Colored Pencil Buyer’s Guide
When I was looking for my next set of colored pencils I was immediately overwhelmed with just how many options there are! Browsing my local art supply website and places like Amazon I quickly realized that there are dozens of companies offering what seemed like hundreds of different sets of varying shapes, sizes, mediums, and costs. It seemed that everyone had a favorite brand or type and the reasons for liking or disliking a particular set were just as varied.
So what do you look for when shopping for colored pencils? This can change from person to person, but this Colored Pencil Buyer’s Guide will hopefully address some of the considerations and help make your next purchase that much easier!
Certain types of pencils are better for certain types of artistic applications. The first consideration that needs to be made is what kind of work(s) do you plan on doing? Will there be a lot of intricate details that require careful, meticulous pencil control? Or do you plan on focusing on broad colored areas where good, consistent color saturation is more important? Will there need to be a lot of complex blending to get the look you are after, or will a simple color change from one are to the next suffice? This also extends to the medium you are working with. Will you be working with light-grained paper or a thick, off-color canvas? Or will you be drawing on stamps? Will you be focusing on large pieces of work that could span several feet across or smaller, less demanding pieces? Read more
The size of a pencil set can range from a single pencil up to the hundreds. Just how many colors will you need? Are there special shades of a color that you feel are essential to complete your piece? Do you plan on displaying a drastic and dynamic color transition? Or will just a couple dozen of the essential colors be all that you need? Does the thought of having 8 different shades of light orange make your head spin, or is that the key piece you need to color in your perfect pumpkin piece? Blending can help open up some new colors but sometimes that isn’t enough, and having a large arsenal of different color options at your disposal is what is needed. Read more.
The simple fact of the matter is that some pencils are more “user-friendly” than others. Your typical elementary-school set of colored pencils will be very easy to pick up and use and generally have a much harder lead so as to make color application more streamlined (and help from constantly breaking pencils!). However, for the more advanced user, a softer lead that has a great blending capability or a fragile watercolor that reacts aggressively to the slightest hint of water might be what is needed. For some people, the more advanced capabilities of some pencils will not be of use and could potentially be more burdensome. Also these extra features generally come with a higher price tag. Read more