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The Ultimate Colored Pencil Review

Noelle Lucia has been a writer and author for over 10 years. She wears a lot of different hats and uses her experience to fuel her writing.

What Can You Do with the Right Tools?


Colored pencils are a must in any artist's arsenal of tools for creating colorful pieces. Colored pencils are offered in a wide range of hues and are fun to blend and easier to work with than crayons. However, there are a lot of brands on the market and it can be difficult to choose which one might be best. Compiled here is a list of the most common colored pencil brands and their pros and cons; to help artists make the right decision.

Cra-Z-Art Colored Pencils



Cra-Z-Art colored pencils are standard wood pencils with wax inserts. For just 10 bucks, an artist can get 72 different colors in one pack, which is one of the best varieties out there. However, the colors are not vibrant once they meet the paper and sharpening the pencils often results in broken leads. They are not of fantastic quality.

Crayola Colored Pencils


Crayola pencils are student-level pencils but still offer a vibrant color and strong insert that does not break when sharpening. While they are not butter-smooth like some professional brands, they are a great value for their low price and durable nature.

Sargent Art Colored Pencils


Sargent Art pencils provide another great variety of colors, as much as 52, for a low price. They are durable when sharpened but their coloring quality and vibrancy suffer. An artist must apply tremendous pressure to get a bright color out of the pencils, and even then, they do not come out bright. Sargent Art is not the best quality product.

Faber-Castell Colored Pencils


What sets Faber-Castell apart is the triangular shape of the pencils for easy grip. They are very easy to sharpen, with strong leads. Much like Crayola, they are vibrant yet strong. They are one step up from a student-grade pencil and the quality in color shows. Overall, they are a good investment for an artist who has a budget.

Staedtler Colored Pencils


These are the strongest of the scholastic pencils, with their triangular grip, like Faber-Castell. The color is very vibrant and the leads are specially protected against breaking. The grip can be uncomfortable, but overall, they are a great budget pencil.

Derwent Colored Pencils


These pencils are professional quality, so the colors are extremely bright. The leads glide smoothly across paper so not much pressure is needed to achieve wonderful hues. The leads are difficult to break, but require a lot of sharpening in order to complete a job. They are not as cheap as Crayola, but well-worth the investment.

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils


Prismacolor is another professional brand, and one of the best, at that. The soft leads are buttery and smooth, while leaving an extremely vibrant color. They are ideal for shading and blending and are perfect for artist's work. While they are the best quality, they are a higher price. However, they are beyond worth the investment.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Prismacolor are worth the investment for serious artists, as they would not have a better experience with any other pencil. However, for a hobby-colorer on a budget, Crayola or Faber-Castell would be a wonderful start.

Take the Poll!


yelromcc on September 10, 2019:

I'm sorry but you dont know very much about pencils if you are lumping Derwent and Faber-Castell in an article with Crayola and other cheap and nasty pencils. You are also not mentioning different lines the brands have. For instance, Derwent has over a dozen lines of professional pencils from scholastic Academy to Lightfast, Watercolour, Inktense, pastels, charcoal, oil based, wax based, tinted graphite, tinted charcoal etc.. Also Faber-Castel have many different lines as well from decent cheaper pencils to top of the line professional lines. You completely miss out Caran d'Ache which are the cream of the crop!!! I don't intend to appear rude but not much effort has been put into the "Ultimate" guide to coloured pencils. Also, is that drawing of an eye your own work? If not you are missleading the reader and could be breaking copyright!!

Bobbie Austin on January 30, 2017:

Prismacolor. These colors are very smooth golng on.