The Best Colored Pencils for Artists in 2021

Best Colored Pencils

You might think of colored pencils as an art tool for kids. But colored pencils have much more to offer at any age! Many professional artists use colored pencils to achieve breathtaking, realistic results. You can blend, layer colors, and much more if you have the best colored pencils.

But how to choose the best color pencil art set? You’ll find a wide range of pencils, professional drawing pencil sets, as well as watercolor pencils on the market. You might only have heard of Crayola colored pencil set, but there’s much more on the market. You’ll find everything from affordable colored pencils to high-quality colored pencils for artists such as Caran d’Ache and Faber Castell.

You should look out for high-quality and artist grade products that allow you to blend colors and create layers in your art. But pencils should also be durable and not break easily. Ideally, they should glide smoothly across the paper for a polished result. Plus, you need colored pencils that fit your budget. 

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How to Choose the Best Colored Pencils for Artists?

When you’re shopping for colored pencils, there are a few things you’ll need to conceder.

Firstly, take a close look at how thick the pencil lead is. A thin lead will allow you to create intricate details. On the other hand, a thicker tip will enable you to shade areas more quickly.

The Best Colored Pencils Artists - Beginners to Professional

How Can You Tell the Quality of Colored Pencils?

The shape of the pencil is also critical for your comfort. But this is more down to your personal choice of what feels nice in your hand. You can find round, triangular, and hexagonal pencils.

Don’t overlook the toughness of the pencil, either. A hard lead will be more durable and will last longer. But you might not get as much color transfer and bright shades as a softer pencil.

Here is My Round-Up of the Best Colored Pencils.

Check out these reviews to find the perfect set of colored pencils for your needs!

The Best Colored Pencils for Artists – My Reviews

Caran D’ache Set of 84 Pastel Pencils In A Wood Box

The Best Colored Pencils to Use for Beginners to Professional Artists

(Image credit: Caran D’ache)

The Caran D’ache pastel colored pencils are a luxury set. They are suitable for both professional artists and enthusiastic hobbyists. This set of 84 pencils doesn’t come cheap, but it’s worth the splurge. These gorgeous pastel colors are highly blendable for a flawless image. 

With 84 colors to choose from, you won’t be missing any essential shades. You can use these Caran D’ache pencils for landscapes or portraits. The colored pencils are lightfast, and the colors are very bright and vibrant. They come in a lovely wooden box which protects them.

  • Beautifully soft pastel colors
  • Blend easily for amazing results
  • Expensive

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Faber-Castell Polychromos Artists’ Color Pencils

Best colored pencils for artists - Faber Castell

(Image credit: Faber Castell)

If you’re on a tighter budget, the Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencil set might be what you’re looking for. They are very affordable. That makes them ideal for students who want to practice with colored pencils. If you’d like more colors to choose from, these pencils also come in sets of 60 and 120.

These Faber Castell Polychromos oil-based colored pencils are easy to work with. You can create seamless blending, layers, and transitions. There’s no risk of getting the bloom effect that wax pencils can produce. Also, the leads are thicker and water-resistant, so these Faber Castell colored pencils are durable and will last a long time.

  • High-quality, bright pigments that last
  • Durable pencil leads don’t break easily
  • The leads are too thick for fine details

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Staedtler Karat Aquarell Workshop 60 Watercolour Pencils

Best colored pencils for artists - Staedtler

(Image credit: Staedtler Karat)

This set of Staedtler Karat Aquarell pencils comes in a sturdy metal box. There are 60 different colors on every shade of the rainbow, making this set versatile. The watercolor pencils hit the balance just right between softness and durability. You can blend them beautifully, and the leads are break-resistant.

These pencils feel nice in hand and travel smoothly across the paper. You can also use them alongside your watercolor paints for a unique look. If you’re looking for a beginner set of pencils for a low cost, go for these colored pencils. You won’t regret it!

  • Versatile pencils that range from soft to hard
  • Easy to use and blend
  • Not the broadest range of colors in the set

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Derwent Watercolor Colored Pencils

Best colored pencils for artists - Drewent

(Image credit: Derwent)

The Derwent watercolor pencils come in sets of 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72 pencils. These high-quality pencils are some of the most expensive out there. But if you’re on a tighter budget, you can treat yourself to a small set to start.

