Prismacolor pencils are arguably the best coloured pencil option on the market. They have soft and thick cores that make them great for blending and shading and they deliver bold, highly pigmented colours.
The Faber Castell Polychromos pencils are another popular pencil on the market. They’re waterproof and non-smudge and have been colour matched to all other Faber-Castell lines.
Crayola coloured pencils offer an affordable and accessible option for beginners or colourists on a budget. They are tough pencils so don’t break easily, but you will struggle to do lots of blending with these colours. For their price, they offer a good colour pay off and with their 100 piece set you have a relatively large colour range.
WHSmiths colouring pencils are great for an affordable set of pencils which is perfect if you’re just trying out this medium. You’re able to layer the pencils and they have strong leads. The downside is that they’re not lightfast which means they’ll fade over time and open stock is also not available, so you can’t replace single pencils.
Arteza Expert Coloured Pencils are a great high quality pencil for a surprisingly low price. They have brilliant colour payoff and perform well on a range of paper textures. Each pencil has its own lightfast rating but the pencils are not available on open stock so must be bought in sets of 48 or 72.
There are a large range of colours available with the Derwent Artists coloured pencils. They are vivid colours and blend extremely well as well as allowing you to layer colour. They are a reasonable price for the quality of pencil you receive.
The Lyra Polycolor pencils are a great set of pencils with a high coverage pigment. The colours go down soft and creamy but have strong leads that don’t tend to break. The lightfast rating of these pencils is impressive and they’re sold In a wide variety of set sizes; 12, 24, 36 and 72.
Black Widow have three sets of coloured pencils with different colours in each. They all have good colour output and application is relatively smooth. The colour range is a little yellow heavy but with all three sets you have a good range of the colour spectrum.
The Chameleon Colour Tone pencils are double ended pencils that have two shades in one pencil so all you have to do is flip your pencil round to shade your picture. They’re highly pigmented colours and layer well. However there are only 25 pencils (50 colours) available and they don’t have open stock.
The Holbein Artist coloured pencils come in a wide range of pack sizes; 12, 24, 36, 50,100 and 150. They are extremely soft and buttery in their application though this does mean that they don’t blend well and it can get a bit messy after a couple of layers. If blending isn’t for you though these colours have a vibrant colour output.
The Caran d’Ache Luminance coloured pencils are extremely vibrant, offering brilliant colour payoff and great layering ability. The colours also have incredible lightfastness. The quality of these pencils is reflected in the price tag, you can expect to pay a premium price for these.
The Winsor & Newton Studio Collection coloured pencils are a wax based pencil but have a soft core with great coverage. They have great layering abilities and blend brilliantly. The pencils come in sets of 12, 24 and 48 and currently they’re not available in open stock.
Conte coloured pencils are one of the most budget brands on offer, a great budget pencil for beginners that come in a maximum pack of 24 pencils. The downside of these pencils is that they’re not very clearly labelled so it can be hard to identify the right colour. They have quite a hard lead which makes it more difficult to get lots of pigment onto the page. These pencils are however advertised as a children’s pencil, so they’re not trying to be an artist’s pencil.
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