The Best Colored Pencils for Adult Coloring Books in 2023

Coloring books have become a popular hobby for adults all over the world in recent years. Adult coloring is a very relaxing hobby with numerous benefits that allows you to create beautiful works of art even if you are a beginner on a budget.

Colored pencils are popular among both beginners and professionals. They produce stunningly vibrant colors, have pointed tips that are ideal for detailing, and are extremely lightweight and easy to use.

When it comes to colored pencils for adult coloring books, there is a vast universe out there. There are numerous variations and manufacturers to choose from, not to mention the various price points and color quality.

Colored pencils aren't your only option for coloring. If you'd rather experiment with different tools, we can show you the best markers or even some of the best gel pens for coloring.

Everyone has a preference, and colored pencils can work wonders on your projects, so let's take a closer look.

Table of Contents

How to Choose the Best Colored Pencils for Adult Coloring Books

Professional artists and experienced colorists will tell you that there are many subtle differences between the various brands and sets of colored pencils on the market today.

However, if you're a beginner, it can be difficult to tell one pencil from another. Trying to find a set that will meet your needs and deciding which one to try can be intimidating.

The best colored pencils for adult coloring book beginners will have the following characteristics:

  • Rich Pigment Quality – Many colored pencil sets are labeled Professional/Artist-grade, as opposed to Student-grade. Artist-grade art supplies are generally of higher quality and can lay down vibrant colors with a single stroke. This results in a wonderfully smooth coloring experience.

  • Wide Variety of Colors – While many high-quality colored pencils are blendable, beginners should start with a diverse color palette. Having a variety of hues and shades on hand gives you a lot of leeways when coloring pictures of various themes – landscapes, animals, abstract shapes, and even mythical creatures.

  • Sturdy and Comfortable Barrel Shape – Colored pencils are typically round or hexagonal. Colorists with experience have preferences, but both are generally comfortable to hold for long periods of coloring.

  • Sturdy Core (Oil-Based vs. Wax-Based) – Because of the quality of the core inside the pencil, the best colored pencils glide smoothly on paper. Colored pencil cores are classified into two types: oil-based and wax-based.

Wax-based colored pencils are the most common and least expensive type for adult coloring books. They're an excellent choice for beginners because the softer wax cores make it simple to blend and layer colors on top of each other. The wax bloom – a waxy sheen that appears on the surface of the coloring book paper – is a significant disadvantage.

Because oil-based cores are much harder than wax-based cores, they can be sharpened to a very fine point and wear down more slowly. Oil-based colored pencils lay down vibrant colors that don't bloom and last a long time on the page.

Most importantly, the best colored pencils for beginners offer excellent value for money. If you're new to the coloring scene, you might be hesitant to spend large sums of money on pencil sets.

When you've had a lot of coloring experience, you'll become pickier about the color quality, ease of use, core type, blend-ability, and even barrel shape that you prefer.

Our list of the top ten colored pencils for adult coloring books includes the most important pros and cons of each, as well as the best brand for your level of experience and whether you will get good value for your money.

Best Colored Pencils for Adult Coloring Books Reviews:

      1. Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

The wax-based, soft leads of the Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils are ideal for shading and layering colors. The pigment is richly saturated and intense, and the color is applied smoothly in each stroke. Coloring is consistent and creamy, making it ideal for both broad coverage and fine detailing.

The lead is strong and thick, and it does not chip even when used by heavy-handed colorists. There's no need to worry about sharpening because all pencil sets include a sharpener that works best with the round barrels of Prismacolor Premier pencils.

The soft-core range includes up to 150 colors with no repeats, but even if you buy a smaller set, you can easily blend two or three colors to create a shade that isn't included. The reds and blues are particularly varied, and you'll be able to let your imagination run wild when it comes to the shades and tints you can create.

Prismacolor provides professional-grade art supplies, and their prices reflect this. The quality is so high that even though it is on the higher end of the price spectrum, we enthusiastically recommend it.

  • The pigment quality is vibrant.
  • On paper, it glides smoothly.
  • Blending is simple.
  • A wide range of colors is available.
  • Relatively expensive.

      2. Crayola Colored Pencils

Crayola's colored pencil set is a great entry-level option. Although their largest package contains 100 colors, it's still fairly inexpensive.

Color quality is assured because Crayola is a well-known brand in the business, despite the inexpensive pricing. As a wax-based lead, it produces amazingly vibrant colors, and it glides over coloring book paper almost as smoothly as more costly colored pencils do! Even in smaller sets, the color variety is excellent, with no notable gaps between the colors. You can use the larger sets (50 and 100) to color nature or ocean-themed coloring books.

Unfortunately, these pencils don't mix very well, and you can't achieve any high-level shading effects with these pencils at all. But for those who are just getting started with simple coloring, this won't be a big deal.

