Best Colored Pencils

Best Colored Pencils

On the lookout for the best-colored pencils?

Here are my highly recommended top 5:

Colored pencils are a medium of drawing that you have most likely have used somewhere along the lines of your childhood or even into adulthood. This suggests that to some degree you may know of what a good quality colored pencil feels like.

Perhaps what you may not know is that it can get better, it always can. This review guide will talk about some of the best colored pencils you can find on the market.

From artist-grade colored pencils for artists to pencils for beginners, we will color you in on what are the best colored pencils you can get your hands on.

Listed below are my top 5 best colored pencils that I believe are tried and tested to be top of the line for artists of all calibre.

01) LZQDM Professional Colored Oil Pencils

520 Colors Set

LZQDM Professional Colored Oil Pencils main image


  • Set of 520
  • Easy to hold
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Labeled pencils


The LZQDM set is an incredibly large and versatile set of colored pencils, promising to deliver rich and vast coverage for all your art projects.

Additionally, they claim you have a fine point every time you sharpen your pencils even though they are soft. This claim is based on the fact that they are sturdier than most other soft colored pencils available.

  • Vibrant colors
  • Smooth texture
  • Versatile color selection
  • On the expensive side


Among the most expensive pencils for artists, this pencil set is definitely up to the mark in terms of quality and selection of colors.

Overall if you can afford the entire set it’s a great purchase especially if you can get your hands on an offer online.

02) CREATIVE ART MATERIALS Caran D’ache Luminance Colored Pencil Set

Set of 80 in a Wooden Box

CREATIVE ART MATERIALS Caran D'ache Luminance Colored Pencil Set main image


  • Set of 80
  • Comes in a wooden box
  • 2 blenders and 2 graphite pencils included
  • UV resistant
  • Can be blended easily


The Caran D’ache Luminance colored pencil set is a versatile selection of vibrant colors. The box includes 80 high-quality colored pencils with vibrant and rich pigment.

Compared to many colored pencil sets, you are getting a decent amount of pencils for a very reasonable price.

  • Easily blendable
  • Sturdy wooden box
  • Lightfast and smooth
  • More towards the expensive side


The set is a whole round-up package of regular colored pencils for artists. However, just because they are regular it does not, by any means, mean they are inferior to other colored pencil brands. The pencils glide easily and are overall great colored pencils with a wide range of colors.

It stands to reason when paying the premium you are getting premium artist-grade pencils. The set is definitely worth considering if you are interested in high-quality durable premium pencils.

03) Derwent Colored Pencil Gift Set

Limited Edition Collection Box, 120 Count

Derwent Colored Pencil Gift Set main image


  • Box of 120 pencils
  • Watercolor pencils that are water-soluble
  • Comes in a sturdy wooden storage box
  • Set includes various types of coloring pencils


The Derwent colored pencils have a collection of 120 pencils that are extremely versatile in terms of purpose and color. This limited edition collection box contains a dozen colors, each one containing different shades included in the set.

The set contains individual pencils for various other purposes such as sketching and graphic sketching too. Optimal in fine detail work as you can work the nooks and crannies of your art with the additional versatile pencils and equipment provided in the set.

  • Watercolor pencils provide vibrant color
  • Similar coverage to wax-based pencils
  • Great range of colors
  • The pencil lead may be prone to breaking easily


Among pencil sets, Derwent is one of the most versatile sets you can find on the market. With over a dozen colored pencil shades, a blender, a burnisher, and more included in the set. This makes it difficult to not suggest to anyone who is looking for a complete all in one solution for convenience.

Overall, definitely worth every penny especially at this price point. The value for money you are getting for this set is definitely hard to ignore.

04) Faber-Castell Polychromos Artist Colored Pencils Set

Premium Quality Polychromos Colored Pencils 120 Tin Gift Set Includes Pencil Sharpener

Faber-Castell Polychromos Artist Colored Pencils Set ain image


  • Set of 120
  • Stored in a sturdy tin box
  • High-quality pencils
  • Vegetable oil-based colored pencils


You probably have used many a good colored pencil over the years but if you haven’t used Faber – Castells you probably haven’t experienced some of the best pencils from one of the best colored pencil sets. Their quality reigns supreme over most pencils.

This set features higher-quality pencils that are recommended by most professional artists. The oil-based pencils apply amazingly without any signs of wax bloom.

  • Vibrant artist-grade colored pencils
  • Great for layering colors
  • Professional colored pencils
  • May have some availability issues


The Faber Castell set of 120 vegetable oil-based colored pencils provide all that fine artists need as far as very high-quality pencils offer to provide. Their pencils contain more pigment and are break-resistant.

