Best Colored Pencils for Beginners

colored pencils for beginners

Updated by Brandon F. on December 29, 2022

Using colored pencils can be a very rewarding experience.  They are versatile, can produce great color, and have a wonderful ability to work well for detailed pieces as well as works that require a lot of color blending.  The color palettes are superb and there are plenty of various products and companies to choose from.  However, everyone had to start somewhere, and without proper guidance jumping into a colored pencil set can be somewhat intimidating and overwhelming.  So what are the best colored pencils for beginners?

Colored pencils are unique in that there can be significant differences between a beginner set and a more advanced set.  Someone who doesn’t have proper experience with applied pressure and blending techniques might find a more advanced oil-based line to be frustrating to work with.  At the same time, someone who is a more advanced user might feel that they struggle to have enough control of the color that is put out on a typical, harder wax beginner set.  

And then there are considerations about colored pencils that “check all the boxes”.  Some people aren’t necessarily after the very top-of-the-line pencils nor the most affordable, but rather a colored pencil that does everything well.

To help with this, we thought it would be useful to list out some examples of what we feel are some great sets for people just starting.  In coming up with a few products, we considered what we feel are important attributes to have in a beginner set.  But before we list all of them out, here is a helpful video that will get your brain flowing:

So after watching the video, a few obvious examples should come to mind.  Also, we have added to that list from experience knowing what beginner-level colored pencils should bring to the table.  A few of the top ones are listed below:

Good color output without having to utilize advanced blending techniques.

Harder wax core to prolong pencil life and have a better ability to put direct color down.

Versatile color selection from the start to avoid having to mix colors to find the hue you are looking for.

Affordable since many beginners don’t want to fork out hundreds of dollars for a set.

Relatively easy to sharpen with a conventional pencil sharpener.

Easily-identifiable color labeling.

There were other considerations but we feel that these are a good foundation for what people typically look for in a beginner set.  Feel free to click on any of the links below and it will take you to the more thorough full-page review for each colored pencil.  We are confident that any of these selections will work well for anybody looking to get started in the wonderful world of colored pencils.  And when the time is right, encourage beginners to try out their skills with more advanced colored pencil sets.


reeves front page

BCP Rating

Reeves Colored Pencils are one of the better budget and student-oriented options out there on the market.  Anybody looking to get a good set of starter pencils should consider these and they have a lot of room to grow and learn with.  For the price, these provide good color and layering properties.  The strong 3.8mm wax lead has been proven to be durable and easy to sharpen.  These hexagonal pencils are available in 12 to 36-pack sets.


Pros: Durable, Decent color, Great price

Cons: Subpar blending, Limited color selection

Read Review of Reeves Colored Pencils

Top Quality Art Supplies

top quality art supplies

BCP Rating4 star

This is a very affordable and varied set that is perfect for someone starting.  The lead is quite hard so it should be pretty straightforward in color application.  They are also pretty tough and should hold up to decent hand pressure.  They come in 72-pack wax core sets.




Pros: Great variety of colors, good price, decent vividness and color intensity

Cons: Pencils are a bit weak, the case is burdensome, no color labeling on pencils

Read Review of Top Quallity Art Supplies Colored Pencils

Sargent Art 

Sargent Art Colored Pencils

BCP Rating

These colored pencils are targeted at beginners and have a good price point to support that.  There are 12 to 56-count sets available, so on the upper end, there is a good color selection.  Sargent Art Colored Pencils are an example that has somewhat weak color but can handle a lot of pressure and multiple passes, which means that everyone should get the tone they are looking for without having to worry about blending.  It also means that they are quite robust and will be able to thrive in my classroom settings.  The 3.3mm wax core is wrapped in a round wood outer shell.


Pros: Pretty good color accuracy, nice variety on the color wheel, well-priced

Cons: Mediocre intensity, poor blending

Read Review of Sargent Art Colored Pencils



Crayola Colored PencilsBCP Rating

A good introduction medium for those getting started in colored pencils, and from the most well-known company out there.  The colors in Crayola Colored Pencils aren’t always true to form but they should suffice for someone starting.  They came in a variety of shapes, sizes, and special colors and can be purchased from sets of 8 up to 50.


Pros: Many different color set options, decent intensity, great price

Cons: Poor blending

Read Review of Crayola Colored Pencils

BestColoredPencils tests and reviews colored pencils and more to find the best products for you. When readers buy our reviewed picks, we earn affiliate commissions that help support our work.
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