Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils Review

Visual Appeal
Overall Ranking

Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils

1-120 count pack

Oil core

Round Barrel



Fantastic Color Intensity

Good Blending

Great Color Selection

Impressive Packaging


Pretty Expensive 

Check Current Prices on Amazon

Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils Review

Updated by Brandon F. on August 22, 2023

One of Faber-Castell’s primary offerings, the oil-based Polychromos colored pencils embosses the fantastic quality that we have come to expect from this company.  The unique core design results in a thick, pigmented application that is right at home with aggressive blending and shading.  The color manages to feel soft and thick while still being easy to work with. 

With a huge color choice of up to 120 count sets available, just about any color approach imaginable can be achieved with these.  The hearty core is wrapped around in a round wooden exterior.

Visual Appeal – 4.5/5

Color-wise there isn’t much that can beat these.  The color is mostly true-to-form and what you see on the outside of the pencil is what you get.  Depending on the application, you can get deep colors with fantastic intensity.  Blending is quite good although, being an oil-based pencil, the assistance of turpentine/thinner is encouraged by not required.  Polychromos means “many colors” and this name is quite accurate as you can go from singles up to the 120-piece behemoth set. 

There are some minor complaints with the smaller sets of there not being a good representation of the entire color wheel, however.  But with the available blending, you still have plenty of flexibility even in the smaller sets.

In particular, we enjoy the bright colors.  They take advantage of this special oil core and produce fantastic color that seems to jump off of the page.  However, darker colors are also very capable.  It is very easy to produce the results you want as the pencils do a great job of filling up each stroke with whatever hue you are going for.  You might have to keep yourself in check to make sure that you don’t apply too much color starting.

Usability and durability – 4/5

The oil-based core of the Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils manages to be quite strong while still having a soft feel to it.  This happy balance is something that Faber-Castell is very good at and has nearly perfected here.  The application is a joy and exploring the different characteristics of the color on the paper never gets old.

Blending will be greatly assisted with the help of a thinner, however, so this needs to be considered before going to work with these.  That being said, you can still blend successfully without the assistance of paint thinner if necessary.  But to open the core material up, just a small dab of some sort of solvent seems to release things. 

It also helps to spread the color out over a quite large area.  This is perfect for skylines or subtle skin tones on a human or other mammal.  The cores can also be sharpened to a decent point thanks to their strength.  This means that you can handle detailed aspects equally as well.  And the sharp pin should remain sharp for an acceptable period (unless you tend to push down extremely hard).

Packaging and Presentation – 5/5

The smaller sets come in a sturdy metal tin with individual compartments for each pencil.  The larger sets (72 and 120) can also be had in a gorgeous wooden case.  The pencils themselves have a thick, round color-matching exterior with attractive gold labeling and a band on the base.  This is a pretty standard look for Faber-Castell and one that, over the years, we have come to associate with quality.

Cost – 3.5/5

These pencils are definitely in the premium group of offerings and their price reflects this.  Prices per pencil go well into the premium price range, especially with the optional wood case.   For some people, this might be too much for what amounts to a casual hobby but for those professionals who want some of the best, you have to pay to play.  And with the right hands, you will be able to achieve some special results with these pencils that most “lesser” sets won’t be able to match.

Overall ranking – 4.5/5

The Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils have been a proven main offering from Faber-Castell for hundreds of years, and their approach hits on all points.  For those who can handle the sticker shock, these oil-based pencils will be a joy to use: great color, usability, packaging, and construction. 

There are also plenty of colors to choose from and for whatever color voids there are, you can easily fill with the inclusion of some solvent.  There aren’t any major (or even minor) downfalls with this set other than the asking price, which we feel is completely worth it.  We encourage you to save up and check them up for yourself.

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