What are the best coloured pencils?

“What are the best coloured pencils”? A question asked by many aspiring artists. There are so many different brands to choose from it is really hard to know what to get. So, based on other artists comments, recommendations and opinions, below are some of their favourites and why they prefer them.

The best coloured pencils for beginners?

Prismacolour Premier pencils.

What are the best coloured pencils to buy?

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Prismacolour premier coloured pencils tend to be less expensive than other brands. This makes them a popular choice among coloured pencil artists just starting out. They have a wide spectrum of colours that provide an artist quality end product which is why they are so popular and suitable as a beginner’s coloured pencil. Prismacolour premier is a soft pencil with a thick buttery core. Perfect for shading, shadows and laying down smooth lightfast colours. The lightfastness, however, does vary from pencil to pencil. The richly saturated pigments, produce excellent even colours making blending easy. The pencils also come in a wide range of colours depending on the size of the set you choose.

However, artists have also mentioned that some pigment centres are misaligned. This makes them hard to sharpen and to get a decent point on. Also, core softness varies in some colours and cores break easily. Others mentioned stray bits of different coloured pigments in some of the cores. These can mark your work if not spotted, they also said that the cores can drop out of the sleeves. The sleeves themselves can also be of poor quality and warped or split. Prismacolor’s also well known for wax bloom.

However, a lot of coloured pencil artists are more than happy with Prismacolor coloured pencils. Apart from the price, they say that pencil quality varies. It can also be down to the luck of the draw as to whether or not the pencils you get are up to scratch. A lot of the artists choose them from stock, buying them individually ensuring that each pencil is perfect before buying.

How to fix Prismacolor coloured pencil cores.

With regard to cores breaking Sanford who make Prismacolor suggests putting the pencil in a 250 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 3 to 10 minutes. After which, turn the oven off to let them cool down naturally and the core will reform.

Intermediate artists?

Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils

Faber-Castell 120 Polychromos Artist Colour Pencils in Wenge-Stained Wooden Case

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For both beginner and intermediate artists, the Faber Castell Polychromos pencils are another popular artists choice and come highly recommended. However, they are more expensive than the Prismacolor pencils but the quality is far more superior. Despite the above. Deciding what the best colour pencils for beginners are, always comes down to the fact of what the artist can afford at the time. Hence perhaps, the popularity of the Prismacolor, despite their known flaws.

The Polychromos pencils have an oil-based lead that is harder than the Prismacolor. Because of this, you won’t get good solid colour with your first application. Instead, you will need to layer up as the Polychromos pencils are slightly more opaque. Applying more pressure to the pencil will serve no purpose, but instead, flatten the tooth on the paper. There is also a greater risk of breaking the lead, so patience is key. On the plus side, the harder leads allow you to achieve greater details in your work. This makes them suitable for portraits and fur. They are also more forgiving in terms of correcting mistakes as the colours are easier to lift. As the leads oil-based there is no wax bloom with Polychromos pencils. The cores bonded, reducing breakage, highly pigmented and highly light-resistant with high-quality acid-free pigments.

Professional coloured pencils.

Caran Dache Luminance 6901 coloured pencils.

Caran Dache Luminance coloured pencil set.

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A favourite among professional artists, Caran Dache’s Luminance coloured pencils 6901. Luminance 6901 is a superior quality pencil that makes them more expensive than both the Prismacolor and Polychromos pencils.

The Caran Dache Luminance coloured pencils are a wax-based coloured pencil with a smooth water-resistant lead that is capable of producing maximum coverage. Although waxed based the pencils are over 30% pigment thus making sure that they feel different from other wax pencils. Its high pigment concentration produces bright and intense colour allowing you to create vibrant and intense pieces. Caran Dache also makes sure that all pigments are compatible to prevent blooming. The Luminance smooth leads can be mixed, graded, blended or used for both shading and burnishing with a white pencil. They also blend well with other coloured pencils such as Prismacolour. All of the luminance 9601 pencils have excellent lightfastness of 80% LFI.