My Colored Pencil Wish List

My Colored Pencil Wish List

Let’s have a little fun today. Something totally off topic as far as tutorials, discussions, and techniques. Let’s take a look at my colored pencil wish list.

And yours, too, if you care to share.

Colored Pencil Wish List

Let’s face it. No artist can have too many supplies.

Remember the last time you went to an art or craft store? All those open stock pencils in their nifty display rack. Sheets of paper, and accessories.

Those beautiful colors are enough to make your mouth water (and that’s just the lacquer!) I don’t know about you, but it’s impossible to have too many colors.

Or too many pencils.

My Colored Pencil Wish List - Faber-Castell

But most of us can’t afford to buy every colored pencil we see. The budget just doesn’t allow for that. We begin where we can and wish for others.

That wish list is what this post is all about.

My Colored Pencil Wish List

Here are other pencils on my wish list, in alphabetical order.

Caran d’Ache

Caran d’Ache is a Swiss company producing a range of writing and art supplies. Their colored pencil product line includes Pablo, Luminance, and Supracolor Soft Aquarelle pencils.

Caran d’Ache Luminance are probably the best known, and they are about the best wax-based pencil available, but they are quite expensive at $4.49 (currently at Dick Blick) for single pencils.

Luminance pencils are available in 76 colors that are highly pigmented and can be used with all the same blending methods you might use with Prismacolor. Their pigment core is soft and ideal for layering.

But what sets them apart is their opacity.

Most wax-based colored pencils are translucent in nature. You can see the influence of each layer of color through all the other layers you put over it. That’s why it’s so difficult to make white or light colors show over dark colors.

My Colored Pencil Wish List - Luminance

That is not the case with Luminance. You can draw light over dark for striking results.

The Pablo line is to Luminance with Verithin is to Prismacolor Soft Core. A thinner, harder pigment core that holds a point longer, and is great for fine details.

Derwent Drawing Pencils

Derwent Drawing Pencils have been around since 1986, when Derwent introduced the original line of six colors. Now with 24 colors, they are starting to step onto center stage with colored pencil artists.

Each color is a soft, “earthy” color. The pencils themselves are bigger than most colored pencils. The pigment core is 8mm (Prismacolor is 3.8mm). But they’re also very soft, so they lay down a lot of color quickly.

Colored Pencils 1

What attracts me to these pencils is the muted colors, which are ideal for drawing landscapes or under drawings.

They’re a medium priced pencil, currently listed at $2.02 each in open stock on Dick Blick.

Derwent Lightfast Pencils

Derwent Lightfast Pencils are brand new to the market. They are specifically designed by Derwent to be 100% lightfast; that is, every color in the collection is lightfast.

How lightfast? The company has tested them by ASTM Standards (D-6901 to be specific,) and every color is guaranteed not to fade in 100 years under museum conditions.

They’re an oil-based pencil that performs almost like a wax-based pencil, with smooth lay down and great pigmentation.

Colored Pencils Pencils 2

The downside?

There aren’t many colors, yet. Only 36.

They’re very expensive. The full set is currently $102.56 from Dick Blick. Single pencils are $2.65 each from Dick Blick.

Derwent is planning on introducing 36 more colors in the Lightfast line, but the roll-out date is still unknown.

But they are on my wish list!

Dick Blick Studio Artist’s Colored Pencils

If you’re just getting started with colored pencil drawing and want a high quality pencil for a reasonable price, you can hardly do better than Blick Studio Artist’s Colored Pencils.

The pencils are available in a variety of sets and open stock (91 colors) for about a dollar a pencil. They are a wax-based pencil, with a thick, soft pigment core, and can be used with layering and blending methods.

I’m interested in trying these pencils both because of price, and because they are manufactured by the same company that manufactures Utrecht Premium Colored Pencils. I think of Utrecht as an old, and respected company, so am interested in their colored pencil products.

Colored Pencils

Koh-I-Nor Polycolor Dry Color Drawing Pencils

I can’t say much about the Koh-I-Nor Dry Color Drawing Pencils that I didn’t say about the Koh-I-Nor Woodless Progresso pencils (see below.) I’ve been so happy with the woodless pencils for general drawing and on sanded pastel paper, that I hope the Polycolor pencils live up to the same standard.

Polycolor pencils are oil-based—another advantage as far as I’m concerned—and are moderately priced below a dollar each for the full set of 72.

Colored Pencils on a Diagonal

The only drawback—and it is significant—is that they are not available open stock. For that reason, they wouldn’t be my first choice from this list. But in my opinion, price makes them worth a try.


Lyra Rembrandt

Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor pencils are also oil-based, so they produce less wax-bloom than wax-based pencils.

