The Rainbow of Creativity: A Guide to Choosing the Best Color Pencils no Matter Your Skill Level

Adding color to your artwork is a surefire way to take your creativity to the next level. Whether it’s a simple sketch or an elaborate painting, coloring can help bring your piece to life. But, when it comes to choosing the best color pencils to make your artwork the best it can be, you have a lot of options—and the choices can be overwhelming.

In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of choosing best color pencils, the different types available, and our top picks for the best colored pencils of 2023. Whether you’re a beginner just starting in the world of art or a pro looking to upgrade your tools, we’ve got you covered.

Colored pencils are an excellent tool for artists and creative people of all ages. From children expressing their imaginations to adults crafting intricate pieces, best color pencils can bring a different element to any type of artwork. The array of colors and hues, as well as the ease of use, allows everyone to express themselves uniquely and colorfully. But with so many options available, how do you know which colored pencils are right for you? This guide will help you understand what colored pencils are, what to consider when shopping for them, where and how to shop, and tips on how to use them at different skill levels

What Are Colored Pencils?

Definition of Colored Pencils

Colored pencils are art tools used by both professional and amateur artists to add more dimension, color detail, and style to their artwork. They are made up of wax or oil-based leads that reside in a wooden casing that helps protect the delicate lead and allows users to easily grip it while shading. Color pencils come in a variety of colors ranging from traditional yellow ochre to turquoise blue and create a multitude of effects through both blending and layering techniques.

Different Types of Colored Pencils

When searching for the best color pencils, one must consider that there are two different types of colored pencils; wax-based and oil-based. Wax-based pencils provide softer strokes with smoother blending capabilities than oil-based pencils, however, they tend to be much lighter in pigment intensity. Oil-based pencils offer more vibrancy and deeper saturation but require more effort for blending purposes. Further considerations include lead grade (hardness/softness), lightfast ratings (how quickly the lead fades from exposure), color selection (how many colors your set includes), and price point (in general wax-based sets tend to be less expensive).

Quality of Colored Pencils

Regardless of your preference between wax-based or oil-based colored pencils, it is important to look for quality materials when seeking out your perfect set! In terms of lead grade, most companies will rate their sets from 4H (the hardest) to 9B (the softest). Additionally, some companies may list lightfast ratings on the back of the package that indicates whether or not the lead will hold up after consistent exposure to light. Lastly, it is important to check that sets feature at least a wide selection of colors as well as variety in hues – this will open up more possibilities when creating artwork!

What to Consider When Shopping for Colored Pencils

Pencil Lead Grade

The first factor in choosing your perfect set of best colored pencils is the lead grade. Generally speaking, harder leads (4H+) will allow you to create thinner lines with more precision while softer leads (9B+) offer thicker lines with a darker tint. However, depending on what type of artwork you are going for you may want a mix between hard and soft lead grades – factor this into your decision when selecting sets!


As previously mentioned, lightfastness or lightfast ratings indicate whether or not your set’s leads will fade or darken over time when exposed continuously to sunlight or other intense lighting sources (such as white paper). If lightfastness is important to you then make sure that your set lists its rating somewhere on the box for you to make an informed decision about which colored pencils will work best for your artwork!

Color Selection

Although many companies may produce sets with hundreds of colors provided in one box, it is important for you to consider which colors will suit your artistry needs before purchasing. Consider what hues are needed for landscapes or portraits – do you prefer bright tones for vibrant illustrations or deep values for more subtle pieces? It can be beneficial also list out desired colors on paper before committing yourself so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by all the options available!

                                                                                                                    Shopping For Best Color Pencils

Shopping In-Store

When shopping in-store always get a hands-on feel of the products before purchasing – this way you can go through each pencil and make sure that it meets your expectations in terms of hardness/softness and color intensity/pigment saturation! Additionally take advantage of being able to speak directly with employees; they may have special inside knowledge about brands they carry or insight into certain product types as well as discounts that may be offered!

Shopping Online

Conversely, online shopping offers convenience if you’re unable or unwilling to leave home due to strong weather conditions, etc., not limited by geographical boundaries or store hours; meaning that products can be purchased at any given time from anywhere in the world! However, consider reading customer reviews before committing yourself; this will give you an idea about what others have experienced when using products from particular brands that come highly recommended by shoppers around the world!

Techniques For Using Color Pencils

Blending Colors

Blending colors is one-way artists use color pencils as it allows them to play around with tones & shades by layering colors together until they achieve their desired effect! Depending on whether you are using wax-based or oil-based color pencils various techniques can be employed such as scribbling a base layer followed by burnishing with another color over the top until they become one uniform hue! This method can give great depth to artwork as well as solidify contrast among varying elements present in pieces!


Layering color pencil leads on top of one another offer another way drawings may become more complex as various layers create texture & interest within artworks! Similar processes involved here include building up pigmented layers until form desired shapes & designs such as clouds within landscapes or roses within botanical sketches etc., creating realism within the drawing that might otherwise not exist without the layering technique employed!


Shading using colored pencils is yet another popular technique employed by many artists & has been use throughout centuries to create amazing images no matter how simple the subject matter might be! The Shading involves using gradual subtle transitions from dark values to light ones creating the illusion of space, shadow & perspective even a two-dimensional surface being depicted upon! Experimenting with these elements before getting started on projects ensures the best results achieved during the process of creating artwork!

Using Colored Pencils At Different Skill Levels

Introduction To Colored Pencils

For those beginning their journey into coloring with best color pencils, choosing the right set of key components ensures great results when starting! If complete beginner, then try looking into wax-based colored pencil sets, usually cheaper than their oil-based counterparts & provide softer blending effects compared latter ones allowing exploration medium without having spent too much money!   As skill level increases, try to move away from single graded sets towards multiple graded ones, providing a wide range of options when choosing leads thicknesses & saturation levels to find ones perfectly suited to your needs!

Intermediate Colored Pencil Users

At this level users are likely already comfortable using basic techniques such as blending, layering & shading along with more advanced techniques such as burnishing, scumbling, etc., therefore selecting an appropriate set utilizing knowledge thus acquired could open up even possibilities depending on the brand chosen! Look out for recommended sets featuring multiple grades range 4h 6b such as “best-colored pencil” sets since these typically provide a well-rounded selection of lead grades & pigments along with other features such as lightfast ratings ensure longevity artwork making them excellent choices intermediate users!

Advanced Colored Pencil Users

Advanced users know important consideration factors such as quality materials, range grades, etc., therefore likely already have preferred brand mindsets when looking to purchase new sets! Metal tinned ranges tend very popular among users at this level due quality materials & expansive palette color selection they offer – look into reputable brands offering these containers to see if these fit needs any artwork planned – these often feature higher prices but provide results worth the money spent!

In conclusion, regardless of your skill level, we hope that this guide proved helpful in finding the perfect set(s) suited specifically for you and your creative works – because having quality supplies helps ensure that each masterpiece produced is something truly special!

Colored pencils are a must-have tool for any artist looking to add a vibrant new element to their artwork. Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or a pro looking to upgrade your tools, this guide gives you the rundown on everything you need to know about the different types of colored pencils, what to consider when shopping for them, and tips for using them at different skill levels. With the right materials, you’ll be able to create beautiful and colorful creations that will be sure to wow your friends, family, and anyone who views your artwork. So, go ahead—embrace your inner artist and start on your journey to unleashing the rainbow of creativity that lies within!

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