The best colored pencils

Colored Pencils – Buying Guide, Opinions and Analysis

You believe that an artist is born with talent or develops it along the way, he needs important allies to be able to express it and captivate everyone with his works. Colored pencils undoubtedly have the power to transform a piece of paper into vivid stories of colorful drawings. The 4 trays of the Zenacolor ZC-CP box make 160 different shades available to you so that the child or adult can give color to the best of their creativity. For its part, the Faber Castell 111260 case brings all the intensity and brightness of 60 colors whose brand will never disappoint in quality.

The 9 Best Colored Pencils – Opinions 2022

The preferences of techniques and finishes in coloring not only define the artist, but also incline him to the choice of one or another colored pencil. The following suggestions provide the best features for the most exciting artistic journey.


professional colored pencils


1. Zenacolor 160 Colored Pencils 

If you are fond of mandalas, then this box of colored pencils has all the shades imaginable so that they are simply spectacular. There are 4 trays containing 40 professional colored pencils each that enchant not only because of the high organization they offer, but also because of the variety of the same color. Seeing the degradation of colors together with metallic and pastel tones is already quite a spectacle. 

Any artist knows they can brighten up their sketch, coloring book, or school project with these pencils, considered the best colored pencils of 2022. They are perfect for both adults and children, since they are free of toxic components, and their use is It does not represent a risk for the little ones. They are round in shape and, in addition, their 3mm thick lead makes them resistant to breaking frequently. 

Each of its details is an open door to creativity that invites you to make the most fantastic mixes. 


Core: These are oil-based colored pencils whose smoothness and creaminess achieve a unique texture.

Lead: They come pre-sharpened showing the 3mm thickness of their lead that allows fluid coloring, in addition to not breaking. 

Pigmentation: The richness and quality of pigments allow them to reflect brightness and be resistant to light.

Box: In its fantastic box, each colored pencil is organized in practical trays by shade, name and number.


Intensity: You may feel a difference in intensity between dark colors that look great at first and light tones that are difficult to paint.

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2. Zzoneart 72 Professional Colored Pencils

When it comes to elegance in the presentation of professional colored pencils, there is no doubt that this is one of the most amazing options on the market. Its case is a zippered case that unfolds into three parts and comes with beautifully designed sturdy elastics for each colored pencil as well as the extra accessories of the pencil sharpener, a hook line pen, a dual head pencil and a small pencil. cutter   

Their richness in pigments, smoothness when coloring, and the vibrant appearance achieved when coloring make them the best colored pencils for any child or adult who sees art as a studio pursuit or professional development. In addition, it will be very difficult to tell that with these 72 pencils you are missing a color with the wide variety perfectly visible in their heads and tips.

You will be convinced that you have found the best material for professional coloring when you unfold this fantastic case with multiple advantages in front of you. 


Spectrum: You can color, highlight, shade and even write by choosing any pencil from the full color spectrum. 

Core: These are oil-based pencils whose soft cores allow for shading, layering, and the most delicate blending. 

Content: It is not only the large number of colored pencils, but the accompanying by very convenient tools.


Shape: Keep in mind that they are round, so if you like the hexagonal ones for the comfort of grip and that they do not roll on the table, you should consider this feature.

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Faber Castell colored pencils


3. Faber Castell 111260 Cardboard support case

These Faber Castell colored pencils will not only help you to color beautifully, but also contribute to the well-being of the planet. They are eco-friendly, since their manufacturing material is extracted from sustainably managed plantations, being 100% reforested wood. There are 60 colored pencils that are organized in groups of 12 in internal and removable cardboard supports. In this way, you can keep them organized and comfortably at hand while you are using them.

They are highly recommended for use in any type of school project where brightness and intensity of color are required. For your grip, the hexagonal shape is one of the most ergonomic, especially for children. The tip of its lead and the hardness of its core are at the perfect level so that the strokes can be made smoothly and appreciating the intensity of the color at the same time.

Faber Castell has been considered by its users as the best brand of colored pencils for years. The characteristics of its products confirm this.


School use: It is a very complete set of colored pencils in a variety of shades so that children can shine in their school work.

Metallic: In addition to all the colors and their variety of tones, add the silver and gold that they like a lot.

Anti-breakage system: With SV gluing, the pencil lead is protected against easy breakage.


Box: Both the outside of the box and its internal partitions are made of cardboard that might feel flimsy.

