Oil based colored pencils.

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The best oil-based colored pencils.

Quick introduction …

Many artists think that oil-based colored pencils are better than regular colored pencils. This is true for a few reasons: they have richer color saturation, they are good at blending colors together, and the pigment doesn’t break down as quickly in them as it does with regular pencils.

If you want richly saturated colors without having to use acrylic paints on your paper, then oil-based colored 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 favorites for professional work have to be the “Faber-Castell Polychromos” colored 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 colored pencils I have featured too.

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Colored pencils – Top 5 picks for oil-based pencils:

1. Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil

Artists’ Color Pencils – professional grade pencil


  • Tin of 120 oil colored pencils (dark colors through to lighter shades)
  • Premium Quality Artist Pencils
  • Metal Storage Tim
  • Colored 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 color. This set is my go-to for illustration coloring, and blending – highly recommended!

One of the reasons I like to use these colored 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 colors 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 in 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 of the full set is an issue, always better to get quality over quantity). Check below for the most competitive price:

2. OOKU Professional Colored Pencils

Student grade pencils


  • 120 Pc Artist Color Pencil Set
  • Perfect for Artists & Adult Coloring
  • Rich Pigments
  • Soft Core 3mm Lead
  • Anti-Break colored pencils
  • Oil Based Colored Pencils

This is a really well pigmented, complete ‘coloring pencils set’ of 120 vibrant colors. It’s really great that there are no duds in the color range and they work great with blending, layering, and shading.

This set has been made for artists of all skill levels who want to use it for sketching, creating line illustrations, or finishing final art pieces.

The coloring pencils themselves have round barrel tips which I personally like – it makes them easier to grip than other types of barrels. Hexagonal tipped pencils can feel uncomfortable on your fingers/skin when you’re working on something over long periods of time.

They are not expensive, so a great choice for a range of artists from beginner, the student all the way through to professional.

3. SCHPIRERR FARBEN 96 Colored Pencils


  • Color Pencil Set
  • Professional Grade colored pencils
  • Named & Numbered oil colored pencils
  • Oil Based Soft Core
  • Ideal For Adults, Artists, Sketchers, Children, Coloring Sketching & Doodling

The SCHPIRERR FARBEN 96 Colored Pencils are a very good choice for artists. These pencils are made of soft, break resistant cores. The core makes the pencils perfect for shading and shadows.

These artist quality colored pencils provide you superb quality, high pigment and excellent value for your money. Because these pencils have a good balance of colors, they can work well with any type of coloring project that you as an artist may be working on.

The colors in this set are vibrant and bright so they will blend well with any other color to produce the desired results. I would definitely recommend them to fellow artists and illustrators – the colored pencils set is high quality, a great price and has a really good variety of colors!

4. Derwent Lightfast Colored Pencils – 36 Pack (2302721)


  • 100% lightfast colored pencils
  • Revolutionary core
  • Color blending – vibrant color which can be mixed on the page to create a paint-like effect.
  • Rich color selection – pencils come in a tin
  • Derwent heritage – Since 1832
  • British Made colored 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 be 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 colors!

Although the palette at this time is limited to 36 colors they can be blended together to achieve other desired colors.

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 coloring books but imagine that they would also be very good for that use depending on the quality of the paper.

5. Magicfly 72 Colored Pencils


  • Professional Oil Based Colored Pencils
  • For Coloring Books, Drawing Arts & Sketching,
  • Coloring Pencil for Adults and Kids
  • Easy color identification
  • Rich coloring effects / vibrant color
  • Premium quality oil colored pencils
  • Great price!

I’ve been using these colored pencils for about a month now and they’re surprisingly good for the price. The colors 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 color 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

paint brushes

Colored pencil FAQ’s

1.What are oil-based colored pencils and what makes them different from regular pencils?

Oil-based colored pencils are the type of pencils that you would use to create a painting with oil paint style finish. These types of colored pencils are made for blending colors together, layering and shading.

2.Why you should use these types of pencils

Oil-based colored 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 colors together and creating a more painterly effect.

3. Drawbacks to using these types of pencils

One of the drawbacks to oil based colored 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 colored pencils

People who want a richer color 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 colors together. This is the type of pencil that you would be using instead of regular colored pencils. Artists illustrators, students and hobbyists will all benefit from using oil pencils for their artwork.

5. How to choose which colors will best suit your needs

When choosing a colored pencil, remember that different colored pencils have different properties. For instance, the softer the lead the more likely it is to spread. There are also some brands of colored 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 colored pencils or even individual colors. It isn’t always just about getting the most vivid or richest colors of colored pencil; you may find that you’ll need a specific set of colors for your project and may not want to use extra colors on top of them.

6. Which brand of oil colored pencils is best for beginners, intermediate, or advanced users

The best colors 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 colored pencils and colored 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 colored pencils and other forms of art like acrylic paint or watercolor painting

Anyone who is interested in drawing or painting with oils will find that an oil-based colored pencil is great option. Oil-based pencils are perfect for those who want the accuracy of a pencil and they give a rich color 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 colored 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 color pigment together which then allows it to be coated onto the paper or art surface.

Choosing the right colored pencil for your project can be tricky. Personally I love using oil-based ones rather than wax based colored pencils, due to the texture, how they blend and the vibrance of the colors.

Oil colored pencils are difficult to erase whereas wax is generally easier which should be a factor to keep in mind.

Colored pencil art

Here is a Demo of colored pencil art:


Conclusion – Oil based colored pencils

If you are looking for a rich color saturation in your artwork, try out some of these oil-based colored pencils. They’re great for blending colors and creating different effects than regular colored pencils can. If you want to create high-quality artwork, than 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.