Coloring pencils and navigating the overwhelming choices!


If you are new to the world of coloring books and wondering what is the best colored pencil to start with, I would love to give you some insight on where to start.

Before you go out and buy the most expensive set of pencils on the market, and they can be pricey, I suggest that you look at posts from colorists on The Imaginary World of Jane F. Hankins on Facebook as well as other coloring sites. These colorists have already tried various pencils, pens and other media. There is even a site that is all about coloring pencils, believe it or not! Most colorists post what they used to color their pictures when they share a page they have just completed. Many use a variety of pencils and pens together. More on this in another post.

Next - think small. Don't invest in the largest set available because that might not be for you. Some companies offer individual pencils rather than complete sets, others offer small sets. This is great for trying out a brand and if you like it, those favorite colors can be purchased without buying the whole set when you run out that favorite white or black.

There are also different types of pencils; oil based and wax based (most common). Oil based pencils are harder, break less and keeps a point longer. They are often more expensive. Some name brands are Polychromos by Faber Castel, Lyra Rembrandt, Koh-I-Noor and Caran d' Ache. If you have issues with your hands, I would not suggest these.

Wax based pencils are the most common and are softer to use, but with that, they tend to break more easily and because color is easily put down, they don't last as long. They blend well and with the use of a blender pen or a stump (rolled paper used for blending) the colors layer well. Some of the name brands are Prisma Premier, Derwent, and Arteza. Both kinds are wonderful pencils and have their place in the coloring world.

Finally, the pencil alone is not what makes the picture. Practicing techniques, blending, color choices and the use of other media, such as pens and paint are what makes the picture. I started with a cheap set of Crayola pencils and did some pretty cool stuff with them that I have framed and all of it is now hanging on my walls! I have since tried virtually every brand and have found that each has their favorable qualities and as well as issues. You will find that some people love one brand and others hate it. Look more at what they like or dislike about that brand.

I know you want to know what I use... I use Prismacolors, Derwent, Faber Castel watercolor pencils and Castle Arts. I also love my blending pens and I'm heavy handed when I color.

By June Copenhaver
@heyteach6 on Instagram

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