Best Watercolor Pencils | For Beginners & Professionals


Watercolor pencils are a versatile and essential tool for artists who love the watercolor style of art. They offer the perfect blend of drawing and painting, allowing you to create intricate details and beautiful color gradients in your artwork.

The best watercolor pencils for professionals are the Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer, known for their vibrant pigments and excellent lightfastness. For beginners, the Staedtler Karat Aquarell Premium Watercolor Pencils are a great choice, offering a balance of quality, performance, and affordability.

Choosing the right watercolor pencils is crucial to achieving the desired results and elevating your artistic expression. In this article, we will review the best watercolor pencils on the market, helping you find the perfect set to bring your creative visions to life.

Best Watercolor Pencils For Sketching and Coloring

Comparison of the Top Watercolor Pencils for Artists

Watercolor PencilsOverall ScoreBottom LineLatest Price
Derwent Watercolor Pencils
Derwent
86Good solubility for easy blendingCheck Out On Amazon
Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils
Faber-Castell Albrecht
90 Top Pick
Exceptional color range
Check Out On Amazon
Caran d'Ache Supracolor Soft Aquarelle Pencils
Caran d’Ache
84 High End
High-quality pigments
Check Out On Amazon
Staedtler Karat Aquarell Premium Watercolor Pencils
Staedtler Mars
86Excellent solubility for blendingCheck Out On Amazon
Prismacolor Premier Water-Soluble Colored Pencils
Prismacolor Premier
84Affordable and good value for moneyCheck Out On Amazon
Arteza Professional Watercolor Pencils
Arteza Professional
80 Budget Buy
Wide color range
Check Out On Amazon

Detailed Analysis of the Best Watercolor Pencils

1. Derwent Watercolor Pencils

Review - Derwent Watercolor Pencils

Overall Score: 86

Advantages:

  • Vibrant colors and a wide color range
  • High-quality pigments for smooth application
  • Good solubility for easy blending
  • Durable core for a longer-lasting product

Disadvantages:

  • Slightly more expensive compared to some other options

Color Range

Derwent Watercolor Pencils offer a diverse color range with sets available in 12, 24, 36, and 72 colors. This wide selection allows you to create a variety of tones and gradients in your artwork.

The assortment of colors caters to both beginners and professional artists alike, making it a versatile choice.

Pigment Quality

The pigment quality in these pencils is impressive. The colors are vibrant and highly pigmented, ensuring your artwork stands out.

When used with water, the pigments dissolve smoothly, creating a consistent and rich color wash.

The high-quality pigments also allow for easy layering and blending of colors, giving you the flexibility to create unique and dynamic artwork.

Core Durability

Derwent Watercolor Pencils feature a durable core that resists breaking and chipping.

The core is encased in a high-quality wooden barrel, providing additional protection and preventing breakage during use or sharpening.

This durability allows for prolonged use and ensures that your pencils last longer.

Solubility

The solubility of these pencils is remarkable. They dissolve easily in water, allowing for smooth blending and creating a seamless watercolor effect.

You can effortlessly transition between dry pencil work and wet watercolor techniques, giving you the freedom to explore different styles and methods in your artwork.

Price

While Derwent Watercolor Pencils may be slightly more expensive compared to some other options on the market, the investment is worthwhile considering the quality and versatility they offer.

The price range varies depending on the size of the set you choose, but overall, they offer good value for money, especially for artists seeking top-notch performance in their watercolor pencils.

2. Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils

Review - Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils
Top Pick

Overall Score: 90

Advantages:

  • Exceptional color range with 120 shades available
  • Professional-grade pigment quality
  • Strong core for reduced breakage
  • Excellent solubility for seamless blending

Disadvantages:

  • Higher price point compared to other options

Color Range

These pencils offer an outstanding color range, with sets available in 12, 24, 36, 60, and 120 colors.

The extensive palette provides a wealth of options for artists, allowing them to achieve a vast array of hues and gradients in their work.

The variety of shades caters to all levels of artists, from hobbyists to professionals.

Pigment Quality

The pigment quality in Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils is top-notch, offering professional-grade performance.

The colors are rich and vivid, ensuring that your artwork will have a striking visual impact. When used with water, the pigments dissolve effortlessly, creating smooth and even color washes.

The high-quality pigments also make layering and blending a breeze, allowing for greater artistic expression.

Core Durability

These pencils feature a robust core that withstands breakage and chipping, ensuring long-lasting use.

The pencils are encased in a high-quality wooden barrel that provides extra protection and stability during use and sharpening.

The durable core ensures that your pencils will maintain their integrity over time, allowing you to focus on your art without worry.

Solubility

The solubility of Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils is excellent. They easily dissolve in water, providing seamless blending and smooth transitions between colors.

The high solubility allows for a wide range of techniques, from dry pencil work to wet watercolor effects, giving you the freedom to experiment with different styles in your artwork.

Price

These pencils come at a higher price point compared to other options on the market.

However, considering the exceptional quality and performance of these pencils, the investment is justified for artists seeking professional-grade materials.