The closest I’ve ever come to these pencils is having some how once gotten hold of a Lyra Splender Blender. That was back before I knew the difference between wax-based pencils and oil-based pencils. I used it to blend Prismacolor and it worked great.

They’re available in a wide range of colors open stock and in sets. Open stock price at Dick Blick is $1.72, so they’re a moderately priced pencil.

Colored Pencils in two Rows

Colored Pencils I Wish Were Available

More Colors, Please.

The Koh-I-Nor Progresso Woodless pencils are fabulous to work with, especially on sanded art surfaces. But they come in only 24 colors, some of which are of no use to an animal or landscape artist! I’d love to see more earth tones, and “earthy” blues, greens, and yellows.

The same goes for the Derwent Drawing Pencils. Those muted tones are said to be beautiful and the pencils themselves a delight to use. I have only the Chinese White, but I definitely plan to buy a set one of these days. Twenty-four colors is a great start, but I’d really love to see a wider range.

Prismacolors the way they used to be.

Who wouldn’t want that?

I have a pencil or two dating back to the Eagle days, as well as a few that are newer, but still predate the current Prismacolor. I would dearly love for someone to buy back the brand and get back to manufacturing a colored pencil for artists and by artists.

Colored Pencils in a Circle

That’s My Colored Pencil Wish List

At least at present. Who knows? Something new may come along any day, and merit addition to this list.

But isn’t that the way it is with art supplies? There’s always something new!

What pencils are on your wish list?


  1. “Polycolor pencils are oil-based—another advantage as far as I’m concerned—and are moderately priced at about a dollar each for the full set of 72.
    The only drawback—and it is significant—is that they are not available open stock.”
    In Middle Europe these are probably the cheapest artist grade pencils one can get. KIN Polycolor sets can be found in every stationery shop and I know at least 4 places in my town (I live in Poland) where you can buy them open stock for 2-2,5 zlotys each (1$~3,6 zlotys), metallic colors are to be a bit more expensive, but there are only 2 of them. It’s even cheaper online, since you can get a set of 72 (in a carboard box) for 99 zl + about 10 shipment costs. But if you’re not planning on hijacking a plane to Europe I guess you can still get them cheaper on Amazon.
    I don’t know if that’s gonna cheer you up, but prismacolor pencils on the other hand are incredibly hard to get here, awfully expensive (a set of 24 costs about 115-120 zl PLUS shipment costs) and the cheapest possible option is getting them online through German Amazon and waiting next 2 weeks for shipment. Let’s not mention buying them open stock. I only read of those.

    Do you have any opinion on Bruynzeel Design Aquarell pencils? I can get them very cheap on sale and that fancy package lures me, but it’s hard to find a review online.
    Love your blog!

    1. Agnieszka,

      I’m delighted to hear from you from Poland. Thank you so much for joining the discussion!

      I’m not currently planning a trip to Europe, but will keep your information in mind. It sounds like a great opportunity to pick up a new brand of pencil!

      I’ve heard other people say Prismacolor are very difficult to get in other countries and are also very expensive when they can be found. Part of that is no doubt due to exchange rates.

      My only personal experience with the Bruynzeel brand is with a set of the old Fullcolor pencils years ago. I have no idea where I found them, but I loved them. I still have the stubs of several of the colors I didn’t use very much. A grey, a couple of red or pink pencils, and Sanquine (I think.) They were a great pencil, laid down color very well, and seemed to last forever.

      I posted a review of the current Bruynzeel dry pencils, but haven’t used them myself. They seem to be a good quality pencil, but they do not appear to be available open stock here in the US. For me, that’s reason enough not to try them.

      If you can get them open stock, I see no reason not to try them. Bruynzeel products are good products, overall.

      Your comment not only cheered me up (I love hearing from readers in other countries,) but you brought a bit of joy to my morning as well. For that, I’m always thankful!

  2. Kristi

    I’ve been buying Koh-i-nor Polycolor colored pencils out of open stock at my local art store, Meininger’s, in Denver, Colorado. They’re relatively new so I don’t know what I think of them yet except that they seem to lay color down nicely.

  3. Anne

    Paper wish list: Aqua Bee Pastel paper in a range of neutrals…mostly dark guys & browns.

    I have a few pieces of paper left from an tablet – probably from the 1980s. Bee paper does make it anymore. I dislike textured paper…this is smooth, but not a slick like a hot press or bristol. Until i can find it again, or something similar, I am hoarding the few sheets I have left.

  4. Patricia Wilson

    Wanted to let you know that I just did a greeting card with colored pencils after embossing flowers on it and based on your tips for coloring and drawing with pencils, it was outstanding. Thank you for what you do. I enjoy your columns.

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