You can achieve incredible results with these colored pencils. They blend and layer easily, and they’re water-soluble. Artists love these pencils for creating watercolor effects. In this set, you get a vast range of colors. So, you’re not limited to what you can draw with these colors! They also have break-resistant leads, so they will last longer. It’s also useful that they don’t roll!

  • A good range of colors 
  • They come in a handy portable case
  • The colors don’t look as bright on regular cardstock (use high-quality paper)

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ARTEZA Colored Pencils, Professional Set of 120 Colors

Best colored pencils for artists - Arteza

(Image credit: ARTEZA)

The ARTEZA color pencils are perfect for anyone from students to professionals. You get 120 different colors, allowing you to create any shade you can imagine. The pencils are a joy to blend, with a smooth result. The colors are vibrant and sharpen easily. They also hold their point well, so you can achieve subtle detailing. You even get some metallic colors, which are fun to use!

It’s easy to keep your pencils neat and tidy in the metal tin with removable trays. Every pencil is individually numbered, so you can find the exact pencil you’re looking for in no time.

If you’re looking for a wide color choice at a reasonable price, the ARTEZA colored pencils fit the bill!

  • Bright colors that don’t fade
  • Excellent storage box
  • Don’t glide as smoothly as some other pencils

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Stabilo Carbothello Pastel Pencil, 60-Color Set

Best colored pencils for artists - Stabilo

(Image credit: Stabilo Carbothello)

Another affordable option is the Stabilo Carbothello pencil. In this set, you get 60 different colored pencils at a low price. There’s a good mixture of shades. You’ll have no trouble picking out the perfect color from the well-organized case. 

You can create exactly the effect you’re after with these pencils. Use them lightly for shading or layer them up for a more vibrant result. The colors are vibrant and bright. Also, the leads have a wide diameter of 4.4.mm, making them less likely to break

The Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils compare well against premium colored pencil brands. You can get a great set of pencils for a much lower cost if you buy these! 

  • The pigments are of high quality and true to life
  • Excellent pencils for drawing small details
  • There are no labels or numbers on the pencils

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LYRA Rembrandt Polycolor Art Pencils

Best colored pencils for artists - Rembrandt

(Image credit: LYRA Rembrandt)

It can be hard to find oil-based colored pencils at a good price, but that’s what these LYRA Rembrandt pencils are. They produce bright colors and are easy to apply smoothly to the paper. You can create amazing drawings and illustrations with this set of artist pencils.

These pencils are very soft and are excellent for blending. They are also versatile, allowing you to work on a range of different materials with no problem. Bear in mind that you will need to sharpen these oil pencils more often. 

  • Great value for money
  • Fantastic lightfastness
  • Not the best range of colors

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Marco Renoir Fine Art 100 Colors Colored Pencil

Best colored pencils for artists - Renoir

(Image credit: Marco Renoir)

This set of Marco Renoir Fine Art grade colored pencils comes in a set of 100 colored pencils. A pencil would cost a little over $ 1, making them fantastic value for money. With 100 different colored pencils at your fingertips, there’s no limit to what you can draw. 

Oil based pencils are easy to use and don’t create that unattractive ‘bloom’ effect, like wax pencils. These fine art color pencils produce uniform colors that you can layer or blend however you like. Each pencil has a strip of color around the bottom, allowing you to locate the right shade quickly. You can store them all in a beautiful metal case, so you don’t lose them.

  • Excellent price for oil based pencils
  • Every shade you could ever wish for
  • Due to their round shape, they can roll away

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Best Colored Pencil Sets for Coloring Book Enthusiasts and Professional Artists

(Image: Adult coloring books)

The Wrap Up

So there you have the best colored pencils for artists that are available right now. Buy one of these sets so you can start exploring what colored pencil sets.

If I have to make a choice, I’d go for Caran d’Ache or Faber Castell. You’ll create beautiful artwork If you’re using any of these artist grade pencils.

Drop me a comment below to let me know which of these pencil sets you prefer. Or, share some of your own colored pencils art! I’d love to see it!

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My name is Outmane Amahou, 2D / 3D graphic designer and artist.
I like drawing and painting. I'm an avid reader of books in various fields such as creativity, innovation, and technology.
I have a great appreciation for minimalism in art, design, and life.
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