The price range varies depending on the size of the set you choose, but overall, the value they provide makes them a worthwhile investment for those dedicated to their craft.

3. Caran d’Ache Supracolor Soft Aquarelle Pencils

Review - Caran d'Ache Supracolor Soft Aquarelle Pencils
High End

Overall Score: 84

Advantages:

  • Extensive color range with 120 shades available
  • High-quality pigments for vibrant colors
  • Durable core for extended use
  • Good solubility for blending and watercolor effects

Disadvantages:

  • Premium price point may not suit all budgets
  • Solubility may require a little more effort compared to other options

Color Range

Caran d’Ache Supracolor Soft Aquarelle Pencils offer an impressive color range, with sets available in 12, 18, 30, 40, 80, and 120 colors.

The vast array of shades provides artists with a plethora of options to achieve the perfect hues and gradients in their work.

This extensive color selection caters to artists of all skill levels, from beginners to professionals.

Pigment Quality

The pigment quality in these pencils is excellent, ensuring that your artwork will be rich and vibrant. The colors are highly pigmented and apply smoothly to the paper, creating a striking visual effect.

When used with water, the pigments blend well, allowing for seamless layering and blending of colors.

Core Durability

Caran d’Ache Supracolor Soft Aquarelle Pencils feature a strong core that resists breakage and chipping, ensuring longevity and reliability.

The high-quality wooden barrel encasing the core provides additional protection and stability during use and sharpening.

The durable core ensures that your pencils will last for a long time, allowing you to focus on your art without worrying about breakage.

Solubility

The solubility of these pencils is good but may require a little more effort compared to other options on the market. They dissolve reasonably well in water, allowing for blending and watercolor effects.

However, some artists may find that they need to work slightly harder to achieve the desired level of solubility and blending.

Price

Caran d’Ache Supracolor Soft Aquarelle Pencils come at a premium price point, which may not be suitable for all budgets.

The higher cost is due to the excellent quality and performance of these pencils, making them a worthwhile investment for serious artists seeking top-tier materials.

The price range varies depending on the size of the set you choose, but overall, these pencils are an investment in your artistic pursuits.

4. Staedtler Karat Aquarell Premium Watercolor Pencils

Review - Staedtler Karat Aquarell Premium Watercolor Pencils

Overall Score: 86

Advantages:

  • High-quality pigments for vibrant colors
  • Excellent solubility for blending and watercolor effects
  • Good value for money
  • Suitable for both dry and wet techniques

Disadvantages:

  • Limited color range compared to some other brands
  • Core may be prone to occasional breakage

Color Range

These pencils offer a moderate color range, with sets available in 12, 24, 36, and 48 colors.

While the variety of shades is not as extensive as some other options on the market, it still provides a good selection for artists who are looking for a reliable set of watercolor pencils.

Pigment Quality

The pigment quality in Staedtler Karat Aquarell Premium Watercolor Pencils is excellent, ensuring that your artwork will be rich and vibrant.

The colors are highly pigmented and apply smoothly to the paper, creating a striking visual effect. When used with water, the pigments blend well, allowing for seamless layering and blending of colors.

Core Durability

These pencils feature a decent core that offers good durability. However, the core may be prone to occasional breakage, so extra care should be taken when sharpening and handling the pencils.

Despite this minor issue, these pencils still offer a good level of durability for most artists.

Solubility

The solubility of Staedtler Karat Aquarell Premium Watercolor Pencils is excellent, allowing for easy blending and watercolor effects.

They dissolve effortlessly in water, enabling smooth blending and seamless transitions between colors.

The high solubility makes these pencils a great choice for artists looking to achieve professional-level watercolor effects.

Price

These pencils offer a great value for money, with a price point that is accessible to a wide range of artists.

They provide an excellent balance between quality and affordability, making them an attractive option for those who want a high-quality set of watercolor pencils without breaking the bank.

5. Prismacolor Premier Water-Soluble Colored Pencils

Review - Prismacolor Premier Water-Soluble Colored Pencils

Overall Score: 84

Advantages:

  • Affordable and excellent value for money
  • Smooth, rich pigments
  • Easy blending and layering
  • Good solubility

Disadvantages:

  • Less durable core compared to other premium brands

Color Range

Prismacolor Premier Water-Soluble Colored Pencils offer a decent range of colors, with 36 vibrant shades available.

The color range may not be as extensive as some other brands, but it still provides a solid selection for artists to work with.

Pigment Quality

The pigment quality of these pencils is outstanding, considering their affordable price. The colors are rich and vivid, allowing for smooth application and beautiful color laydown on paper.

Core Durability

The core durability of Prismacolor Premier Water-Soluble Colored Pencils is slightly less than that of other premium brands. Some users have reported breakage, but overall, they hold up fairly well under normal use.

Solubility

These pencils have good solubility, allowing for easy blending and layering when used with water. The pigments dissolve well, resulting in a smooth, watercolor effect without much effort.

Price

One of the most significant advantages of Prismacolor Premier Water-Soluble Colored Pencils is their affordability.

They offer excellent value for money, providing high-quality pigments and good solubility at a fraction of the cost of other premium brands.