Overall, a great purchase if you can find them in stock. If you ever come across one of these sets it’s best advised to sweep them up because almost everybody wants to get their hands on these artist-grade pencils.

05) Caran d’Ache Pablo Colored Pencil Set

120 Count, Includes Metal Box

Caran d'Ache Pablo Colored Pencil Set main image


  • Set of 120
  • Rich and creamy texture
  • Lightfast
  • Water-resistant
  • Wax-based lead


The Caran D’Ache Pablo Colored pencil set includes a set of 120 wax-based colored pencils. As opposed to many colored pencil sets using both wax-based and oil-based pencils in their sets, this set sticks to just one.

This feature solely depends on the artists’ personal preference as one might worry about wax bloom issues when it comes to wax-based lead. However, the brand boasts of having no wax bloom in their products ensuring all the pencils of the set have the perfect lead for whatever project you are working on.

  • Vibrant colors
  • Versatile selection of colors
  • Sturdy metal box for ease of keeping
  • Slightly pricey


The Pablo set is great for artists all across the board. The pencils are sturdy and the lead is hard so you can sharpen it to a very fine point if you so please for your extra detailed projects.

Overall, despite being a little bit on the pricier side these will fit any purpose be it a solo project or adult coloring books with their bold colors. They are on the side of the harder pencils, so you don’t have to worry about breakage.

General Information About Colored Pencils

Why are colored pencils so popular?

Colored pencils are very popular simply because of their ease of use and accessibility. There is not much to learn or discuss and most of the time it depends on your own intuition when it comes to drawing or coloring. You probably have used them in your early teen years or adolescent life as well.

Differences in quality

The difference in quality is imperative between cheap products, budgeted products and high-end products. Keep in mind there is a difference between cheap and affordable products and the key difference is budget deals offer decent usability and cares about what sort of experience you have while working with the products, but if you do have an uncapped budget you are able to then look at sourcing the higher standard products which ultimately give better results.

Soft pencils vs hard pencils

The key difference between the two is the super sharp pinpoint that you would or would not prefer for your coloring. In the event you want that sharp tip to retain without instantly breaking, you would go for a hard pencil. Soft pencils on the other hand are used for coloring in and blending and so forth.

The different types of colored pencils:

Wax-based colored pencils

It has a waxy consistency and is generally lightfast and easy to blend. They are soft and creamy in texture and are an absolute delight to apply on surfaces.

Oil-based colored pencils

Oil-based pencils are less popular than wax in terms of colored pencils. They are harder than wax-based colored pencils thus retaining sharp points better without breaking them as easily.

Watercolor pencils (also known as water-soluble pencils)

They are without the wooden encasing and have a similar feel to crayons. Maybe the best coverage you may get is a piece of paper around the stick so you don’t get all messy when you hold them.

Pastel pencils

Pastel pencils are basically pastel instead of lead and are enclosed in wood as a normal colored pencil would. The application of it is as you would expect pastels to be like. With the binder chalk and pigment present, you are greeted with vibrant color, unlike any other colored pencil.

Conclusion / Roundup

In conclusion, as mentioned before, your preference may depend on intuition and feeling. Maybe you would instantly fall in love with Faber Castell’s products as I have or you would have an affinity for Arteza colored pencils or Crayola colored pencils if you are more into coloring for fun and relaxing.

Something that you may not do that often.

In various scenarios, it’s important to keep in mind why you are purchasing the mentioned products. The reasoning behind your purchase will hopefully then lead you to what sort of coloring pencils you are going to settle for.


What is the best color pencil brand?

It is quite difficult to make that call and pick ONE best color pencil brand rather than a few carefully curated best mentions. Some of the best brands are mentioned in this review guide such as Faber Castell and Castel Art,

Are Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils or Faber Castell better?

It is purely subjective as preference can simply not be objective. But popular demands still exist and are evaluated by the pros for you. Prismacolor Colored Pencils have wax as their binder and that is the most popular in colored pencils. Fabercastel instead uses wax-based binding which is not as popular but still considered better.

What is wax bloom?

Wax bloom is a natural oxidation process that occurs while working with wax-based soft pencils. This is a genuine concern for many artists as it is akin to the result of rust but instead, it’s on paper. You clearly do not want this wax bloom, white stain to affect your beautiful masterpiece and would like to retain the structure and look for as long as possible.

Always keep an eye out for products that do cause this effect and avoid purchasing them.

What are artist grade colored pencils?

This is a question we often get asked at Big Red, and the answer isn’t simple. There are many types of pencils that call themselves artist-grade or professional artist quality, and not all of them produce the same results. Some brands offer extremely high-quality color pencils for professional artists, while others may be marketing “student” or “hobbyist” pencils as artist-quality.

The truth is, there are many levels of quality available when it comes to colored pencils.

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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.