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Exploring the Best Color Pencils for Artists

Best Color Pencils for Artists

Choosing the best color pencils for artists should be one of the top critical steps for an artist. Even though any good artist can use any type or brand of pencil to bring forth their creativity, choosing the best color pencils help elevate the artist east of use and make their work very professional. The following are some of the top four color pencil brands that serious artists should rely on for their creative works.

Prismacolor Premier

Prismacolor Premier colored pencils are renowned for their vibrant colors and soft, creamy cores. These pencils are ideal for blending and layering, making them a favorite among artists who want to achieve smooth gradients and rich textures. The soft core allows for easy application of color, but they also require careful handling to avoid breakage.

prisma color pencils
Core TypeSoft Wax-Based
LightfastnessVaries by color

Faber-Castell Polychromos Color Pencils

Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils are known for their oil-based cores, which provide excellent durability and resistance to breakage.

faber castell coloring pencil

These pencils offer a wide range of vibrant colors and are highly regarded for their ability to retain sharp points, making them perfect for detailed work. They also have a smooth application that makes blending and layering effortless.

Core TypeOil-Based

Caran d’Ache Luminance

Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils are the top choice for many professional artists due to their exceptional lightfastness and rich color palette.

Caran dAche Luminance colored pencils

These pencils are graded by the ASTM system, ensuring that the colors remain vibrant over time. With a smooth, creamy application, Luminance pencils are perfect for blending and layering, providing a wide range of options for various artistic techniques.

Core TypeWax-Based
LightfastnessASTM Graded

Derwent Coloursoft Colored Pencils

Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils

Derwent Coloursoft pencils are designed for artists who need soft, velvety cores that blend and layer smoothly. These pencils offer a rich color payoff and are ideal for creating vibrant, expressive artwork. The strong cores make them resistant to breaking, even when sharpened to a fine point, making them a reliable choice for detailed work.

Core TypeWax-Based
LightfastnessVaries by color

Each of these brands offers unique features that cater to different artistic needs. Whether you prioritize durability, blendability, or color vibrancy, these top color pencil brands provide excellent options for unleashing your inner Picasso. For more information on specific types of colored pencils, check out our articles on professional color pencils, oil-based colored pencils, and colored pencils for shading.

Characteristics of Quality Color Pencils

When selecting the best color pencils for artists, several key characteristics set high-quality options apart from the rest. These include core strength and durability, color vibrancy and intensity, and ease of blending and layering.

Core Strength and Durability

A high-quality color pencil should have a strong core that resists breaking or crumbling, even when sharpened to a fine point. Brands like Prismacolor Premier, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Caran d’Ache Luminance, and Derwent Coloursoft are renowned for their durability and resilience. These pencils are designed to withstand the rigors of detailed work without frequent breakage.

BrandCore StrengthDurability
Prismacolor PremierSoftHigh
Faber-Castell PolychromosFirmVery High
Caran d’Ache LuminanceSoftHigh
Derwent ColoursoftSoftModerate

Color Vibrancy and Intensity

Color Vibrancy and Intensity

Color vibrancy and intensity are crucial for achieving rich, vivid artwork. The pigments used in high-quality colored pencils should provide consistent and vibrant colors that stand out on various types of paper. For example, Derwent Artists Pencils are known for their good color saturation and blending capabilities, making them suitable for a range of artistic styles.

BrandColor VibrancyIntensity
Prismacolor PremierVery HighHigh
Faber-Castell PolychromosHighVery High
Caran d’Ache LuminanceVery HighHigh
Derwent ColoursoftHighHigh

Ease of Blending and Layering

Blending and layering capabilities are essential for artists who want to create depth and dimension in their work. Soft colored pencils, like Derwent Coloursoft, lay down color easily and blend well, allowing for smooth transitions between hues. On the other hand, hard colored pencils, such as Faber-Castell Polychromos, can be sharpened to a fine point and are excellent for detailed artwork while still offering good blendability.

BrandBlending EaseLayering Capability
Prismacolor PremierHighVery High
Faber-Castell PolychromosHighHigh
Caran d’Ache LuminanceVery HighHigh
Derwent ColoursoftVery HighModerate

For more information on different types of colored pencils, check out our sections on oil-based colored pencils and softcore colored pencils. Additionally, if you’re looking for specialized options, consider exploring metallic colored pencils or neon colored pencils.

Types of Color Pencils

types of pencil colors

When exploring the best color pencils for artists, it’s important to understand the different types available. Each type has unique characteristics that can influence your artwork. This section covers the three main types of colored pencils: wax-based, oil-based, and water-soluble.

