Best Colored Pencils for Professional Artists

Usually, when we think of colored pencils, our minds automatically go to our childhoods and the good ol’ days of coloring books.

However, with the growing adult market in coloring books, and the popular pencil drawing medium, there are a wide variety of coloring pencils that are available on the market. 

Professional artists that specialize in pencil drawings will at some point find themselves in the search of the best colored pencils for professional artists.

Even if you don’t have an immediate need for them, it can be helpful to have some in your collection for when the opportunity arises. 

Many artists opt for using colored pencils in their work due to the fact that they offer such a wide range of opportunities. You have the opportunity to layer colored pencils to create a variety of effects, and you can end up with some stunning finished results.

One of the biggest struggles when it comes to choosing your own colored pencils is the fact that they typically come in smaller bundles, and choosing the colors that you will need might be a difficult task.

However, some companies offer bundles of pencils from anywhere between 0 and 200, presenting you with the opportunity to choose as many as you would like. This way, you will be more likely to have all of the tools available to you when you need them.

Best Colored Pencils for Professional Artists

Before we get into the specifics of the best coloring pencils for professionals, we are going to show you some of the best brands and products that are available online.

Narrowing down to a specific brand of coloring pencils means that there is one step less to go through when it comes to choosing which ones are right for you. Keep reading to find out which products made it onto our list of the best colored pencils for professional artists.

In a Rush?

Have you been struggling for a while to choose the best colored pencils? Or do you have a big project coming up soon that you need these pencils for? Well, you don’t need to worry anymore. We are going to leave our top pick here for your quick and easy viewing so that you can make a quick decision. 

Our top pick on our list is the Lyra Waldorf selection of giant triangular colored pencils.

This is a 12-pack of assorted colors that includes some of the most popular color choices. These pencils can help you to achieve even more with their rich and vibrant colors that will really stand out on the page.

They are a great choice for professional artists, and they are really easy to blend amongst other colors. You can be assured that you are purchasing premium and high-quality colored pencils that will aid you in your artistic journey.


LYRA Waldorf Selection Giant Triangular Colored Pencil, Unlacquered, 6.25 Millimeter Cores, Assorted Colors, 12-Pack (3711121)

Lyra is a brand that has been dedicated to its loyal customers for over an impressive 200 years.

They have had plenty of time to come up with innovative solutions that match the needs of professional artists, and they work to provide people with the best quality art supplies possible.

You can use these pencils to create vibrant works of art with intense pigments that scream professionalism.

Each set of colored pencils includes an excellent selection of unlacquered Super Ferby pencils that have a large triangular shape and a really comfortable grip that will aid you during your creative process.

These pencils are also more than suitable for left-handed artists, and their giant 6.25mm cores make them extremely difficult to break.

They will last for up to three or four times longer than standard colored pencils, and they also require less frequent sharpening to save time. 

These pencils also have a closed end to ensure that the core is not exposed, and they also have natural and unlacquered wood that is non-toxic.

These pencils are designed to be long-lasting, and they are perfect for professional artists. You can also purchase these colored pencils in a variety of other colors. 


  • The Lyra brand has thought of innovative solutions to match the needs of artists
  • The company is able to provide artists with the professional tools that they need
  • These pencils can create vibrant work with intense color pigments
  • These pencils have a comfortable grip and are also suitable for left-handed artists
  • They have a 6.25mm core that is extremely difficult to break
  • These pencils also require much less frequent sharpening


  • You will need a large sharpener to sharpen these pencils


Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils | Art Supplies for Drawing, Sketching, Adult Coloring | Soft Core Color Pencils, 150 Pack

You can easily use the Prismacolor premier colored pencils to bring your artistic vision to life, and this set includes a wide range of 150 vibrant colors that you can use to your advantage.

You will definitely achieve what you set out to do with these pencils, and you can accurately reflect your imagination into a design. 

These colored pencils feature soft cores that make them great for blending, shading, and layering, and they also feature pigments that are high-quality.

The lead is both thick and durable to ensure that they don’t break, and you can effortlessly transition between different styles and techniques with these pencils.

The stunning range of colors goes from sunset orange to sky blue, and there are so many options to choose from that you will be spoiled for choice.

You can accurately represent the colors that you wish to replicate and even blend colors together to create unique shades. The pigments are also designed to be lasting, to ensure your piece remains the best quality that it can be. 


  • You can easily use these colored pencils to bring your artistic vision to life
  • You can choose from a wide selection of 150 different colors
  • These pencils have soft cores that make them perfect for blending and shading
  • You can effortlessly switch between different techniques using these pencils
  • The leads that are used are strong to avoid any breakage


  • The soft cores can crumble during use, so you will need to be delicate


Derwent Colored Pencils, Inktense Ink Pencils, Drawing, Art, Metal Tin, 24 Count (0700929)

These Derwent colored pencils feature a selection of vibrant shades that have 4mm round and soft lead cores that are perfect for creating bold pieces.

