lyra rembrandt aquarell artists' colored pencils review

Visual Appeal
Overall Ranking

Lyra Rembrandt Aquarell Artists’ Colored Pencils

12-72 count pack

Oil core

Hexagonal barrel



Smooth Application

Color is Easily Spread


Fragile Core

Still Rather Expensive

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Lyra Rembrandt Aquarell Artists’ Colored Pencils Review

Updated by Brandon F. on September 12, 2023

The Lyra Rembrandt Aquarell Artists’ Colored Pencils are a water-soluble option made by this popular German brand.  The oil-based core is designed to output lovely and intense colors while interacting well with the addition of water or various types of solvents.  We always like to see more oil-based cores come to the market as they offer a unique experience for the user. 

This watercolor-like colored pencil set has a thick 4mm lead and a hexagonal shell.  It is available in sets ranging from 12 pieces up to 72.

Visual Appeal – 4/5

The color output here is quite nice and should rival most other premium sets.  The oil core shines, producing a relatively thick and somewhat creamy hue that can be blended to an extent even dry.  Where it excels is with the inclusion of some water.  This opens up the color and allows you to easily spread it across a canvas.  Very smooth and consistent color is possible which makes these watercolor pencils great for skyscapes, buildings, or smooth skin.

As for color selection, we recommend trying to go with one of the larger sets such as the 72 piece as the color variety is quite good and makes this set versatile enough for just about any setting.  Our only complaint is that the color output wasn’t always well-represented by the color of the barrel.  In fact, in some cases, the true color produced was several shades off.  Because of this, make sure you test the pencils on some scrap paper before applying it to your final piece.

Usability and Durability – 3/5

The 4mm core is plenty thick and can produce a lot of color with minimal effort.  As mentioned above, the addition of water makes it very easy to spread so you can cover a lot of canvas quickly with these.  We prefer the hexagonal barrel as well as it gives a better grip and control.  And being a larger pencil, the faces of the hexagonal barrel will allow for a better grip for those with smaller hands.

The one major issue (which is somewhat common with many oil-based cores) is that the lead is somewhat fragile.  It seems to fracture and break with any exceeding levels of pressure.  For those that tend to push down somewhat hard, you may become frustrated at constantly having to resharpen these pencils.  This also causes the pencils to wear down much quicker and since these are premium-priced, it can be a bit of a blow to your pocketbook. 

Furthermore, the lead is a bit harder than other oil cores and may remind some people of a wax pencil.  However, you don’t have to deal with the wax bloom, which is nice.  But for those people who prefer a soft and more buttery feel, you may not be content.

Packaging and Presentation – 3.5/5

These watercolor pencils come in the somewhat standard Lyra offering of a metal tin.  Depending on which size you go with, they will either be single or double-layered.  The pencils themselves have a colorless top and middle barrel with only the base being dipped in a matching color (however, as mentioned earlier, don’t count on the barrel base color to perfectly match the actual pencil output color). 

The standard Lyra trademark and pencil type are stamped in the middle of the barrel in black ink.  All in all, it is a nice look but nothing groundbreaking.

Cost – 3.5/5

Lyra colored pencils of most types fall into the premium price range, although they are still noticeably cheaper than a lot of the other higher-end pencils on the market.  Being oil-based, they tend to fall towards the lower end of the price spectrum compared to other oil pencils but are still noticeably more expensive than most wax pencils. 

You have to expect to pay a bit extra to enjoy the unique benefits of an oil pencil and Lyra offers a properly performing oil watercolor pencil at a much lower barrier to entry.

Overall Ranking – 3.5/5

The Lyra Rembrandt Aquarell Artists’ Colored Pencils give us another great oil pencil to experience and, for the most part, they do a great job with it.  Color output is very good and representative of many of the other premium oil pencils we have come to love.  Their ability to transform with water is a lot of fun and something everyone should experience. 

The core is a bit on the hard side and rather fragile, however, so you may need to check your application pressure or you will find yourself having to sharpen quite often.  For the price (while still somewhat expensive), these are a decent value for those wanting to try out some oil-based pencils.

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