Colored pencils are often associated with childhood, but with the adult coloring book craze, it’s clear that grown-ups like to use them, too. These tools, however, can do much more than color inside lines. Artists regularly use colored pencils in their drawings because they offer a range of possibilities—especially in their hues. Determining the best adult colouring pencils can be a challenge. Ultimately it comes down to your personal preference, but to get you started on the right track, we’ve identified some of the best pencils to try. These brands are available to purchase online, so it’s easy to test out a few different pencils without breaking the bank.
The best adult colouring pencils in UK 2021
1. Sanford Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils
Sanford Wood’s Prismacolor range offers a fine set of entry-level artist grade coloured pencils. Somewhat of a staple, familiar to art students around the country, they are good value for money when compared to other artist-grade pencils on the market, although still pricey.
Prismacolour pencils’ incredibly smooth and buttery core means they go on thick and blend with little resistance. However, this unfortunately also makes them very delicate and prone to shattering. With some reporting issues such as the core sliding out entirely, Prismacolour pencils have a somewhat mixed reputation that should be considered when making your choice.
Finished drawings in Prismacolor pencils are vibrant and bright. Most of the colors are lightfast, but a few are not. If you’re worried about the lightfastness, Prismacolor makes a set that features only its lightfast colors.
2. Castle Art Supplies 120 Coloured Pencils
Castle Art Supplies’s colored pencils are favored by thousands of artists worldwide as they are both hardwearing and a pleasure to use. Each pencil sports a rich, velvety lead which is encased in premium Basswood for extra protection. This strong and reliable exterior features a silky-smooth “soft touch” coating to ensure you color your pages in the utmost comfort.
The Castle Art pencil sports a striking 7mm Black Matt finish barrel, held safely within the barrel is an exciting 3.8mm core bursting with generous levels of pigment. On the end of every Castle Art pencil is a 1 and 1/4 inch pigment identifier, clearly making the pigment within that particular pencil, which also makes pigment selection visually a pleasure. The consistency of the soft core, meanwhile, allows artists to achieve vivid and consistent color with very minimal effort. Each pencil in the 120-piece set is also named, numbered and color-coded for easy organization.
3. Faber-Castell Colour GRIP 2001
The Faber-Castell 2001 is famous for those little black bumps on the barrel known as the Soft-Grip-Zone. They make for a non-slip grip and a comfortable writing experience. The barrel shape is triangular, and my only gripe with the pencil as a whole is that the overall diameter is slightly smaller than the Blackwing 602. The pencils are simply beautiful. They are both functional and attractive. The triangular shape fits the hand nicely, and the black dots do assist with “grip”. (Unfortunately, in high humidity, they do get a bit tacky, and can stick to other objects.) There are nice hidden touches – the head of the eraser-less pencil is black, with the shade corresponding to the hardness of the graphite.
4. Derwent Lightfast Colouring Pencils
The Derwent Lightfast pencil is a thing of beauty, the 8mm barrel is constructed of beautiful Maple, displaying in full glory the grain, given the pencil a very natural look. Inside the barrel is encased a stunning 4mm core, bursting at the seems with pigment. The first time you open a set of Derwent Lightfast pencils, your sense are immediately tantalised, visually the beauty and craftsmanship of the pencils and the aroma of high quality wood takes you mentally to a woodland meadow, memories for me as a child playing and climbing on the huge trees.
Derwent went to huge lengths to make sure the Derwent Lightfast pencils met the demands of professional colored pencil artist, crafters and colourists alike, who are looking to achieve the highest quality work possible. Derwent’s main objective with this particular set of pencils was to deliver a set of pencils with that 100% lightfast rating so many artists have been asking for.
5. Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencil
When it comes to the most talked about colored pencils Prismacolor is always mentioned. It’s for good reason too. The quality is unlike any other brand we’ve reviewed. You won’t find pencils as buttery or vibrant as these. The creamy application and soft lead make them perfect for blending or shading. In short, they’re a colorist’s dream! If there’s a hue you can’t find you can just create it. You can also forget about tiny white spaces left behind after coloring in a design. These pencils lay color down nice and even. You can find an impressive range of pigments in sets of 12 to 150 count.
The only minor issue we could find is that pencil points wear down fast. This requires more sharpening since it’s hard to color in small areas when pencils are dull. If you’re just starting out with coloring as a hobby, Prismacolor may be a bit pricey. However, once you experience the quality, you won’t regret spending a little more. Having pencils that not only last but allow you to create beautiful designs are priceless.
6. US Art Supply 50 Piece Artist Colored Pencil Set
This set of 50 sharpened wax-based pencils features high-quality pigments while offering smooth coloring. The hexagonal shape allows for an easy grip, which is helpful when coloring for hours. The colored pencil barrels are painted to match the core color, which makes it easy to organize them and select the colors you want to use.
