Oil based coloured pencils.
The best oil-based coloured pencils.
Quick introduction …
Many artists think that oil-based coloured pencils are better than regular coloured pencils. This is true for a few reasons: they have richer colour saturation, they are good at blending colours together, and the pigment doesn’t break down as quickly in them as it does with regular pencils.
If you want richly saturated colours without having to use acrylic paints on your paper, then oil-based pencils would be best for you.
I have experimented with oil pencils for many years, using a variety of brands at a variety of price points. My personal favourites for professional work have to be the “Faber-Castell Polychromos” coloured pencil – reviewed first in the “top 5” below without a doubt – but it’s well worth a read through to see the pros and cons of the other oil coloured pencils I have featured too.
Disclaimer – This website contains affiliate links. If you find the information useful and click on a product link and make a purchase, a small commission will be earned by Big Red Illustration
Coloured pencils – Top 5 picks for oil-based pencils:
1.Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil
Artists’ colour Pencils – professional grade pencil
- Tin of 120 oil coloured pencils (dark colours through to lighter shades)
- Premium Quality Artist Pencils
- Metal Storage Tim
- light fast – UNSURPASSED LIGHTFASTNESS
- EASY TO BLEND
- BREAK RESISTANT LEADS
- FABER-CASTELL QUALITY ART MATERIALS
- coloured pencils Made in Germany
This set of Polychromos artists pencils is an excellent choice if you are looking for a VERY high-quality pencil that will blend easily and give you rich colour. This set is my go-to for illustration colouring, and blending – highly recommended!
One of the reasons I like to use these coloured pencils is because they do not break as easily as others and maintain a sharp point, compared to wax-based pencils I’ve used. The colours are vibrant and they sharpen well.
You can use these pencils for a number of techniques such as cross hatching and shading. These pencils make a great addition to anyone’s artist arsenal, you certainly will not be disappointed.
They are not the cheapest as you would expect for the quality they offer, but they are worth the extra cost (smaller tins are available too if the extra cost if the full set is an issue, always better to get quality over quantity). Check below for the most competitive price:
2. Brutfuner Colouring Pencils
- Set of 120 / 160 Depending on availability
- Soft Core Oil Based Coloured Pencils
- For Adult Colouring Books, Artists, Sketchers & Kids
- Practical storage box
When I tried these I was relatively impressed with how rich the colours are. There are quite a few metallics which is great for added depth and dimension. These are great if you want to get a rich colour saturation, and they’re great for blending oil-based colours together. If you love painting with oils, these pencils will give you an easier time and provide a smoother application than any other type of pencil on your paper.
The best part about this set is the variety of colours – there’s something for everyone in this box. The colours are very vibrant, but not overly saturated so that they interfere with one another; and on top of that, you get quite a variety of different shades.
3. Art-N-Fly – 48 Oil Based Coloured Pencils
- For Adults & Artists
- Professional Pencils for Drawing, Sketching and Colouring Books
- Soft Core Art Pastel Pencils Set
- Metal Case
Providing a rich colour saturation, these Art-N-Fly pencils did a superb job of some of the test projects I tried out, from realism, comics, and neo-traditional paintings. It has 72 colours in total and the pencils are smooth with a creamy texture, perfect for blending the oil based colours together.
My favourite feature of this pencil set is that it has a colour chart on the inside of the tin for quick and easy identification. I can recommend this set to any artist as their starter kit or even as a gift because it is affordable and an excellent quality set with many benefits.
4. Derwent Lightfast coloured Pencils – 36 Pack (2302721)
- 100% lightfast coloured pencils
- Revolutionary core
- colour blending – a vibrant colour which can be mixed on the page to create a paint-like effect.
- Rich colour selection – pencils come in a tin containing 12 colours.
- Derwent Heritage – Since 1832
- British Made coloured pencil brand
As an artist, I’ve experimented with a large number of oil-based pencils. The Derwent range did not disappoint. Here are some features which you may find useful about the Derwent set:
The pencils are creamy and cover/layer well.
I was able to cover a large background area quickly.
They can be blended well and the set provides beautiful rich colours!
Although the palette at this time is limited to 36 colours they can be blended together to achieve other desired colours.
I am finding that the softer lead of the Derwent pencils is better for coverage and the Polychromos (mentioned above) for detail lines but they both blend and layer beautifully with an oil painting quality.
Not worrying about lightfastness is a bonus. I use them for professional art/illustration and not for adult colouring books but imagine that they would also be very good for that use depending on the quality of the paper.
