Best Colored Pencils For Realistic Drawing

Best Colored Pencils For Realistic Drawing

Ease your search for the best colored pencils for realistic drawing. Check out these top 5 picks to choose from

Colored pencils are a fantastic medium – they are easy to use, the cleanup time is minimal and you get exposure to the wonderful world of color for fine artists.

Most colored pencils for art projects are made with wax or oils and are fade resistant, but with so many great pencil set brands of colored pencils available, it can be confusing to determine which colored pencils you should go with.

The best colored pencils are a must-buy for any artist, whether you’re working professionally or drawing for fun. They’re also a great present for children to help them develop their creative skills.

With the high-quality results, you get from the best colored pencils, you’ll be able to layer up and blend colours precisely, improving the quality of your work. You’ll find increased enjoyment when doing tasks like shading, hatching, cross-hatching, as well as more advanced techniques like rubbings and burnishing paper.

The best colored pencil for coloring books are a mix of hard and soft pencils, but in this article, we’ll be focusing on finding the best colored pencils for realistic drawing with superior quality.

01) Prismacolor Class Pack Wood Colored Pencil

Soft, smooth leads for realistic drawing with superior blending and shading

Prismacolor Class Pack Wood Colored Pencil main image

Prismacolor Colored Pencils for artists are widely considered to be the leading colored pencils in terms of quality for cost. The quality of these pencils tends to match or come close to the more expensive colored pencils which are tailored to seasoned artists.

These are my number one all-round pick for the best artist grade colored pencil set for artists.

You really can’t go wrong with these high-quality colored pencils.


  • High-quality artist-grade colored pencils designed for both beginning artists and seasoned crafters
  • Soft, smooth leads for superior blending and shading
  • Rich, vibrantly pigmented colors and hardened cores that resist breakage
  • 12 scholar pencil sharpeners keep the pencils sharp and feature a translucent, easy to empty body
  • These professional colored pencils pack include 576 colored pencils in 24 colors


Everyone from beginning art students to experienced crafters will love the silky smooth texture and strong, supple leads of Prismacolor Class Pack Wood. Each of the 48 coloring pencils features hardened cores packed with vivid pigment for less breakage and a more rich color laydown.

At the same time, the creamy leads allow developing artists to experiment with blending and shading.

Start your artistic journey today with Prismacolor Class Pack Wood.

  • AffordablennAvailable in most leading art retailersnnReliable quality (the company has a very proven track record)
  • Tend to leave a wax bloom (as they are wax-based)nnThe lead is so soft it tends to breaknnNo individual pencil holders in the tin making it pretty worthless as a carry casenn


Great quality for students to start with as beginners before using the Premier ones.

The variety of shades for each color is perfect for beginners as they are wax-based colored pencils and leave a wax bloom.

All pencils come undamaged and sharpen nicely.

02) Faber-Castell Polychromos Artist Colored Pencils Set

Premium Quality Polychromos Colored Pencils For Realistic Finishes. 120 Tin Gift Set Includes Pencil Sharpener

Faber-Castell Polychromos Artist Colored Pencils Set ain image

Faber-Castell has a strong reputation for quality and makes some of the best-coloured pencils around. This set is my favourite, featuring high-quality, acid-free pigments in bright colours, with excellent lightfastness (resistance to fading when exposed to light). These pencils have a soft, vibrant colour laydown and are both water-resistant and smudge-proof.

A thick 3.8 mm core offers high break resistance, and the wooden barrels are protected with a water-based ‘eco’ varnish. These pencils are available in a wide variety of pack sizes, from 12 to 120. They make a perfect couple with Faber-Castell’s Albrecht Durer Watercolour Pencils, which are among the best watercolour pencils.


  • Bright & Clear Color
  • Faber Castell-Polychromos pencils set in a metal tin.
  • Color pencils can be laid down with delicate or strong strokes to unfold their vibrant colors.
  • The leads are bonded to prevent breakage.
  • High quality professional colored pencils for artists.


Faber-Castell was established in 1761 by the cabinet maker Kaspar Faber, it is one of the oldest industrial companies in the world. The company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of wood-cased pencils with a varied range of products for writing, drawing and creative design, as well as decorative cosmetics. Faber-Castell is renowned for its high quality, innovative products, commitment to tradition, and environmental awareness.

Lothar Von Faber took over the family business in 1839. He is remembered, in particular, as a pioneer of the branded article who in creating his own brand name set a new standard. Today the eighth generation family member Count Anton-Wolfgang Von Faber-Castell took over as head of the company in 1978. He has been instrumental in new product development and the expansion of international activities. Count Faber-Castell takes delight in rediscovering products from the past and recreating them with timeless design and modern technology.

