to do it according to their type. There are various ways to sharpen your pastel pencils.

According to the preference and the type of the pencil, some people use a traditional pencil sharpener and others use an electric sharpener. Some people also use sandpaper or a cutter to sharpen the softer pastel pencils to avoid breakage. There are also special sharpeners available in the market to sharpen pastel pencils.

What type of paper should you use with pastel pencils?

The quality and texture of the pastel pencil also depend on the medium it’s being used on. As pastel pencils are mostly used on paper, choosing the right kind of paper is also as important as choosing the right pastel pencils.

Textured papers are known to be good for most pastel pencils. Mixed media paper and pastel papers have some great options for better results.

Are pastel pencils worth it?

Buying art materials can often raise the question of their worth. But whoever has the slightest interest in art, buying pastel pencils is definitely worth it for them. In that case, one has to be wise enough to choose the right pastel pencils for them.

So, if you have ‘the heart for art’ and want to try out better art materials to improve your art, choose pastel pencils that meet your requirements and it’ll be definitely well worth everything.

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Written By Adam Rushton

Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.