5. Castle Art Supplies Gold Standard 72 Colouring Pencils Set
- Professional Oil Based Coluored Pencils
- For Colouring Books, Drawing Arts & Sketching,
- Colouring Pencil for Adults and Kids
- Easy colour identification
- Rich colouring effects / vibrant colour
- Premium quality oil coloured pencils
- Great price!
I’ve been using these coluored pencils for about a month now and they’re surprisingly good for the price. The colours are beautiful and vibrant and the blending is seamless. If you love oil-based media, then these pencils are a must-have – they help you achieve the colour quality as well as the blending that is so desirable in this medium.
Of course, there are more expensive/higher quality options out there, but for a budget option these oil-based pencils offer outstanding performance at a great price point, and in my opinion, even outperform some mid-level products
Coloured pencil FAQ’s
1.What are oil-based pencils and what makes them different from regular pencils?
Oil-based pencils are the type of pencils that you would use to create a painting with oil paint style finish. These types of coloured pencils are made for blending colours together, layering and shading.
2.Why you should use these types of pencils
Oil-based coloured pencils are perfect for people who want the vibrance of oil paint, without the mess. These types of pencils have a different texture than regular ones. They’re great for blending colours together and creating a more painterly effect.
3. Drawbacks to using these types of pencils
One of the drawbacks to oil based pencils is that they tend to be a bit pricey compared to regular pencils. Also, if you are looking for clean crisp lines, these types of pencils may not work for you.
4. Who would benefit the most from using these type of oil coloured pencils
People who want a richer colour saturation in their drawings would benefit from using these pencils. They are also perfect for people who are interested in painting with oil because they’re good at blending colours together. This is the type of pencil that you would be using instead of regular coloured pencils. Artists illustrators, students and hobbyists will all benefit from using oil pencils for their artwork.
5. How to choose which colours will best suit your needs
When choosing a coloured pencil, remember that different coloured pencils have different properties. For instance, the softer the lead the more likely it is to spread. There are also some brands of coloured pencils that break down faster than others due to the pigments they contain.
Make sure to closely look at all of these factors when choosing a particular set of coloured pencils or even individual colours. It isn’t always just about getting the most vivid or richest colours of coloured pencil; you may find that you’ll need a specific set of colours for your project and may not want to use extra colours on top of them.
6. Which brand of oil coloured pencils is best for beginners, intermediate, or advanced users
The best colours for beginners are probably the Crayola ones (not reviewed here as we are looking at the “best” from a professional artist’s point of view). Intermediate users will enjoy using Magicfly pencils which are reviewed above, and more advanced users will enjoy using Faber-Castell Polychromos or Derwent Artists pencils, again reviewed in more detail above.
7. Where to find a good deal on oil coloured pencils and coloured pencil sets (online retailers)
One good way to find a good deal on a certain product is to look online. This is because there are many online retailers, so you have more options. The reviews of the product will also give you feedback from other buyers, which can be helpful when trying to figure out if the price of the product is worth it or not. To take the guesswork out and for your convenience, I have provided direct links which take you to the products so you can make a purchase if you wish.
8. The pros and cons between oil-based coloured pencils and other forms of art like acrylic paint or watercolour painting
Anyone who is interested in drawing or painting with oils will find that an oil-based coloured pencil is great option. Oil-based pencils are perfect for those who want the accuracy of a pencil and they give a rich colour saturation without having to use paints.
There are, however, some downsides to using this type of pencil. They will never give the creative flexibility or freedom that oil paints will and they do not cover as quickly or easily as oil pastels.
9. Pencil type – Wax based pencils vs oil based pencils
Oil and Wax based coloured pencils – What’s a Binder?
Wax-based pencils and oil-based pencils differ due to the binder used. The binder as you would expect holds the colour pigment together which then allows it to be coated onto the paper or art surface.
Choosing the right coloured pencil for your project can be tricky. Personally, I love using oil-based ones rather than wax based coloured pencils, due to the texture, how they blend and the vibrance of the colours.
Oil coloured pencils are difficult to erase whereas wax is generally easier which should be a factor to keep in mind.
Coloured pencil art
Here is a Demo of coloured pencil art:
Conclusion – Oil based coloured pencils
If you are looking for a rich colour saturation in your artwork, try out some of these oil-based coloured pencils. They’re great for blending colours and creating different effects than regular coloured pencils can. If you want to create high-quality artwork, then this type of pencil is what you need!
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.