If you know someone who is just starting in coloring, Crayola colored pencils make great gifts. The package of 100 adult coloring books will not break the bank, and the sheer variety of color options will inspire anyone's creativity. 

  • Wide range of color options
  • Effortless application of color
  • It's a good deal
  • Not blendable

   3. Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils

Colored pencils with oil-based Polychromos from Faber-Castell are some of the best on the market. There is no comparison in terms of color quality, with vibrant colors that appear to pop off the page. If you're used to lower-quality pencils, you may have to alter how hard you press down.

Using oil-based cores makes blending a lot easier, and these colored pencils do a great job at it. With no worries about bloom, you may layer colors as much as you like without worrying about them clashing. Your artwork will survive a long time because the colors are extremely lightfast.

The color application is smooth and the lead is strong but gentle. You won't have to worry about it disintegrating even if you use it for a long time.

One of the most expensive sets of colored pencils is Polychromos, and some colorists may not want to spend so much money on a pastime. Many colors are available individually, so you don't have to buy the whole set to receive a high-quality experience.

  • Colors that are bright and powerful
  • It does not have a wax bloom.
  • Lead that is shatterproof
  • Expensive

      4. Arteza Professional Colored Pencils

On any surface, Arteza's 4 mm wax-based lead will lay down smooth and brilliant colors. As a result, the wax bloom is so little that it might almost pass for an oil-based pencil.

Blendability is the most outstanding aspect of these pencils. A solvent or eraser can be used to blend – there is no resistance, even with five or more layers of color. Color blending and layering open up a whole new universe of coloring possibilities.

Sharpen them with any sharpener and you won't have to worry about them crumbling. Points that are sharp are ideal for detailing. In order to make color identification easy, the round barrels are lacquered with their corresponding pigments. Levels are printed on the barrel so you can easily decide which colors to combine in one piece.

In this price range, Arteza's colored pencils blend best. As a result, they are ideal for both beginners and experienced artists.

  • It's a perfect blend.
  • Wax bloom is minimal to non-existent
  • Good value for money.
  • Flimsy case

 5. Derwent Coloursoft Colored Pencils

Incredibly supple, Derwent's 4-mm wax cores deliver vibrant shades with ease. As you're coloring, the pencils glide over a variety of surfaces with no problem at all. Particularly if you like bright colors, they are ideal because they allow you to achieve rich, dynamic hues in a matter of seconds with just a few strokes.

With the core, you can create almost any color by blending. Stacking colors in a coloring book doesn't have to result in a waxy or shiny finish on the color.

The softcore is designed to resist breaking. Using any type of sharpener, they can be easily honed to a fine point, and the lead won't crumble as you continue to use them. You can use it to color details in small areas.

It's a bit pricey, but if you like to play around with gradients and shading, we can't recommend them enough. Because these pencils are similar to pastels, they are easy to blend and have a great deal of fun with.

  • Blendable to a high degree.
  • An application that is soft and smooth.
  • Lead is a tough metal that can't be broken.
  • Relatively expensive

      6. Black Widow Colored Pencils

Hexagonal barrels encase the wax-based cores of Black Widow's pencils, which feel great in the hand and are a bit easier to grip than round pencils. Smooth and simple coloring, with excellent color quality for the price. Reds, yellows, and oranges of the brightest hues can be found here. Wax bloom only appears after about five or six layers of color.

Colorists with heavy hands don't have to worry about breaking or crumbling the core because the 3.5-mm lead sharpens well and can withstand a lot of pressure. Its overall construction is sturdy and durable, so it's well worth the investment.

They're available in three 24-piece sets: Original, Scorpion Edition, and Cobra Edition. Because the Original set has so many color gaps, you'll need to buy at least one more set to make up for the initial low cost. Even two sets are much more affordable than premium brands, and the quality is excellent for the price.

  • A color output that is rich and vibrant
  • Blends well with other flavors.
  • Affordable.
  • Sold in 3 sets of 24

   7. Castle Art Colored Pencils

It's easy to color with the wax-based core from Castle Art. Dense cores, however, can withstand even the most aggressive colorists. Any type of coloring book is comfortable and easy to use.

Colored pencils are very easy to blend, but after a few layers, watch out for wax bloom. A premium rounded Basswood barrel is used for the barrel, which is easy to sharpen and comfortable to hold.

In a sturdy tin, the 120 pieces are organized in color-coded folders with names, numbers, and descriptions of each color. With this method, you'll have no trouble staying organized and you'll never lose track of what colors you're using again.

Castle Art offers some of the best colored pencil sets for adult coloring books because of the wide range of colors and the low price.

  • Lead that is highly pigmented.
  • Easily blends.
  • Affordable.
  • High wax bloom.

