Scholastic Colored Pencils
Scholastic colored pencils are defined as being the next step up from student-grade, and intended for people who have some experience in using colored pencils on various mediums and applications. Blending and color intensity is generally better with these, and the cores are typically made of wax or oil. In addition, the core material is usually softer which allows for better color control and feel but can come at the cost of durability and ease-of-use. However, they are still user-friendly enough to not be overwhelming. They won’t quite have the feel and blending ability of some of the premium, professional-grade lines but they do find a happy medium.
This class introduces more specialty offerings such as certain sets that hone in on earthy tones or pencils that might have smaller cores which are intended for detailed areas. There are also plenty of broad sets that dip into all areas of the color wheel.
Packaging is usually a bit better, both in terms of the housing as well as the pencil itself. Higher-quality materials are used to construct the pencil and for someone with a bit of hands-on experience in colored pencils they might be able to appreciate it.
Cost-wise these are a step up from beginner lines, but you are paying for a higher-performing product. This is a great middle-of-the-road option for someone experienced in pencils that is ready to take that next step in their artistic endeavors without breaking the bank in the ultra premium offerings. These are also good for classroom settings that may occur in high school and mid-level college courses.
If you would like to see how all of the scholastic-grade colored pencils compare to the other tiers head on over to our Colored Pencil Comparison Chart for a full listing of all reviews.
Available in 12 to 36 pack sets, these are advertised as being a perfect combination of colors that also combines great blending and high color concentrations. Overall, this description is accurate and it is all presented in an attractive presentation and for a great price. They have a “medium-hard” level wax hardness which gives them a nice combination of blending ability and feel as well as the necessary durability people come to expect. They have a hexagonal outer wood shell.
Pros: Good color intensity and variation, durable, well-packaged, good price
Cons: Could use a bit more color selection
Marco Renoir Watercolor
The older, more expensive, watercolor brother to the Marco Raffine/Ohuhu line, the Marco Renoir Watercolors try to compete with much more expensive brands while being reasonably priced. The color is plenty vivid and you can enjoy good performance with these whether you use them dry or wet (that being said, we highly encourage you to use them wet to get the full effect). They come with an oil-based core, round barrel, and 3.7mm lead.
Pros: Excellent blending both wet and dry, relatively deep color, attractive barrel styling, competitive price
Cons: May struggle in high detail areas, somewhat flimsy storage tray
Stabilo Carbothello Pastels
The CarbOthello pastel pencils by Stabilo are pastel pencils that have a quite unique chalky texture to them. Like many pastels these blend quite well and are viable in both wet and dry applications. Color is good to quite good, even after dilution through blending, and the color options are acceptable especially in the larger sets. These 4.4mm charcoal cores come in a round barrel in quantities from 12 up to 60.
Pros: Good blending, great color, decent price
Cons: Messy, limited color selections in smaller sets
Faber-Castell Art Grip Aquarelle Watercolor
These are the complimentary watercolor line to Faber-Castell’s primary Albrecht Dürer’s. These are considered more aligned for hobbyists and students rather than professional and their harder, thinner core, less varied color choices, and price tag agrees with this. Color is still good with these, although getting it on the paper can be somewhat laborious. Once water is applied it will feel very similar to using watercolors. These unique triangular-shaped pencils with an oil core can be purchased in singles up to 60 packs.
Pros: Good color selection, nice intensity control, excels at intricate areas, good grip
Cons: Can be a bit laborious to get color onto paper
Derwent Inktense Watercolor
These colored pencils are a unique offering from Derwent for those times when watercolor applications need some added intensity. The goal is to have the intense colors of a traditional ink and pen while still having the ability to blend easily and apply over a large area. Wax-based 4mm core and 8mm round barrel and are available in singles all the way up to 72 packs.
Pros: Extremely intense visuals, good color selection, great price
Cons: Not many light colors
Prismacolor Art Stix
These are made of the same material as the core of the standard Prismacolor Softcore Pencils, so you know that you are getting a quality product. However, these do not have a casing, which has its pros and cons depending on what you are going for. The color choices are less and the price is more but you get much more “color” per stick and don’t have to deal with sharpening them. They come in 12 to 48 packs and are in a 3 ¼”x1/4”x1/4” block.
Pros: Fantastic color intensity, great for large areas, a lot of color for the price
Cons: Not very good for fine details
These pencils are quite unique in that they are triangular-shaped and furthermore they come with an A.B.S. protective coating that reinforces the wax-based core. Essentially they can go through a lot of wear and tear and still hold up. Overall they lay down color quite well and show pretty good pigmentation. They are still a bit lacking on color options, however, and are significantly more expensive than most other Staedtler offerings. These are available in sets ranging from 12 to 36 pieces.
