Best Pastel Pencils

Best Pastel Pencils

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) Derwent Lightfast Colour Pencils

Professional Quality, Wooden Box Set of 100

Derwent Lightfast Colour Pencils main image


  • Professional pastel pencils
  • Pastel pencil set of 100
  • Comes in a wooden box
  • Oil-Based core
  • Lightfast, pigmented colors


Derwent Lightfast Colour Pencils are made specially keeping the professional artists in mind. The premium wooden box of 100 vibrant pastel pencils are oil lightfast pastels that are claimed to comply with ASTM 6901 and Blue Wool Scale ISO 105.

Although it’s a must-have for professionals, anyone can have a fun time coloring with these pastel pencils as they assure smooth textures, fine points and pigment purity.

  • Comply with ASTM 6901 and Blue Wool Scale ISO 105
  • Pigmented colors
  • Fine point
  • Too creamy (if that’s possible)
  • Abundance of neutral colors
  • Upscale pricing


Derwent lightfast color pencils are definitely one of the most exclusive professional grade pencils in terms of quality and features.

Those who like premium lightfast pigments that are very smooth to use and perfect for fine details, can without a doubt go for these.

02) Faber-Castell Polychromos

Wooden Case – 72 Pencils

Faber-Castell Polychromos main image


  • Pastel pencil set of 72
  • Comes in a uniquely designed exclusive wooden box
  • Lightfast
  • Oil pastels
  • Create soft hues


Faber-Castell Polychromos comes in a very alluring wooden packaging that’s not only aesthetically pleasing but also practical and easy to carry around.

The set of 72 vibrant, soft pastel colors are smudge-proof, water-resistant and breakage resistant. They’re also assured to be acid-free and unsurpassed lightfast pigments making them serious contenders for the best pastel pencils.

  • Smudge-proof
  • Water-resistant
  • Soft hues
  • May seem to be overpriced


Faber-Castell Polychromos are definitely worth buying according to me if you consider the quality and usefulness.

Although it might seem to be a little too pricey for children and non-professionals, it’s a great choice for professionals and art enthusiasts and definitely one of the best pastel pencils available.

03) Caran D’ache Pastel Pencils – Set of 40

Blend and layer for various effects

Caran D'ache Pastel Pencils main image


  • Set of 40 assorted pastel pencils
  • Dry pastel pencils
  • Large lead
  • Best sharpened with a cutter
  • Comply with ASTM D4236


The exclusive set of 40 pastel pencils from Caran D’ache are great for professional artists. Their wide range of vibrant colors are super smooth and have a creamy texture with high lightfastness.

These pastel pencils are a great choice for professionals as they comply with ASTM D4236. These certainly deserve consideration as one of the best pastel pencils given the various effects that can be created upon blending and layering them.

  • Excellent Lightfastness
  • Vibrant colors
  • Pigment purity
  • Expensive


For a premium experience of drawing with pastel pencils, Caran D’ache pastel pencils are without a doubt the best pastel pencils in the market.

If you want the best quality and can afford the premium price of the Caran D’ache pastel pencils, I would suggest you definitely give these a go.

04) Derwent Pastel Pencil 72 Wooden Box

Easy to mix and blend

Derwent Pastel Pencil  main image


  • Set of 72 pastel pencils
  • Lightfastness
  • Blue wool scale
  • Round barrel shape
  • Soft and powdery texture


The set of 72 pastel pencils by Derwent is one of the go-to pastel pencils for any professional or even non-professional artist. Derwent is known for its quality pastel pencils…and this set’s no different.

The soft, powdery texture of the pastel pencils makes it so easy to mix. The lightfastness of the soft pastel pencil is also commendable as always.

  • Soft pastel
  • Easy to mix
  • Mess-free
  • Less vibrant in color


In my opinion, Derwent is hands down one of the best pastel pencil brands in the market. Starting from amateurs to professionals, I think everyone would agree with me if they were to try these Derwent pastel pencils.

Although it could be a little expensive and the color vibrancy may seem to be not enough for some people, the quality is definitely worth the money.

5) STABILO CarbOthello Pastel Pencils

Chalk-Pastel Colored Pencils with Wooden Case. Highly pigmented colours

STABILO CarbOthello Pastel Pencils main image


  • Set of 60 in a wooden case
  • Chalk pastels
  • Can be blended dry or using water
  • Charcoal like feel
  • 4.4 mm diameter lead


The STABILO CarbOthello pastel pencils have a very unique texture of chalk pastels. Unlike soft pastels, they can be blended very smoothly with water or even dry.

The exclusive texture of the chalk pastel gives the feeling of charcoal pencils. They are very pigmented, lightfast and give a premium look to every piece of artwork.

  • Unique texture of chalk pastels
  • Vibrant colors
  • Very high pigment purity
  • Not so great packaging


I think the STABILO CarbOthello pastel pencils are well worth trying as they are pretty affordable compared to its competitors of similar quality and features.

Although the wooden case of 60 pencils might seem to be jam-packed and tough to use, it can be easily overlooked considering the quality and price.

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.

Which other pastel pencils should be considered?

Other top quality pastel pencils that didn’t quite make the list are, Conté à Paris Pastel Pencils, Koh-I-Noor Gioconda Pastel Pencils and Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel 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.