Caran d’Ache Pablo Colored Pencils

Visual Appeal
Overall Ranking

Caran d’Ache Pablo Colored Pencils

12-120 count pack

Oil/wax core

Hexagonal barrel



Many Different Color set Options

Good User Control

No Wax Bloom

Nice Packaging


Might Need Several Passes to get Desired Depth


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Caran d’Ache Pablo Colored Pencils Review

Updated by Brandon F. on February 23, 2023

The Caran D’ache Pablo colored pencils are a water-resistant line of premium pencils offered by the popular Swiss company.  The small 3.8mm diameter oil/wax-based lead is quite strong and can easily be sharpened to a fine point, making it effective for detailed areas. 

The color application is quite smooth and is essentially void of wax bloom and the color intensity can be very good, although it may take a few passes to get exactly what you are looking for.  With sets from 12 up to 120, color selection is plentiful and varied.  All of this is packaged in an attractive hexagonal wood barrel.

Visual Appeal – 3/5

There is a great color selection with this line, especially in the larger sets.  Most of the colors are vivid enough, although in a few cases, you might have to make a few passes to get the depth you are looking for.  This is likely due to the rather oily waxy core, which doesn’t push out as much of the colored core onto the paper for a given stroke when compared to some of the more conventional wax examples. 

All colors are very blend-friendly and there is a lot of freedom in color manipulation.  The greens and yellows, in particular, seem to have endless bounds and allow for really fun manipulation.  Compared to oil cores on the market, you may see a slight drop in performance but it is by no means detrimental to the performance of the pencils.  We just wish that the Pablo Colored Pencils would be able to capture more of the magic of some of the higher-end oil pencils on the market.

Usability and Durability – 4/5

The lead in the Caran D’ache Pablo colored pencils is very strong and can be sharpened quite easily.  Since not as much color is produced for a pass as expected, the result is that the pencils seem to last much longer than competitors which is nice considering that these are very expensive.  The fine tip can be easily formed into a sharp tip.  This, coupled with the hexagonal barrel, results in excellent control and precision.  This is great for the detailed areas of your work where extra care is necessary.  

A nice bonus is that while some consider these wax-based colored pencils, they don’t suffer from the wax bloom which is common in most traditional wax-colored pencil sets.  This can be attributed to a much higher oil content than most wax pencils that you are used to seeing.  Some people go so far as to consider the Pablo Colored Pencil to be more of a true “oil” colored pencil rather than a standard wax-based product.

We feel that the truth falls somewhere in between and that you could get away with calling it by either name.  The only con as mentioned above is that you might have to make a few additional passes in areas where you want a really deep color.  This isn’t a dealbreaker, but it will add a little time to creating your piece (although we shouldn’t feel rushed when we are creating art anyways!).

Packaging and Presentation – 4/5

The pencils come in either a sturdy metal box or an attractive finished wooden box.  Both are very well-built and do an excellent job of protecting your pencil investment.  The pencils themselves have a color-matching barrel along with gold-stamped inclusions of the brand, type, and color.  This is a solid presentation and very representative of Caran D’ache sets.

Cost – 3/5

These are premium-priced pencils, so they aren’t cheap.  However, they tend to last a long time which can offset some of the sticker shock.  But for those on a tight art budget, they may simply be more than you are willing to spend.  However, premium pencils are never cheap and we encourage people to try to save just to have a chance to try out the higher tier of colored pencils.  Caran d’Ache pencils in particular have a very special feel to them that we feel everybody needs to try out at least once.

Overall Ranking – 3.5/5

A well-built, strong, and attractive set of pencils, the Caran D’ache Pablo colored pencils are a great choice for those in the market for a new set of high-end pencils that are also water-resistant.  The hard wax/oil-based core results in a smooth application and good blending with little wax bloom (thanks to the higher oil content), but at the minor cost of requiring more passes or pressure in certain scenarios. 

These are great precision pencils.  All-in-all, this line will compete with any other premium offering on the market.  However, those after a true oil pencil will find that the great benefits of high oil-content pencils are lacking here.

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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