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4. Faber Castell 110036 Colored Pencils, 36 Units

If you are looking for top quality options to answer which are the best colored pencils for professional use, you have in front of you the description of one of the best alternatives on the market. Although this particular box has 36 Faber Castell colored pencils, the Polychromos model can be purchased in metal cases of 24, 60 or 120 pencils. 

A great and pleasant visual impact is to see how the pencils are arranged by color range, showing the color degradation that you could achieve in your artistic production. Its high pigment content is concentrated in its 3.8 mm lead and is noticeable in the intensity of the coloring. In addition to this, the experience of this brand in the manufacture of professional tools is evident in each smooth stroke that leaves high-gloss and light-resistant colors. 

Whether you are an artist who likes free creative compositions or productions, you will find in these pencils all the necessary qualities to stand out with them. 


Professional coloring: All the German quality is embodied in these colors designed mainly for professional artists. 

Polychromos: The quality of the pigment of these colored pencils ensures a brightness and intensity of unique qualities. 

Eco-pencils: Faber Castell is a brand committed to the environment and uses 100% reforested wood. 


Price: Without a doubt, when comparing its cost with that of other quality brands of the same quantity, its price is quite high.

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Alpine colored pencils 

5. Alpino AL010658 Case 24 pencils 

Alpino colored pencils began to be made from the same wood with which they made their toys, becoming a benchmark for color in Spain. This brand has earned a prestigious place in use at school and at home with all those drawings that are made as school assignments or simply as a hobby. There are 24 pencils with the best grip ergonomics for children’s hands thanks to a 6.9mm diameter hexagonal wooden cover. 

In addition, its lead is 3mm, resistant to water and constant breakage. The best value for money colored pencils you can find come in a cardboard box whose removable tray allows you to take out only the necessary part of the body of each pencil to grab and return as you work on the coloring. 

Knowing the benefits of this option, it is impossible to doubt which colored pencils to buy for your children’s activities at school. 


School use: There are 24 colored pencils with the necessary shades and the appropriate ergonomics for children to make beautiful drawings with them. 

Brand: The quality and commitment of the Alpino brand has been valued among Spaniards for 80 years. 

Price: The cost of these colored pencils can hardly be beaten by others of similar quality. 


Hardness: They can feel a bit hard when coloring small details, since if you do not press hard, the intensity of the color is not well appreciated

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colored pencils for drawing


6. Milan Metal box 36 colored pencils with large lead 

This is a brand dedicated with commitment to the manufacture of basic elements for the activities that take place every day in schools and offices. This model of colored pencils for drawing are part of the exclusive and patented designs of the company. These 36 pencils have a really striking design with a natural wood finish that finishes at the top in the color tone of your lead. 

Aside from its convenient hexagonal shape and metal case, what’s great about this alternative is that it’s among the cheapest, Milan-quality colored pencils around. Thanks to the work of his research and development department, the successful combination of design, material and functionality has been achieved in these pencils. In addition to this, each pencil has the name of its color identified in English. 

Finding options on the market that combine advantageous characteristics for coloring fans is easy if it is Milan. 


LPS: Its lead protection system protects the leads of these pencils with a strong adhesion to the wood that prevents breakage.

Lead: Its thickness of 3.5mm makes it a large lead that facilitates the stroke and blurring in a fluid way. 

Case: In addition to protecting the pencils, its metal box includes a tray that keeps them organized and shows the gradation of tones. 


Pastels: Their pigmentation is soft and, perhaps, it could seem that they paint little, so it will be necessary to color in several layers.

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Prismacolor colored pencils

7. Prismacolor 3599TN Colored Pencil Kit 72 Pieces

When you hold them in your hands and test their creaminess and ease of mixing, you will want nothing more than to color and color. It is impossible to deny how special Prismacolor colored pencils are as work tools when you want to achieve spectacular coloring, be it in coloring books, sketches, free creativity drawings or school projects. Anyone who uses them, be it a child or an adult, will notice their professional quality. 

This model has a soft and thick core that concentrates bright pigments with which you can mix and achieve intensities depending on the pressure you want to apply. Its Premier quality comes from Mexico and is thus carved into the lower ends of each pencil. Also, in its round wood cover you can read both the numbering corresponding to the color chart and the name of the color. 

Certainly, they are far from being one of the cheapest options, however, their features allow any artist to make their coloring look like real art.


Colour: The color saturation is optimal thanks to the composition of high quality pigments. 

Tips: The tips of these pencils are tapered, allowing for even coloring without the hassle of breaking. 

Names: The descriptive name of the color is carved in your pencil and you can learn it in both English and French.


