Color Picker Programs for Colored Pencils

Color Picker Programs for Colored Pencils

I don’t often discuss color picker programs because I don’t use them very often.

But they can be useful, and today’s question comes from a reader who is looking for a good color picker. Here’s the question.

I have a question about these colour-picker programs. Could you do a post on them? Do they list colours only for Faber, or also for other brands (I have a few)? Thanks!

Color Picker Programs for Colored Pencils

The quick answer to this question is that any photo editor is capable of being a color picker tool. In the past, I’ve used Irfanview, Photoshop, GIMP, and now Affinity to pick colors for artwork and graphic design. All of them are versatile and easy to use, though they do vary in what they offer.

The downside—if there is a downside—is that they don’t give color names for specific brands of pencils. They don’t give color names at all. Instead, they show a sample of the isolated color and (in some apps) the hex code.

Color Picker Programs
This is the color picker from Affinity Photo. I used the dropper tool to isolate a light blue in the photo and the app shows me the mix and the hex code. But no color names.

It’s up to me to find the best match among all the pencils I use. I can think of several colors among all my pencils to match the blue in the illustration above.

And the fact is that if you do a quick search for color pickers for artists, most of them won’t even be for fine artists. Instead, they’re geared more toward interior design, graphic design, and web design. Yes. They can be useful.

No. They will not list color names for various brands of pencils.

A Few of the Color Pickers I Found

I did a couple of searches using the key phrase “color pickers for artists” and “colored pickers for colored pencils.” There were a lot of results, but as I mentioned above, only a few of them actually provide what this reader is asking about.

But there were so many options, that I chose four to highlight in this post.

The Color Catalog Series from Sarah Renae Clark*

Let me begin with a color picking system that goes beyond simple color picking. Artist Sarah Renae Clark developed The Color Catalog a few years ago and it was so popular, she followed up with The Color Catalog II, and The Color Catalog Companion.

Color Pickers for Artists

She developed these tools initially for coloring book artists, but they are also very helpful for any kind of design work involving colors.

Even fine art.

The Color Catalog Companion supports Prismacolor, Faber-Castell, Caran d’Ache, Black Widow, Derwent (including Inktense,) Copic Markers, Ohuhu Markers, Spectrum Noir Markers, and Tombow Dual Brush Pens.

The Color Catalogs are $29 each and the Companion is $45. The bundle of all three is $57.

* Contains affiliate links.

Palette Generator

This is a free-to-use online app. You upload an image, select the area to sample, and the program shows you the colors in the selection.

I uploaded a photo, selected an area, and received the color samples shown here.

No pencil brands are listed because this is not an artist’s tool in particular.

But if you know your colors fairly well, you can match your pencils with these swatches. For example, I have a pretty good idea which Faber-Castell Polychromos, Prismacolor, or other pencils I have in stock are good matches for these samples.

Since this is an online tool, you can use it for free on any computer or mobile device.

Colored Pencil Picker: The Ultimate Drawing Tool

This is one of the tools I found that does show color names for Prismacolor, Faber-Castell, Caran d’Ache and Arteza.

It also allows for mixing up to three colors, provides an image grid, a mix ratio and more.

It’s a free app from Google Play, but it’s compatible with Android only.

I didn’t test this app because there isn’t a Mac-based version available. But if you use an Android device, this could be a good app to test.

(If you do test it, let us know what you thought of it.)

Color Picker Programs

Those Are My Selections for Color Picker Programs

Notice I didn’t say recommendations. I can’t recommend any of these color picker apps for the very simple reason that I’ve never used them.

But they are good starting points.

And I hope they are either exactly what you’re looking for, or that they lead you to exactly what you’re looking for.

Got a question? Ask Carrie!


  1. Robert Teeple

    I have tried to use the app Color Picker several times and I have trouble finding the main colors on the picture. It gives you the three colors on a spasific spot and it veries quite a bit as you move the bulls eye.

    1. Robert,

      Identifying specific colors in each area is the purpose of most color pickers.

      The main colors in each picture will usually be color families such as red, green, yellow, blue, and so on.

      Color pickers then tell you what specific color variations are present in each area.

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