Marco Renoir Watercolor Pencils Review

Visual Appeal
Overall Ranking

Marco Renoir Watercolor Pencils

24-72 count pack

Oil core

Round barrel



Excellent Blending Both Wet and Dry

Relatively Deep Color

Attractive Barrel Styling

Competitive Price


May Struggle in High-Detail Areas

Somewhat Flimsy Storage Tray

Check Current Prices on Amazon

Marco Renoir Watercolor Pencils Review

Last updated by Brandon F. on October 25, 2023

Many of you have likely heard of or experienced the Marco Raffine colored pencils or one of their “clones” such as the Ohuhu colored pencil line that we discuss on this site.  The Renoir line attempts to bump the quality up a notch and also add a more potent water-soluble ability, making these hybrid watercolor pencils.  The oil-based cores strive for a creamier application that can handle blending both from the addition of water as well as by simple dry layering.  These pencils come with a 3.7mm core, have a round barrel, and come in 24, 36, 48, and 72-count sets.

Visual Appeal – 4.5/5

We were very content with the Marco Raffine line and these Marco Renoir bumped it up a notch higher.  Color application is plenty vivid for a watercolor pencil and the creamy application allows for relatively thick, powerful strokes of color.  The pencils do well enough dry but where they shine is when you add some water. 

The colors blend very consistently and can easily handle multiple layers which allow for some very dynamic and fun color ranges.  The 48-pack set that we got our hands on came with a very diverse range of reds and blues which makes it an excellent choice for pieces that contain water and/or flowers or other red objects.

There is also a rather large selection of muted colors such as grays, browns, and tans.  This is good for landscape scenes or anywhere else where you don’t need as much “pop”.  You can further mute the colors simply by adding a bit more water and spreading them over a larger area.

Usability and Durability – 4.5/5

The buttery application of the oil-based lead is a joy to work with and you will have fun exploring the different layering techniques that are possible.  As mentioned above, adding water brings on a whole new level and the “watercolor” side of these pencils shows out.  You can cover a lot of paper with a relatively small amount of color which not only helps to prolong the life of these pencils but also makes them great for areas where you only want subtle colors such as the sky, skin tones, snow, etc.

Being a softer lead, you will struggle a bit more to keep a sharp point for very long which means you may want to swap to a harder lead for detailed areas such as eyelashes and blades of grass.  However, the cores are still plenty strong and you don’t have to worry about constant cracking or breaking when trying to sharpen or use them.

Packaging and Presentation – 3.5/5

These pencils come in an attractive tin box that is double-layered with pencils.  The trays that the pencils sit on are rather flimsy and made of very thin plastic.  While lightweight, we did have some issues with accidentally “squeezing” pencils out from the slots when trying to lift the trays. 

The pencils themselves are gorgeous and are adorned with color-matching bases with a blue stripe in between the colored area of the barrel and the exposed wooden top.  Marco Renoir is stamped on the base along with the color in matching silver leaf.  At the top is some sort of barcode that we don’t often see on colored pencils and honestly, could do without.

Cost – 4/5

These watercolor pencils fall into the mid-priced category.  While this is a bit higher of an asking price than their litter brother, the Marco Raffine line, the performance, usability, and fit/finish justify a slight upcharge.  You also will get to enjoy this special core for far less than you would have to pay for comparable cores offered by the premium brands of the industry.  So for most, the pricepoint will still be within budget and a good overall value.

Overall Ranking – 4.5/5

The Marco Renoir Watercolor Pencil line adds another viable competitor to the ever-growing watercolor pencil market.  We were very impressed with the overall performance, particularly in the pencils’ ability to behave well both dry and wet.  However, you would be doing a disservice to this line if you didn’t at least explore them with the addition of water as the blending, thanks to the soft oil core, is excellent. 

The packaging is acceptable other than one minor issue and the durability is at a level that should make these not only easy to work with but also last for an acceptable period.  Finally, this all comes in at a price that is very reasonable considering the overall performance.

*We received a sample set of Marco Renoir Watercolor Pencils for our honest and unbiased review.  All of the thoughts and opinions on these pencils are unsolicited and completely from the writers at

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