Price: All Prismacolor quality seems to come concentrated in its price. It is one of the highest cost colored pencil sets on the market.

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Staedtler colored pencils 

8. Staedtler Noris Club Pack of 24 Colored Pencils 

For the world of art and coloring, Staedtler colored pencils are not indifferent. This is one of the best-known companies in the field that, from Germany, provides all the experience in the development of innovative and quality products. There are 24 pencils that are presented in a cardboard box that, through a beautiful design, reveals the correspondence of the drawing on the cover with the reality of each color. 

Among these hexagonal wooden pencils you will find all the basic colors plus some beautiful variations of tones ideal for the use of children and young people who like to draw and color. Its soft and fine stroke with intensity of color will not make you think long to decide to invest in these cheap and excellent results colored pencils for use in school.

The best colored pencils of the moment add to all their features the peace of mind of complying with the EN71 standard in terms of safety for your children.


Leads: They are completely centered and their 3mm thickness allow strokes that reveal the brightness and intensity of each color.

ABS: It is a coating of a white material that is evident when you sharpen the pencil and makes the leads 30% more resistant to breakage.

Wood: The wood that covers each colored pencil comes from environmentally friendly sustainable management forests. 


Box: A removable holder or tray could be missed to allow easier removal or return of colored pencils.

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Watercolor colored pencils


9. Tvgo 72 Piece Professional Colored Pencil Set

More than being the best colored pencils, this TVGO proposal could be considered the best drawing and coloring set on the market. There are 72 pieces including 24 watercolor pencils, 12 metallic, 12 for drawing, 12 for coloring and 3 for charcoal. In addition to all this, important additional accessories such as sharpener, eraser, hook pen, dual head pencil extender and a frosted board are part of this set. 

For this reason, it is the ideal purchase for children, youth and adults who are studying art or are already teachers in the area of ​​color. Its use is completely safe and guaranteed by the German certification organizations TÜV. Each user can make the most of the specific qualities of each pencil for a precise technique, especially with the watercolours, which are their star products and of superior quality. 

With all the benefits of these colored pencils, you can make this folding zipper case one of the best gifts.


Versatile: The use of these pencils has shown spectacular results in sketching, shading, scrapbooking, shading, stippling and smudging, among other techniques.

Case: It is portable and practical so that you can take all the pieces anywhere, keeping them perfectly organized.

Price: This great set of 72 pieces for drawing and coloring is quite reasonably priced and affordable for many. 


Professional: It is not the first recommendation for school use. The variety and number of pieces can be better understood and used by art students and professionals.

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Shopping guide

If this is the opportunity to have that case or large box of colored pencils that you have dreamed of since you were a child, then this guide to buying the best colored pencils will be your best guideline to choose the most suitable instruments and exalt your talent. whether you dedicate yourself to drawing as a hobby or professional occupation.

pencil type 

They say that what is best for some is not necessarily for others. This could be absolutely true when it comes to the use of colored pencils. The world of color opens its doors with different tools for everyone from a very young age. Paints, chalks and colored pencils are part of them and there are those who have gone from children’s doodles to beautiful works of professional quality. 

In this learning time, the types of pencils that have been used differ in important characteristics. The cheapest model and the one that is usually the first to be used is the one designed for students from school age or beginners. They generally have a hard core for long wear, apply easily, and are available in packs of 12, 24, and 36 colored pencils.  

The so-called professional grade ones, on the other hand, offer a smooth core with which you can control, nuance and amaze everyone with the most fantastic mixes. They are found in specialized art stores and their quality guarantees a smoothness and coverage much greater than that achieved by school colored pencils. It is definitely a person of advanced coloring skills who will appreciate its use and understand its cost. 


When you want color to flood your sheet with intensity, the comparison of colored pencils should be based on the medium in which you usually apply color and the finish you want to achieve with it. Take a close look at the description on the box or case to see if the colored pencils are wax, oil, or water-based, as this will greatly influence the final appearance of the work. 

The wax ones stand out for the scope of coverage when applying the color. In addition to their affordable price, they are very popular for the softness of their core that allows them to mix easily. However, they are characterized by rapid wear and leave a kind of dust layer that should be removed very carefully with a slightly damp cloth. 

This is not the case with oil-based ones whose pigment core bonded with vegetable oil is somewhat harder, but achieves a glossy finish. Although it needs more color application to get the same effect as a wax, it does not need constant sharpening, so it becomes more durable.

Finally, the so-called soluble or water-based ones can be moistened to control the texture of their pigment on paper or other material. In this group are those known as watercolor and pastel pencils. 


