Tips for Choosing the Right Colour Pencils for Your Artwork

Right Colour Pencils

Selecting the right colour is crucial for transforming your creative ideas into vivid artwork. Also, the outcome of your artwork is significantly shaped by the quality, variety, and choices of your colour pencils. So, here are some valuable tips to help you make the best choice for your artistic needs.

Ace the Basics

The two main categories are oil-based and wax-based pencils. Oil-based pencils offer a more complex lead with a fine point, making them ideal for detailed work. Wax-based pencils provide a softer lead for smooth application and rich colour laydown but may require more frequent sharpening. Watercolour ones are another option. They blend the control of these pencils with the fluidity of watercolour paints. When brushed with water, these create a wash effect, offering a unique approach to blending and layering colours.

Consider the Quality

Artist-grade pencils are highly pigmented, offer superior blending capabilities, and have a higher lightfastness rating, meaning they are more resistant to fading over time. In contrast, student-grade ones are less expensive but offer lower pigment concentration and may not perform as well in bendability and permanence.

Investing in artist-grade ones can be worthwhile for serious artists who value longevity and the ability to create complex, vibrant artwork. However, for beginners or those on a budget, student-grade ones can still provide a good starting point for exploring different techniques and styles.

Selecting the Right Colours

Choosing a set with a wide range of colours might seem the best option, but it’s not always necessary. Consider the subjects you like to draw and select a palette that suits those needs. Some artists prefer building their collection slowly, purchasing individual pencils as needed to expand their colour range organically. This approach allows for more personalised and cost-effective collection building.

Testing Lightfastness

Lightfastness refers to the resistance of a pigment to fading when exposed to light. This is an important consideration for artwork that will be displayed or sold. Most artist-grade options will have a lightfastness rating, with categories ranging from very high to meagre resistance. So, opt for pencils with higher lightfastness to ensure the longevity of your artwork.

Comfort and Ergonomics

The physical feel of the pencil in your hand is also important, especially for those who spend long hours drawing. They come in various shapes, from traditional round to triangular, which can offer a more comfortable grip. The weight and balance of the pencil can affect your control and comfort, so it’s worth testing different types to find what feels best for you.

Price vs. Performance

While higher-priced options often deliver superior performance, there are exceptions. Some mid-range brands offer quality comparable to higher-end options at a more affordable price point. Reading reviews, watching artist testimonials, and testing one’s pencils yourself can help you find the best value.

Environmental Considerations

For eco-conscious artists, the environmental impact of their art supplies is an essential factor. Look for brands that use sustainably sourced wood, non-toxic pigments, and recyclable packaging. Some companies also offer refillable options, reducing waste and the need for frequent replacements.


Selecting suitable colour pencils for your artwork is a personal and important decision that influences the quality and expression of your art. Meanwhile, you must take into account factors such as instrument type, quality, colour variety, durability against light, ergonomic design, cost, and eco-friendliness. They will guide you in selecting the ideal instruments to realise your creative ambitions. Remember, the best option is the one that feels right for you and suits your specific artistic needs. Explore various brands and styles to identify your preferred options, enabling you to craft your artwork with assurance and flair.