  • Water-resistantnnHigh lightfastnessnnSoft but vibrant colours
  • On the expensive endnnWax-based pencilsnnTend to leave a wax bloom


Its oil-based pencils can be blended with a pencil blender, baby oil, spirit, etc. yet the pencils are very hard, don’t break easily and stay sharp for a longer time.

Only the white and the black ones are less opaque. Every other colour is too good to be used.

The pigmentation of these pencils is very true to colour.

03) Derwent Colored Pencils, WaterColour

For Use Creating Real, Natural Pieces of Artwork. Water Color Pencils, Drawing, Art, Metal Tin, 72 Count

Derwent Colored Pencils main image

With a round 4mm, velvety-soft core, Derwent’s Coloursoft Colored Pencils are one of the best colored pencil sets for art projects and they are ideal for building up colour quickly. They’re highly blendable, and thanks to their break-resistant core, you can also sharpen them to a fine point. All this makes them perfect for a variety of projects, including still-life drawings and contemporary landscapes.

These soft colored pencils are available in a large variety of sizes, from 6 to 72. They’re also available in a presentation box, which is ideal for giving as a gift. 


  • Versatile, professional-quality colored pencil in a range of vibrant colours.
  • Perfect for professional artists and amateurs of all ages
  • Coloursoft range: Derwent’s softest colouring pencil
  • Ideal for broad application and build-up of colour
  • Easy-to-grip round barrels fit standard pencil sharpeners


Derwent Coloursoft are highly versatile, vibrant colored pencils with a soft strip for a quick and dense application of bold vibrant colour. The pencils enhanced formulation makes them highly blendable. Coloursoft can be used for a wide range of drawing styles, from bold landscapes to detailed illustrations.

  • LightfastnnWide range of pack sizesnnAttractive metal box
  • Soft leads require carennThe internal trays are a bit flimsynnWax-based pencils so may leave a waxy bloom


These are extremely soft core pencils and are pretty easy to blend together.

Good for beginners and great for intermediate level. Well worth the money.

04) Nyoni Oil Based 120 Colored Pencils Set

For Professional Artist, Beginners, Students Excellent Coloring, Realism, Natural Finish, Blending, Layering Ability

Nyoni Oil Based 120 Colored Pencils main image


  • 120 different colors of pencils with one small sharpener and an eraser in the package. Rich color selection to meet your needs
  • Carefully selected mineral lead cores, free of impurities and easy to color; solid wood shaft and special glue core technology make the lead core difficult to break.
  • High color concentration, not easy to fade; carefully selected raw materials, safe and environmentally friendly; the iron box packing is simple, fashionable and beautiful.
  • Covering a total of 120 colors oil-based color pencils, it can meet the needs of beginners to professional drawers


  • Fashionable and beautiful design, reliable iron box packaging
  • The body of the pen is painted with harmless paint
  • The cylindrical pen holder is more comfortable to hold
  • Natural color, high color fastness, not easy to fade
  • Professional color core, pure and bright colors to meet the painters for professional brush color
  • Nyoni products are manufactured according to strict quality standards, high reliability
  • Excellent raw materials, exquisite workmanship, elegant and beautifulnnHigh color fastness and strong coveragenn3.7 mm cores is easy to sharpen without breaking
  • Moderate to high price rangennThe internal trays are a bit flimsy


These are gorgeous, beautifully made oil-based pencils. The color payoff is amazing (VERY vibrant and saturated, with just one light pass/application), they blend effortlessly, and are a delight to use.

This high-quality pencil set comes in a very nice metal box. Each of the 3 trays of pencils has a stacking plastic tray, each of which has grips on the side to make it easy to pull trays out.

05) Castle Art Supplies 120 Colored Pencils

For Realistic Artwork | Quality Soft Core Colored Leads for Adult Artists, Professionals and Colorists | In Neat, Strong Carry-Anywhere Zipper Case

Castle Art Suppliesmain image

These round-barrelled pencils from Castle Arts offer first-rate blending and layering qualities, making them our pick as colored pencils available today. With a soft-touch finish, they’re comfortable to use over long periods and produce smooth, creamy hues. Furthermore, they stay sharp for longer than most pencils, and the colours are clearly labelled so you don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find the right one. They come in a protective, fabric zip-around case, and there’s even a tutorial that teaches you how to draw the picture on the front of the box. 


