I received an interesting question for this week’s Q&A post: What are the best colored pencils for adult coloring books?
And the reader did an even more interesting thing. He took price off the table!
The Best Colored Pencils for Adult Coloring Books
I really enjoyed answering this question. It’s almost like putting together a personal wish list!
The good news is that the best pencils for coloring books are artist grade pencils. Few coloring books are printed on artist-quality paper, so the better your pencils, the better your results. Combining a lesser quality paper with poor quality pencils is going to be unsatisfactory, at best.
How you draw and the results you prefer all play a role in choosing pencils, too. What works for me may not work for you.
Artists with hand or wrist problems may also need to consider the shape and size of the pencils.
So what I’ll do is list the pencils I’d use for coloring book work and I’ll list them in order of rank, starting with the pencil I’d be most likely to use.
First Hand Recommendations
Let’s begin with the pencils I have either used in the past or currently use. I’m listing seven brands in order of familiarity. The pencils at the head of the list are the pencils I’m most familiar with. The pencils at the bottom are pencils I’m currently trying, and have very few of.
- Faber-Castell Polychromos
- Blick Studio
- Derwent Lightfast
- Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor
- Caran d’Ache Luminance
- Caran d’Ache Pablo
Prismacolor and Polychromos pencils are my favorite pencils for almost every application. I do finished art with them, I sketch with them, I do test swatches with them. Yes, I have used them on a coloring page or two.
I don’t think you can go wrong with either of those two brands.
What’s even better is that they work well together.
Blick Studio pencils are a good pencil if price is an issue or if you find Prismacolors too soft and Polychromos too hard. I have a full set and use them most on sanded art papers because that’s the best combination of pencil and paper for the way I draw. But they can also be useful with adult coloring books.
I have about half a dozen Derwent Lightfast pencils and I enjoy using them, though my use has been limited so far. They are probably a bit pricey for adult coloring books, but if money is no object, they would do very well.
The same applies to the pencils from Caran d’Ache. Luminance and Pablo are both absolutely top of the line in pigmentation and lightfast ratings, but they may be more than you need for adult coloring books.
Second Hand Recommendations
Other artists recommend the following three pencils, but I have not used them.
- Bruynzeel Design
- Derwent Coloursoft
- Derwent ProColour
These are recommendations only, but the reviews and recommendations I’ve seen and heard are mostly good.
Those are My Picks for Best Colored Pencils for Adult Coloring Books
The pencils on these lists are all considered artist quality or near artist quality. Prices range from very affordable to pretty pricey.
I hope that helps! Thank you again for your question.
At the beginning of July, I started a new sketching habit, which I’ve been documenting every Monday on my art blog, Carrie-Lewis.com. This Monday’s post is a sort of pencil review. I did all of the sketches on white Clairefontaine Pastelmat, but I used different pencils, including Faber-Castell Polychromos, Prismacolor, and Derwent Lightfast.
You can see the results of those sketches and read my thoughts on how the pencils performed here. That may give you a better idea of how each of the pencils I reviewed actually performed.