6. Arteza Professional Watercolor Pencils

Review - Arteza Professional Watercolor Pencils
Budget Buy

Overall Score: 80

Advantages:

  • Wide color range with 72 vibrant shades
  • Affordable and provides good value for money
  • Encased in a durable, hexagonal barrel

Disadvantages:

  • Solubility could be better
  • Not as high-quality as some professional-grade options

Color Range

These pencils offer a wide range of colors, with 72 shades available in the set. This extensive selection allows artists to achieve a variety of effects and explore different techniques in their work.

The color range is impressive for a set in this price range, making it a popular choice for artists at various skill levels.

Pigment Quality

These watercolor pencils deliver a decent level of pigment quality, providing vibrant colors that make your artwork stand out.

While they may not be as highly pigmented as some professional-grade watercolor pencils, Arteza’s option still offers excellent color payoff, especially for the price.

Core Durability

Arteza Professional Watercolor Pencils feature a robust core that can withstand regular use and sharpening without breaking easily.

The pencils are encased in a durable, hexagonal barrel, which not only makes them comfortable to hold but also ensures the core’s stability and longevity.

Solubility

While the solubility of Arteza Professional Watercolor Pencils is not as high as some other options on the market, they still dissolve reasonably well in water.

The colors blend and layer adequately, but artists may find that they need a bit more water or effort to achieve the desired watercolor effect.

Price

One of the key selling points of these pencils is their affordability. They provide good value for money, offering a quality set of watercolor pencils that won’t break the bank.

The balance between quality and price makes these pencils an attractive option for those who want to experiment with watercolor techniques without investing in a high-end set.

Choosing the Right Watercolor Pencils

Selecting the perfect set of watercolor pencils can significantly impact your artwork and overall experience.

Several factors should be considered when making your decision, including color range, core hardness, solubility, and the quality of pigments.

1. Color Range

The variety of colors in a set is essential for artists looking to create diverse and vibrant pieces.

Sets with a wider color range provide more creative freedom and allow for the exploration of different techniques and styles.

2. Core Hardness

The hardness of the pencil core impacts how easily it can be sharpened and how well it holds a point.

A harder core is more durable but may provide less color saturation, while a softer core produces a more vibrant color but may be more prone to breaking.

3. Solubility

Watercolor pencils should dissolve easily in water, allowing for smooth blending and layering. High-quality pencils will have better solubility, ensuring that colors merge seamlessly when water is applied.

4. Quality of Pigments

Pigment quality plays a crucial role in the vibrancy and longevity of your artwork. Higher quality pigments provide more intense colors and better lightfastness, ensuring that your art retains its beauty over time.

Tips for Using Watercolor Pencils in Your Artwork

Watercolor pencils are a versatile and exciting medium that can add depth and vibrancy to your artwork.

By mastering a few essential techniques and understanding the role of water, brushes, and paper, you can create stunning watercolor effects with ease.

1. Techniques for blending and layering colors

Watercolor pencils allow you to blend and layer colors in various ways to achieve different effects.

You can start by applying the pencils dry, layering colors on the paper, and then using a wet brush to blend and smooth out the pigment.

Alternatively, you can dip the pencil tip in water before drawing, creating a more saturated color.

To achieve more subtle effects, try applying light pressure with the pencil, and for more intense color, press harder.

2. The role of water and brushes in achieving different effects

Water and brushes play a critical role in watercolor pencil techniques. The amount of water you use affects the intensity and translucency of the colors.

Less water creates a more opaque and intense effect, while more water results in a lighter, more transparent wash.

Experiment with various brush types and sizes to achieve different textures and effects.

A small, pointed brush is perfect for detailed work, while a larger brush can be used to cover broader areas or create washes.

3. Paper choice and its impact on the final result

The choice of paper is vital when working with watercolor pencils. Using watercolor paper is recommended, as it is specifically designed to withstand water and prevent buckling or warping.

I have written an article on the best watercolor papers to help you find some quality ones!

Watercolor paper is available in different textures, such as cold-pressed (medium texture), hot-pressed (smooth texture), and rough (coarse texture).

The texture you choose can impact the final result, as it affects how the pigment settles on the paper and how the colors blend.

Cold-pressed paper is versatile and works well for various techniques, while hot-pressed paper is ideal for detailed work and precise lines.

Rough paper adds texture to your artwork, which can enhance certain effects and styles.

Conclusion

We’ve discussed the top watercolor pencil picks, including Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer, Derwent Watercolor Pencils, Caran d’Ache Supracolor Soft Aquarelle, and Staedtler Karat Aquarell Premium Watercolor Pencils.

Each set offers unique features and characteristics that cater to different artistic needs and preferences.

We encourage you to explore these options and experiment with various techniques to find the best match for your artistic style.

Remember, finding the perfect watercolor pencils can significantly enhance your artwork and elevate your overall creative experience.

Mehak Verma

I love creating both traditional and digital watercolour art. Why? As a kid, transitioning from sketch pens to paint brushes and water soluble colours was a big deal. Hope you find what you're looking for on my website.

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