What are some of the best colored pencil brands for adult coloring books?
Colored pencils are one of the best artistic media for adult coloring books. They don’t bleed through the page, they have small enough tips to get into tiny areas for detail work, and they can be layered to create effects and custom shades.
You can also use markers, pens, and even crayons for your coloring pages, but we highly recommend colored pencils, especially if you are just beginning to get into coloring books and aren’t ready to spend a lot of money on many different art sets.
Here at Art Therapy Coloring, we have tried many different kinds of colored pencils. Some work really well, and some not so much. Some colored pencils are great for specific effects that you may want to use on your adult coloring pages. To a certain extent you get what you pay for, but there are a few kinds of colored pencils that are both incredibly affordable and incredibly effective.
Here are some of the brands and options that we have tried, and our thoughts about them:
Prismacolor colored pencils
Prismacolor colored pencils are a decent value for a great set of pencils. This is our favorite brand so far. Prismacolors aren’t the cheapest pencils that you can find, but they are a good value for your money. Prismacolors are exceptionally high quality pencils. They are basically the standard for higher end colored pencils used by artists and they work great for adult coloring books!
One of the things we like best about Prismacolor pencils is that they go on very thick if you press on them a bit. It can be difficult to get a rich color with other colored pencils, especially if the pencil lead is very hard. Prismacolor pencils typically have relatively soft pencil lead so you can get a nice bold color without having to layer over and over again.
Overall, Prismacolors are one of the best colored pencils you can get for the money, and you will definitely be pleased with the vibrancy of the colors.
Sargent Art Colored Pencils
Sargent Art pencils take second place on the list because of the super low prices – far cheaper than Prismacolor. However, they are not as vibrant or strong. This is the point at which quality does go down with price, but if you’re on a budget, you can still create beautiful coloring pages with Sargent Art colored pencils.
Artist’s Loft Colored Pencils
Artist’s Loft is another great value. The only problem with this brand is that it is the Michaels store brand, so if you don’t have a Michaels in town you won’t be able to get them. That’s not a reason to pass them up though, because you can buy them online at Michaels or Amazon.
Crayola Colored Pencils
Crayola has been the leading brand in coloring supplies for decades now, and they have definitely done something right to earn that title. The colors are great and you can’t beat the palette. You can’t beat the price either! However, you can tell a difference in the quality of the pencil lead. It’s a bit harder and waxier and you can actually hear it when coloring on the page – it squeaks a little bit. If this doesn’t bother you then go for it, but if you’re someone who hates to hear a pencil writing or coloring on a page, you will probably want to pass on this set of colored pencils lest you get home and find yourself cringing every time you start to color. This activity is supposed to be relaxing!
Pentel Arts Colored Pencils
This is an inexpensive set of pencils that has a very good quality. The colors are quite a bit brighter than Sargent Art and Artist’s Loft, and the texture is much better than Crayola. However, the downside to Pentel is that there is a very limited selection of colors. If you love the palette they offer, you’re in luck, but if you look at the selection in the 24-color set and notice that it’s missing some of your favorite shades, you’re going to want to look towards some of the other brands.
Faber-Castell Colored Pencils
Faber-Castell pencils are getting into the high-end, higher-price colored pencil options. Again, this is an example of “you get what you pay for.” These pencils are more expensive and the quality reflects this. If you have the budget for them, you are going to love this brand of colored pencils. You may only find 20-piece sets of Faber-Castell pencils in stores, but you can find larger sets online.
There are many different brands of watercolor pencils out there, but a full comparison of watercolor pencil brands is a topic for another post. The main thing to note about watercolor pencils is that they do not act like regular colored pencils, nor are they supposed to. Watercolor pencils tend to go on the paper very light, and then they are activated by water. (Or you can dip the tip in a cup of water before you color with them, in which case they will work more like a marker. This is a very inefficient way to use them, though.) If you are going to use watercolor pencils, you are going to have to start thinking about issues such as how thick your paper is, whether you are going to have problems with color bleeding through, and how much control you are going to have over tiny areas once you are putting water on your paper. By all means, use watercolor pencils if they make you happy, but don’t confuse watercolor pencils and colored pencils – they look the same, but they are completely different products!
What else can you color with?
Colored pencils aren’t the only things you can color with, of course! There are all sorts of other options, such as markers, crayons, and pens. Markers are great for large areas, and fine-tip markers can work perfectly for small detailed areas. Be careful about ink bleeding through, though. Also be aware that some brands of markers can tear up your page or cause pilling if you color over the same spot more than once. Crayons are super fun to color with, and they give you bold colors without any worries about bleed-through. However, they are harder to use for small areas because they only have sharp tips for the first thirty seconds you color with them. And pens give you awesome colors and precision for detail work, but don’t try to use them for large spaces or you will go crazy.
Basically, coloring is all about using the materials that will make you happy and let you have the most fun. If you like using colored pencils, this is a great resource for what kinds of colored pencil are out there and what you can expect from the different kinds you might buy.