Top 10 best colouring pencils!

As colourists, obviously we’re obsessed with all things colouring pencils! They are a really versatile and strong tool for colouring, allowing you to blend and shade beautifully, build lots of layers, and take advantage of an incredibly wide range of colours. Find out more in our ultimate guide to colouring pencils and read our how to colour guides for using colouring pencils.

Like most art supplies, there are lots of different types and brands of colouring pencils available on the market. That’s why we’re bringing you our guide to the top 10 best colouring pencils!

Don’t miss our free Beginner’s Guide to Colouring PDF – full of tips and tricks for new colourists, and 12 beginner friendly colouring pages to get you started!

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Prismacolor pencils

1. Prismacolor colouring pencils

If you’re into colouring, you’ve likely heard of Prismacolor pencils. They are a wax based pencil with soft, thick cores. This means they are soft and perfect for delivering a strong pigment and bold colours! The colour range that this brand offers is phenomenal, with 150 colours, meaning that there is a great range of mid-tones to help you blend!

They’re on the higher end of the price scale, but we think that for the quality, colour range and blending capabilities, they are well worth it.

Arteza pencils

2. Arteza pencils

For someone on a budget the Arteza pencils are a must-have! Coming in at around £40 for 72 pencils, the value for money that these pencils offer is fantastic. These colouring pencils are incredibly high quality, professional feeling pencils with amazing colour payoff and they perform fantastically on paper of all kinds.

Arteza pencils are fantastic for colourists for all levels, whether you’ve just started or you’ve been colouring for years, and can now be bought in individual colours so you can replace just one colour if needed.

Faber Castell Polychromos

3. Faber Castell Polychromos pencils

If you’re a keen colourist it will come as no surprise to you that the Faber Castell Polychromos are on this list. They are one of the most high-end pencils featured, but this is due to the excellent quality and durability of the pencil. They are oil based, waterproof, fantastic to blend, non-smudge and come in 120 colours that are colour matched across all other Faber-Castell lines.

These are a great option for an intermediate colourist looking to invest in a high quality set of pencils!

Black Widow Pencils Dragon pencil set

4. Black Widow Pencils

Another low budget and high quality option we love are the Black Widow Pencils. They have a smooth, almost creamy feel to them and this leads to rich colour application. The smoothness of the pencil means that blending using these pencils is a dream.

One downside of this range of pencils is the slightly limited colour range offered in each set, but for the price point they are a fantastic product for a beginner or intermediate colourist, and the iconic brand regularly releases new pencil sets to continue adding more colours to their collection. Each new set brings all new colours to the Black Widow collection, so you’re never doubling up by having multiple sets.

Derwent inktense pencils

5. Derwent Inktense

As the name suggests, the Derwent Inktense pencils are definitely intense! They are also an incredible watercolour pencil option. Although they are on the pricier side, the ink based lead means that when mixed with water they can create a highly pigmented and bright colour. You simply colour with normal to light pressure, add water using a brush and enjoy the beautiful colours.

As always with watercolour pencils, be sure to add a few sheets of card behind your colouring page to prevent damaging the paper below, and be careful not to use too much water.

Staedtler Ergosoft pencils

6. Staedtler Ergosoft

A great low budget choice is the Staedtler Ergosoft pencils. These pencils are fantastic and offer ergonomical comfort with their triangular shape. They also offer a great balance of softness, making them great for both detail and blending. Although the colour range is somewhat limited, these pencils come with a really handy slotted case, and the lead inside is break resistant, making these an excellent choice for beginner and intermediate colourists.

Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils

7. Caran d’Ache Luminance

The Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils are a whole other level of pencil. Although they are a high budget option we believe they are most definitely worth it. With a smooth, water resistant lead these pencils can bring both strong pigmented colours and work well to blend. Where they perform best is when layering different colours over each other and blending.

These are a great choice for an intermediate colourist looking to up their colouring game.

Castle Arts colouring pencils

8. Castle Arts colouring pencils

Another fantastic set to try are the Castle Arts colouring pencils. A popular choice among colourists and for good reason, these pencils have a lot going for them. They are very soft and velvety to use, creating highly pigmented colours and blending with ease. The colour range this brand offers is fantastic too coming in sets up to 120 pencils. For the professional quality of these pencils, the price is reasonable and affordable.

Most recently, Castle Arts have released their premium Gold pencil set, designed to be a top quality oil-based pencil, compared to the original wax-based Castle Arts pencils.

Marco Raffine pencils

9. Marco Raffine

If you love a pencil like the Polychromos but are on a budget, Marco Raffine pencils are the choice for you! They have an oil based lead like the Polychromos and are therefore a fantastic pencil for blending. The colour range for these pencils is also fantastic with sets ranging all the way up to 72 pencils for a very reasonable price.

KOH-I-NOOR colouring pencils


10. KOH-I-NOOR colouring pencils

The KOH-I-NOOR Polycolor pencils are another cheaper alternative to Polychromos or Prismacolor pencils and perform well for the price point. They are a wax based pencil with a soft lead and although their blending capabilities are not the best of all the pencils on this list, they still are pretty fantastic.

They are a great pencil for detail due to their ability to retain a fine point and the lead is a perfect level of softness that it can create strong pigments but not wear down a pencil quickly. Overall, a great option.

Enjoyed this round-up of the top 10 best colouring pencils? You’ll love our guide to the top 10 best colouring pens and markers!

Coloured a beautiful page and want to share it with your friends and family? Take a look at this article about how to photograph colouring pages.

Don’t miss our free Beginner’s Guide to Colouring PDF – full of tips and tricks for new colourists, and 12 beginner friendly colouring pages to get you started!

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