  • Ultimate range of 120 pencils arranged in color families; named, numbered and color-coded for unerring selection: flip up your choice of pencil from the 3 layers of the handsome presentation tin box.
  • Latest advanced formulation by in-house artists and technicians results in cores with soft, buttery laydown that also defy crumbling under pressure and hold their point.
  • Intensely pigmented, rich, creamy colors for smooth coverage and effortless layering, blending and burnishing to add texture and achieve the perfect shade – on paper, eggshell, canvas, wood and more.
  • Unique fold-out tutorial enables you to refine your colored pencil skills by re-creating the stunning Camelot illustration on the sleeve cover.
  • Tested by studio experts to beat competitors. Trusted by ultimate judges – 1.5 million customers worldwide; backed by a unique money-back-PLUS guarantee.


A Castle Arts high-grade tin box is a gift to treasure and a pleasure to use. Open the 3-hinged lid bearing a striking Medieval Castle illustration and reveal the pencils set out on trays, named and numbered for easy selection. Artist-grade, break-defying leads in an enticing range of intense pigments encased in soft-touch basswood barrels for clean, easy-to-hold control. The pencils are super-sharpenable and hold their point for detailed coloring.

  • Smooth blending.nnGood layeringnnNo crumbling or breaking
  • Pencils are in their own holdernnSlightly on the expensive side


This is a fantastic addition to the art world. Those of us who are into adult colouring may not be true artists, but we do appreciate quality and value.

They are very nice to use. Soft enough to lay down well without being scratchy. Also variable with pressure so you can get a nice feel as to what effect or intensity you want.

General Information About The Best Colored Pencils For Realistic Drawing

The best colored pencil for realistic drawing are those with a wide range of colors, the finest points, and a soft lead. They should also be wax-based so that they can be blended easily. Some of the best brands of colored pencil for realistic drawing include Caran d’Ache, Crayola colored pencils, Faber-Castell and Prismacolor.

When shopping for high-quality pencils, it is important to keep in mind the type of paper you will be using them on. If you are using smooth paper, then you will want a pencil with a softer lead so that it can glide over the surface easily. If you are using textured paper, then you will want a pencil with a harder lead so that it can grip the paper better.

As with any other type of drawing, it is important to experiment with different colors and techniques to see what works best for you. There is no one right way to draw, so feel free to mix and match different colors and techniques until you find what works best for you. Happy drawing!

Conclusion / Roundup

There are a lot of factors that you need to consider when choosing the best colored pencils for realistic drawing. The brand, the type of lead, and the quality of the pencil are all important factors to consider.

The best colored pencils for realistic drawing are those that have a fine lead. This will allow you to create smooth, consistent lines. The lead should also be soft enough to create rich, saturated colors.

The brand of colored pencils is also important. Some brands use higher quality materials than others. These pencils will usually be more expensive, but they will also perform better.

When it comes to choosing the best colored pencils for realistic drawing, the quality of the pencil is just as important as the brand. Some pencils are made with better quality materials than others. These pencils will usually cost more, but they will also produce better results.

The best way to find the best colored pencils for realistic drawing is to read reviews online like this. ..and remember to keep checking regularly as we post weekly reviews that will hopefully help you make an informed decision about which other art materials are the best for your needs.


How long do colored pencils last?

Artist grade colored pencils, typically last for at least two to five years, based on if used sparingly or not at all. Store them carefully in a cool, dark place and they may last much longer.

Conversely, the more that colored pencils are exposed to heat or sunlight, the faster they will absorb moisture and dry out. This will make the lead brittle and difficult to use. 

How do you sharpen a colored pencils?

Colored artist grade pencils, with soft leads should never be sharpened to a long point because they are more likely to break. Instead, use a mechanical pencil sharpener (never an electric one) and sharpen to a short point.

Test out different sharpeners to find the one that works best for you and your colored pencil.

What are colored pencils made of?

Colored pencils with mixed colours whether they be watercolor pencils or pastel pencils are made of a wood casing with wax-based colored pencils, oil-based colored pencils, or water-soluble binder and a pigment that creates the art medium color.

What’s the best kind of paper to use with colored pencils?

The best type of paper for colored pencils varies by preference, drawing style, paper surfaces, skill level and personal preference.

And just one last top tip when looking for professional colored pencils

When looking to practice your colored pencil skills look to select professional-grade colored pencils. I favor soft colored pencils with a fine point which allows me to concentrate on achieving high levels of multiple layers and detail.

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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.