Pros: Saturated colors, extremely comfortable to use, very durable
Cons: Poor blending, lack of color options
The older, more expensive and oil-based brother of the Marco Raffine line, the Marco Renoir tries to incorporate oil-based cores in a way that makes them user-friendly while still enjoying the blending and vivid color benefits that are common with oil. A good mid-ranged pencil that is neither too hard nor too soft. It comes in a somewhat petite round barrel.
Pros: Happy medium between hard and soft, great reds and yellows, versatile, beautiful packaging
Cons: Somewhat limited in other colors, a little difficult to lay down light layers
Prismacolor’s primary watercolor pencil offering hits the mark for the most part. The colors you get are deep, creamy, and quite blendable, especially relative to other watercolor pencils on the market. The colors are a bit lacking so blending might be a necessity since they are only available in sets of 12 to 36. Colorless round exterior.
Pros: Good blending, relatively easy to control
Cons: So-so color selection, packaging could be better
Koh-i-noor Mondeluz Watercolor
These watercolor pencils are advertised as having highly concentrated pigments in combination with the use of high-quality kaolin white clay for the core. This results in good, deep color and great application abilities. The thick 3.8mm diameter core allows for dominant strokes that cover great areas that still retain the ability to do intricate areas. Overall these do quite well in all of these areas. The sets come in 12 to 36 pieces and have a hexagonal wood shell.
Pros: Intense color, great ability to control
Cons: Hard to find, could use better color options
A new watercolor pencil brand that has recently hit the market, it does have a nice color variety and color application can be vivid if you put some force into it. However, for supposedly being a watercolor pencil it really doesn’t blend as well with water as we would like. Blending is still possible but be prepared for multiple passes.
Pros: Nice color variety, core is plenty tough, deep color tones possible
Cons: Can be tough to blend, somewhat flimsy packaging
These are an unique offering from Derwent applications that require a metallic “touch”. Available in 1 to 12-pack tins with colors like silver and antique gold. They work best in applications with a dark background. They are water soluble so this can really open up the blending and texture possibilities that are possible with these colored pencils. They have a wax core in one of Derwent’s standard 3.4mm offerings. The barrel is a 6.9mm hexagonal wood material.
Pros: Unique shimmery look, decent price
Cons: Lack of colors, not really “metallic”
A lower-end and more beginner-friendly option, the Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils attempt to combine the high-quality, easily blendable soft wax from their Premiere Soft Core line with a harder wax. These teaches proper pressure applications and makes a more durable pencil at the expense of less blending capability and also a cheaper price. Sets are available in 12 to 60 packs as well as school packs. They come in a round colored exterior.
Pros: Durable, decent color vividness
Cons: Not very good packaging, could use better blending
Another oil-based offering from Koh-i-noor, these colored pencils capture the most colors of any pencil that the company offers. Sets range up to 72 pieces with a nice variety of choices. The special oils in the lead, along with other binders, allow for dense, thick strokes without having to apply significant amounts of pressure. This is important since these are notorious for being quite fragile. Also, despite nice application, colors can seem to run together. They have a hexagonal outer wood shell.
Pros: Good color consistency, good for highly-detailed areas
Cons: Tips break easily, not a lot of color selection
These wax and oil hybrd pencils are the primary blendable colored pencil line offered by Spectrum Noir. The color wheel is actually broken down into 5 different sets of 24 pencils, with the “Essentials” set attempting to encompass many of the highly-utilized colors generally needed for a piece. Overall they have a decent combination of blendability and utilization while still being durable enough to be used on a regular basis and sharpened. It is a bit frustrating that in order to get the full color offering you have to purchase 5 different tins as opposed to having the entire group available in a single set.
Pros: Good vividness and blending, many colors, durable
Cons: Have to buy 5 sets to get all colors, color inconsistency
Caran d’Ache Fancolor
The Caran d’Ache Fancolor pencil set is intended for aspiring artists who are still learning pencil techniques. They are designed to allow for easier operation and stability while still adhering to the high standards of other Caran d’Ache products. These wax-based pencils blend well enough by themselves but are also water-soluble which opens up many more possibilities. Color selection is a bit lacking, with sizes from 12 to 40, and the pencils come in a hexagonal barrel.
Pros: Decent blending, very user-friendly, relatively tough
Cons: Limited color options, still somewhat pricey for a beginner pencil
Prismacolor gives us a unique offering in their set of erasable colored pencils. These come with erasers and a special core material that promises to still have the renowned deep and vivid color output of other lines as well as the ability to remove said color when necessary. However, color intensity really comes into question, especially for the relatively high price. Couple this with the severe lack of color choices and you have a lot of factors to consider. Comes in 12 or 24 packs with hexagonal exteriors.
Pros: Eraser works well
Cons: Lacking color intensity, poor blending, pretty expensive