Produced with carefully selected high-quality pigments, the artist-grade colored pencils from US Art Supply offer crafters and artists a spectrum of vibrant rich hues and translucent pigments. The 50-piece set consists of wax-based colors with unique rendering qualities and a touch of colorful brilliance. The creamy consistency and easy color layering allows for vibrant blends and radiant temperatures. Each pencil comes with a color coordinated barrel that matches the pencil color. The set also comes with a reusable plastic case with handle that snaps closed.
7. Moore – Premium Art Color Pencils Set of 48 pcs
Premium Art Color Pencils Set of 48 pcs Pre-Sharpened Vibrant Colors set is perfect for coloring with your favorite adult & kids Coloring books, or for your totally unique artistic creations. They can be used as normal artist coloring pencils, or you can take your artwork to the next level with the included paint brush as you add even more vibrant color and layering to your coloring pages when applying a little water.
This amazing set includes a variety of 48 different coloring pencils, coming in a super convenient roll up washable black canvas case to keep your pencils and sharpener nicely stored! With so many unique colors, this color pencil art set is perfect for all your different creative projects! A high quality KUM alloy metal pencil sharpener one quality firm paint brush (for blending & activating the watercolor effect in your artwork). Use our Moore Art set to create hours of happy memories that last a lifetime, You will be so glad you did!
This set has a large array of beautiful vivid colors to magically transform everybodys drawings. Heres what youll get when you receive your set: Moore 48 artist 7 inch watercolor pencils with extra thick 3.5mm vibrant soft cores, a luxury canvas roll up bag to protect & organize your pencils giving you the freedom to color anywhere, in the park, countryside, the train, wherever you get that creative urge, one quality firm paint brush to easily turn your creations into beautiful watercolor paintings.
8. Arteza Professional Watercolour Pencils
Get this complete set of 120 watercolor pencils and discover all of the original color combinations you can make. Use these versatile tools for adult coloring books, drawings, sketches, and mixed media designs. The break-resistant cores allow you to work on your pieces without interruption, as you can layer colors and shade your artwork without having the tips breaking while you work.
These smooth and highly-pigmented pencils make blending, layering, and mixing colors a breeze. You can even add watercolor effects to your piece with just a few drops of water. The smooth, wax-based core will also help get rid of any harsh transition lines you may have in your pieces. Each pencil is crafted to sharpen easily and work perfectly every time. The set comes in a durable, double-hinged metal tin that’s large enough to store all of your pencils in your art studio or when you take them with you on-the-go. Whether you’re a beginner or expert, you’ll definitely enjoy this large selection of vibrant colors!
9. Vivid Imaginations Crayola Colored Pencils
These Crayola colored pencils are amazing! They are definitely not as great for blending together as the Prismacolor Premier pencils, but they actually blend and shade quite well. They are also hard enough that they do generally well in small areas.
The hard wax that these pencils have means that laying down a thick pass of color on a single sweep might be difficult, but they can be sharpened to be quite good at intricate areas. For the price, they produce pretty vivid colors as well. A surprisingly good range of colors exist between the various Crayola set sizes. From their metallic package to their “extreme colors” package and up to the largest 50 count package, most of your fundamental color needs should be fulfilled. Crayola easily has one of the most recognizable names in the art supplies world so we are relieved to see that they don’t charge a premium just for that.
10. Faber-Castell Polychromos
According to Faber Castell, “polychromos” translates to “many colors.” This set offers only 12 pencils, but you can buy them in 24, 60, and even 120 pencil tins, too, and they’re of superior artist quality. The oil-based Faber-Castell Polychromos colors are lauded for their rich pigments that easily go on the paper, and you don’t have to press as hard to achieve brilliant saturated tones.
The leads are 3.8mm, and the pigments are super-rich and acid-free. Application is smooth, and the SV-bonded tips are break-resistant. They’re also waterproof, fade-resistant and won’t smudge. Best yet, they’re oil-based, not wax-based, so blooms and feathers are pretty much nonexistent. Faber-Castell has been designing pigments and colors for various products since 1908, so you really can’t go wrong with this one if you’re a serious artist or even aspiring to become one.
How to choose the best adult colouring pencils
Consider the Binding Medium When Choosing Coloured Pencils
Wax-based Coloured Pencils Are Softer and Blend Easier
Oil-based Coloured Pencils Are Harder and More Durable
Water-Based Coloured Pencils Can Be Used Wet or Dry for Painterly Application
When it comes to buying the best colored pencils it all depends on what you’re looking for. If blending or shading are not techniques you use you won’t need pencils made of a softer lead. If you love coloring while on the go it may be beneficial to invest in a good travel case. Either way, all of the brands we reviewed have great selling points. Take the information we provided and make a decision that enhances your coloring experience. We’d also like you to share your favorite colored pencils with us in the comments section below. Happy coloring!