Wax-Based Colored Pencils

Wax-based colored pencils are the most common type and are favored by many artists for their versatility. These pencils come in various consistencies, from hard pencils made for students to softer varieties designed for professionals. One of the key features of wax-based pencils is their ability to blend easily, allowing for smooth transitions between colors.

However, wax-based pencils can be prone to wax bloom, a natural oxidation process that can cause a pale haze to form on the artwork. This can be mitigated by using a fixative spray or by buffing the artwork with a soft cloth.

Prone to Wax BloomYes
Ease of ErasingModerate
ConsistencySoft to Hard

For more information on specialized wax-based pencils, check out our section on softcore colored pencils.

Oil-Based Colored Pencils

Oil-based colored pencils have a slightly different consistency compared to their wax-based counterparts. They are firmer and better at holding a point, making them ideal for detailed work. Unlike wax-based pencils, oil-based pencils do not suffer from wax bloom, which can be a significant advantage for preserving the quality of your artwork.

types of pencil colors 1

However, oil-based pencils may be more prone to smearing and can be harder to erase. Artists often use these pencils for their rich, vibrant colors and their ability to create fine details.

Prone to Wax BloomNo
Ease of ErasingLow

To explore more about these pencils, visit our detailed guide on oil-based colored pencils.

Water-Soluble Colored Pencils

Water-soluble colored pencils, also known as watercolor pencils, offer versatility that other types do not. They can be used dry like regular colored pencils or blended with water to create watercolor effects. This dual functionality makes them popular among artists who enjoy experimenting with different media.

Water-soluble pencils can be used in combination with regular watercolors and other media, providing endless creative possibilities. They are ideal for adding color washes and blending colors seamlessly with water.

BlendabilityHigh (with water)
Prone to Wax BloomNo
Ease of ErasingModerate

For artists interested in exploring unique effects, check out our guide on metallic colored pencils.

Understanding the different types of colored pencils can help you choose the best tools for your artistic endeavors. Whether you prefer the blendability of wax-based pencils, the precision of oil-based pencils, or the versatility of water-soluble pencils, each type offers unique benefits to enhance your artwork. For more tips and techniques, visit our section on colored pencils for shading.

Artist Grade vs. Artist Quality

Artist Grade vs. Artist Quality

When selecting the best color pencils for artists, understanding the distinction between Artist Grade and Artist Quality is crucial. Both terms refer to high-quality pencils, but they differ in specific attributes such as lightfastness testing, blendability, layering, and availability of open stock options.

Lightfastness Testing

Lightfastness refers to the resistance of pigments to fading or discoloration when exposed to light. Artist Grade colored pencils undergo rigorous lightfastness testing under standardized systems like the Blue Wool Scale or ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). These tests ensure that the colors remain vibrant over time.

  • Caran d’Ache Luminance: 61 out of 100 colors are rated LF1 by the ASTM system.
  • Derwent Drawing Colored Pencils: 23 out of 24 colors rated 8 on the Blue Wool scale.
  • Faber Castell Polychromos: Blue Wool tested, though there is some confusion regarding the grading system.
BrandLightfastness Rating
Caran d’Ache Luminance61/100 colors rated LF1
Derwent Drawing23/24 colors rated Blue Wool 8
Faber Castell PolychromosBlue Wool tested

Blendability and Layering

Blendability and Layering

Blendability and layering are crucial characteristics for achieving depth and texture in artwork. Artist Quality colored pencils excel in these aspects, offering smooth application and the ability to blend seamlessly. They are designed to work well with various techniques, making them ideal for professional artists.

  • Faber Castell Polychromos: Known for their smooth blending and layering capabilities.
  • Royal Talens Van Gogh Colored Pencils: Layer well and blend beautifully.
  • Caran d’Ache Luminance: Praised for the consistency of the core and ease of blending and layering.

Availability of Open Stock

Open stock availability refers to the option of purchasing individual pencils rather than a complete set. This is particularly important for artists who tend to use specific colors more frequently. Artist Quality colored pencils often provide this flexibility, allowing for easy replacement of used colors without buying a new set.

  • Royal Talens Van Gogh Colored Pencils: Available open stock.
  • Caran d’Ache Luminance: Available open stock.
  • Faber Castell Polychromos: Available open stock.
BrandOpen Stock Availability
Royal Talens Van GoghYes
Caran d’Ache LuminanceYes
Faber Castell PolychromosYes

Understanding these distinctions helps artists make informed decisions about which pencils to invest in. Whether opting for Artist Grade or Artist Quality, both categories offer superior performance, ensuring that your artwork remains vibrant and durable for years to come. For more information on specific pencil types, check out our articles on professional color pencils and softcore colored pencils.

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