To talk about the design of colored pencils is to take into account their individual and group presentation. This is an aspect that influences how much each proposal costs according to its brand, but it matters considerably for its use and organization. For example, for its grip you should consider round, triangular or hexagonal shapes, as well as a cover that could be made of wood, resin or Wopex. The latter is a material made from a mixture of graphite, plastic and sawdust. 

In general, each pencil has only one color, however, the market also offers bicolors with a different colored lead at each end. So the power of decision is in your hands according to your preference regarding these details. 

Furthermore, you have to consider the various ways in which your group presentation is marketed. Let’s start with the number of colored pencils that becomes relevant depending on the range of color you need for your projects. From one to hundreds, the most common presentations come from 10, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 120, 160 and up to 288 pencils. Of course, the ones with the highest number give you variations of the same tone capable of achieving the most beautiful and dynamic transitions. 

Its organization is also very varied and you get colored pencils in metal, cardboard, plastic and even more elegant wooden boxes. Likewise, cylindrical jars are common and the option of organizer cases with zippers are at your disposal.

Frequently asked questions

Q1: How to use colored pencils? 

It is said that each artist develops his preferred coloring technique, however, on more than one occasion, the combination of several achieves the most incredible effects in the same work. To bring the color scale to paper, the pressure of the colored pencil is the most common. Light, gentle pressure usually creates a very good base on which you can layer with heavier pressure for more color saturation.

Other essential techniques to know are the creation of layers for realistic effects, the mixtures for smooth finishes and the highlighting of drawings by outlining or shading, among others.

Q2: How to sharpen colored pencils? 

When you need to draw or define fine lines, the process of sharpening the colored pencil can be achieved with the convenient pencil sharpener, a block of sandpaper, a box cutter and even a knife or razor. Of course, these last elements must always be executed by an adult who must take care to do the process with his dominant hand and with the knife and point facing in the opposite direction and never towards him.

With regard to the pencil sharpener, some experts are of the opinion that the use of a crank should be avoided, that with an electric one you could lose control and that with the hand-held one it is best to avoid pressure by holding it vertically or trying to turn the sharpener instead of the pencil.. It’s up to you to try.

Q3: How to draw landscapes with colored pencils?

It is recommended that you first lightly trace your sketch with a graphite pencil before starting the coloring with watercolors or wax or oil based pencils. It all depends on the type of landscape you have in mind, since it can range from an open horizon to having all the elements such as trees, leaves, mountains, streams and even small hills.

The recommendation is to start by coloring the background with shading and color blends that achieve a uniform feel. Then continue by highlighting smaller drawings in front with perhaps darker or more saturated tones.


Q4: How to name the colored pencils? 

There are some models of colored pencils that have a blank space designed to write the name with a pen or indelible marker. However, if it is the case for children, you can use small labels that only have the initial of their name or larger colored ones with their full name.

Q5: How to draw the sea with colored pencils?

If you have a fresh image of the ocean or the beach in your mind, closing your eyes will suffice. Otherwise, it is advisable that you use a photo or even a video. The best way to start is with the horizon line, which will be the separation between the sea and the sky. You can enrich it with calm waves or with crests, as well as smooth curved foam edges.

For crested whitewater, white is functional, and for wavy lined water, a variety of shades of blue and cool violets will do a great job.

Q6: How are wooden colored pencils made?

Manufacturers start with the lead by making a paste consisting of pigments bonded in hot water with preservatives and binding agents, as well as waxes or resins. After passing through machines, this paste is transformed into a continuous mine with a pre-established diameter and is cut into the appropriate size.

At the same time, another machine makes grooves and adds glue to pieces of wood where the colored leads are positioned, covered with another grooved board on top, carved into a hexagonal or other shape, and then cut into pencil shapes. They are left in a natural wood color or with a varnish bath in the same color as the mine. The letters are stamped and, finally, they pass through an abrasive wheel that sharpens them.

Q7: How to make flesh color with colored pencils?

Everything will depend on the type of skin you want to color. In general, regardless of the color you want to achieve, you get the effect you are looking for by applying a dark tone to which you then lower its saturation and give the indicated value with techniques such as lightening, shading and even lighting. 

Salmon, sienna, brown, gray, cream, sand, red and hot pink are among the most used colors. For example, for a fair skin tone a hot pink can be polished with a layer of white or very light gray, others use a little red, white and ochre. For darker skin, while sienna is an option, a lightened brown with cream or white also works well.

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