best colored pencils for artists and students

Are you still looking for the best colored pencils so that you can start creating all the  masterpieces swimming around in your head? Whether you’re a professional or amateur artist, we have you covered.  Below this, I’ve provided a convenient list and reviews of colored pencils for artists and students that I personally recommend to others.  I have found these to be the best and most economical from my personal experience.  I’ll explain the pros and cons of each pencil set and what you should expect and my favorite colored pencil brand.

Quick Comparison List of Best Colored Pencils

Here is a quick table & honest reviews on the best colored pencils for artists and students.

# Product Rating Price Recommended For: Lead Type
1 Faber-Castel Polychromos Colored Pencil Set 5/5 $$$ Professional Artists Oil Based
2 Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils 4/5 $$ Professional Artists Wax Based
3 Ohuhu Colored Pencils 4/5 $ Intermediate Artists Wax Based
4 Caran D’ache Luminance 5/5 $$$$ Professional Artists Wax Based
5 Artist’s Choice 120-Pack Colored Pencils 3/5 $ Cheapest / Most Pencils Wax Based
6 Lyra Polycolor 4.5/5 $$ Professional Artists Oil Based

Here are the Best Colored Pencils for artists - brand Faber Castel

1)  Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils

  • Check out our Polychromos review here.  This is one of are TOP recommended choices for people if you are serious about colored pencils.
  • Professional Grade used by professional artists.
  • These pencils are OIL BASED and are therefore more expensive.  Oil base pencils are great because they protect your art from “wax-bloom”.  Wax-bloom is when color is built up too much which creates a white haze on your artwork.  You can layer and layer as much as you like without having to worry about it.  Pencils are waterproof and smudge proof.
  • The leads are HARD and DENSE unlike the soft Prismacolors and do not break. As a result they last a lot longer than Prismacolor ones.  These pencils are more expensive, however, they will last longer. They hold a point and you really don’t have to sharpen them as much which is a major plus if you’re doing any color work.
  • CON: You have to get use to drawing and coloring harder than normal wax colored pencil sets.  Once you get use to it, these pencils are an artist’s dream.
  • These pencils blend perfectly without needing a gamsol.
  • Different sizes, 60 colors to 120 colors in this set – You might be thinking that you want more pencils in your set, but with their easy blending, 60 colors is really all you need to make any shade you want.
  • FINAL WORD:  A lot of artists swear by these.  One of the best colored pencils for artists.  From my experience, they are awesome, blend awesome, and save A LOT OF TIME since you don’t have  to sharpen all the time like the Prismacolors. However, my reason why they are not first is that I am still trying to get use to them as I have always been use to soft pencils in my work.    If these fit up to your preferences, these colored pencils are a no brainer to get and are worth every penny vs the Prismacolor ones.

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2)  Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

  • These pencils are professional artist grade and are a top choice for colored pencil artists. Check out the video below of a famous artist on youtube who uses these consitently.
  • Vibrant & Intense pigments
  • Smaller to Larger Sets: 48, 72, 132, or 150 pieces
  • The lead to paper action is extremely smooth and provides a remarkable even cover.  Prismacolor pencils are known for their awesome abilities for blending.  You will be sharpening a lot compared to the Faber-Castell though.
  • CON:  The lead breaks a lot.  A lot of people have issues with this.  Also, the lead doesn’t last a long time and you’ll find yourself sharpening a lot.  Because of this, I can’t say that this is the best colored pencils set.  For the price though, these are still a good colored pencil offering professional results.
  • Wait, do serious artists use these?  Yep, you better believe it, with some amazing results! See the below youtube video.

Here is the FAMOUS Heather Rooney who uses Prismacolor pencils

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Colored Pencils for coloring your art work

3)  Ohuhu Marco Raffine Colored Pencils – 72 Pieces

  • This is a nice set if you want a good mix of affordability and quality.   These are not the absolute best colored pencils for artists, however, they are almost as good as Prismacolors and for the price, you really can’t beat it.  They are pretty much on par.  Perfect if you’re just starting out in the world of colored pencils and want to see if you like them before making the committment of buying a more expensive set.  If you like Prismacolors but don’t have the money, then this is the set for you!
  • Soft Core, graphite and clay mixture.

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Colored Pencils - 120 pieces

4)  Artist’s Choice 120-Pack Colored Pencils

  • If you’re looking for the MOST colored pencils for the best price.
  • These aren’t really the best colored pencils for artists and I’d recommend the first two brands if you’re anything of a serious artist.
  • I don’t really recommend these for serious artists, even though they are still pretty good quality and you can still make lovely artwork.  Still a decent set for beginners to intermediates.
  • How do they compare to Prismacolor pencils? Prismacolors blend better than these, have a softer core, and scratch the paper less.

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If you’r a serious artist who is looking for the best colored pencils for artists, then I would highly recommend the prismacolor pencils and the Faber Castell – oil based ones.  The Oil based ones are a little tricky to get use to, however, some of the best colored pencil art work is created by Faber Castell ones.  Take a look at some of the famous youtubers online who are professionals at colored pencils! They are either using Faber Castell or Prismacolor.  Hope this was helpful!

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