      8. Caran d’Ache Luminance Colored Pencils

Caran d'Ache's products are aimed at serious artists who are serious about their work. A decade's worth of testing and research has resulted in the most lightfast colored pencils ever created. Using color has never been easier, with all shades incredibly vibrant and deftly texture. Smooth and creamy, the color output glides over surfaces like nothing else.

Blending is an absolute breeze, and you can use these pencils for any technique, for all levels of gradation, overlaying, and coloring. These pencils are wax-based, but you wouldn’t be able to tell because there is almost no wax bloom no matter how many different colors you layer. You can layer a dozen colors, going from light to dark and back to light with no problem at all.

Aside from being resilient and strong, the core is also easy to sharpen and can withstand high-pressure applications. On the page or in the sharpener, there's no risk of crumbling or breaking.

When it comes to the color palette, Caran d'Ache focuses on vibrant hues that pop off the page. A different brand is required if you're looking for earthy, dull shades.

This is one of the most expensive pencils available on the market. But if you can find a good deal on Amazon, they're well worth a shot, regardless of your level of expertise.

  • The fastest pencil available on the market
  • Brilliant hues
  • Paper with a silky sheen
  • Expensive

  9. Staedtler Ergosoft Colored Pencils

There are a variety of colored pencils available from Staedtler that are ideal for beginners and casual colorists. For hours of fun coloring, their waxy centers are protected by their triangular non-skid grips that are ergonomic and non-slip, making them easy to hold and use. Protection from breakage is ensured by the Anti-Break System (ABS) protective coating.

Bright and vivid pigmentation results in smooth color output. With a coloring book, you don't have to exert a lot of pressure to get rich colors. There are a lot of different shades and hues that can be created by blending and they stand out.

Only 24 colors are in Staedtler Ergosoft's largest set. The pencils come in a container that converts into a fun, stand-up easel, allowing you to keep your table clutter-free while coloring.

However, these pencils are designed for long-term use, making them an excellent investment for coloring books.

  • Very well blended.
  • Design that is both durable and ergonomic.
  • Stand-up container
  • Only a few colors are available

 10. Marco Raffine Colored Pencils

An ergonomic hexagonal barrel houses the 3.7-mm core of Marco Raffine's pistol. Due to the lead's relative hardness compared to other wax-based pencils, it is easy to sharpen into a fine point. You can use this to fill in small details in your writing. For long-term use, the Raffine's harder, more durable lead is designed for use.

As a result of the hard lead, layering colors or creating gradients requires a bit more effort. In spite of this, even beginners will be able to get through it and layer the colors in an attractive manner. The page's color intensity is above average, with yellows and oranges, in particular, standing out as particularly vivid. Using Marco Renoirs in conjunction with the Raffines is a great way to color larger areas.

For a very reasonable price, Marco's colored pencils come in a wide range of colors to choose from. It is easy to recommend them to colorists of any experience level.

  • Lead is a hard, durable material.
  • Easy to grip.
  • It's incredibly affordable.
  • When it comes to color layering, it's a bit more work.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best colored pencils for beginners?

Brands like Prismacolor and Faber-Castell make coloring pencils that are foolproof for artists of all levels. Unfortunately, they may be out of reach for the casual hobbyist. Colored pencils from Crayola, Staedtler, and Arteza are less expensive, but still provide a great experience for those who are just beginning to color.

Should I use colored pencils on my coloring books?

Coloring pencils are perfect for adult coloring books and are a top choice for hobbyists of all skill levels, whether they are beginners or experts. It's easy to use, they don't bleed through coloring book paper, and they're flexible in terms of coverage. When coloring in small details, sharp points can be used, while softer cores can be used for coloring in larger areas.

How do you blend colored pencils?

In order to blend colored pencils, either a colorless blending pencil or a solvent should be used as a solvent. Using a solvent will eliminate pencil strokes and make your art look like a painting. In order to make colored areas look more uniform, use blending pencils.

What colored pencil brands will not crumble or break?

Whatever brand you choose, wax-based colored pencils are prone to breaking no matter how carefully you use them. Dropped or improperly handled pencils may lose their lead before you even begin coloring. Leaving a broken pencil in a warm place for a while will allow the wax core to fuse back together.

What colored pencils do artists use?

Because they are of such high quality, professional and artist-grade colored pencils are generally very expensive. Caran d'Ache, Derwent, Faber-Castell, Lyra, Prismacolor and Tombow are just a few of the well-known top-tier brands.


When choosing coloring pencils for adult coloring books, there are several factors to consider.

You'll get through several hours of coloring books with a set of wax-based pencils in a variety of colors if you're a newbie to the hobby.

The majority of coloring pencils available on the market are easy to blend, so you can easily create many more colors and gradients to give your work even more versatility and individuality.

The more experience you gain, the more likely you are to decide that the more expensive and high-quality coloring pencils are worth the money. It's easy to go with the most popular brands if you have the money, and you may find that using them will help you improve your art.

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