The colors are highly pigmented and easy to apply, and they produce a vibrant finish.

There are 24 colored pencils included in this set, and they are actually water-soluble pencils that can be used either wet or dry, depending on the result that you are looking for. 

If you wash them out with water, it will create a translucent ink-like effect. 

The colors are completely permanent, and you don’t need to worry about any color bleeding. You can also choose the layer these colors to create a shading effect when blending colors together.

You can choose between a wider variety of canvas’ when you use these colored pencils, and you won’t be limited to just paper. You can also create your very own custom shades by mixing multiple colors together. 


  • These colored pencils feature a selection of vibrant shades
  • They have 4mm soft and round lead cores that are great for making a statement
  • The colors are highly pigmented and easy to apply
  • There are 24 pencils included in this set
  • You can use these pencils on a variety of canvas' by just adding water


  • These types of pencils are unusual and can be difficult to get used to


Castle Art Supplies 72 Colored Pencils Zipper-Case Set | Quality Soft Core Colored Leads for Adult Artists, Professionals and Colorists | In Neat, Strong Carry-Anywhere Zipper Case

This selection of 72 colored pencils by Castle Art Supplies is a great choice for any professional artist that aims to create vivid and colorful pieces of work.

The pencils have rich and velvety leads that are highly pigmented and will create vibrant colors with no effort at all. Overall, these pencils are super easy to use, and they will make a great addition to any artist's toolkit. 

These colored pencils are definitely ones that you can rely on as a professional artist, and they will allow you to create depth through layering, create blended effects like gradients, and produce the perfect colors by shading with more than one at a time.

They are straightforward to work with, and they blend seamlessly together, making your job that much easier.

These pencils are conveniently named, numbered, and color coded to make them easier to recognize, and it also helps them to be more organized as a collection.

They come stored in a zip-up case that has multiple layers, and you can flip between the layers to look for the perfect color.

This case is also great for keeping your pencils safe and secure to protect them from breaking and to make sure that you don’t misplace any of them. It also makes traveling with them much easier, and you can take them with you anywhere you go.

These pencils really are of a high-quality, and the centered cores are encased in a strong and reliable wood that is perfectly finished to ensure a comfortable coloring experience.

This makes them easier to use for long periods of time, and also helps to keep them protected against breakages.

The company also has a money-back guarantee, so if you are not happy with your product, you can send it back for a replacement or refund.


  • This comes as a large set of a total of 721 colored pencils
  • The pencils are highly pigmented and will create vibrant and vivid colors
  • These are pencils that you can rely on to create a professional result
  • They are easy to use and seamless when it comes to shading and blending
  • The pencils are named, numbered, and color-coded for your convenience
  • They are store in a multi-layer zip-up case to protect them and keep them organized
  • They are easy to grip, even for long periods of time


  • Some users have noted that these colored pencils have a strange smell to them


Arteza Colored Pencils, Professional Set of 72 Colors, Soft Wax-Based Cores, Art Supplies for Drawing Art, Sketching, Shading & Coloring, Vibrant Artist Pencils for Beginners & Pro Artists in Tin Box

These colored pencils have superior quality to them which is also at a reasonable price. They are both affordable and high-quality, and they will provide you with the same professional results that you would get with an expensive brand.

Using these pencils, you will be able to blend and layer professionally to get the best results, and these pencils will glide smoothly across the paper with deep and rich coverage.

These pencils will also provide you with vivid and varied colors so you don’t have to settle for the standard colors in some other sets.

Each pencil will have its own label and number to allow for easy color identification, and they are sturdy with a strong core to prevent breakages.

These pencils are definitely made to last, and you can count on them to work well and sharpen easily. They also come packaged in a sturdy metal storage case that will keep the pencils safe and organized.


  • These colored pencils have superior quality and they are reasonably priced
  • You can get the same results with these as you would with more expensive pencils
  • You will be able to blend and layer smoothly to get the best results
  • There is a range of vivid and varied colors available for you to choose from
  • These pencils come in a sturdy and durable metal storage tin


  • Some customers have noted that you have to press down quite hard to get an accurate color pay off

Best Colored Pencils for Professional Artists Buying Guide

There are many different things that you will need to think about when it comes to choosing the best colored pencils for professional artists, and we will explain some of the most important factors below.

The Type of Pencils

There are actually a few different types of colored pencils that you can choose from, like wax-based pencils, oil-based pencils, and water-soluble pencils. We have included a variety in this list, but the most common type of coloring pencils for professionals is the wax-based option.

Wax-based colored pencils contain a pigment that is held together by a wax binder. They are able to provide the most intense color pay off, and they look vibrant while providing full coverage.

These are typically the softest type of colored pencil, and this also helps to make them easier to blend and shade. However, this also means that they are the most likely to break under heavy use, which could be an issue. 

Oil-based colored pencils are actually resistant to water, and they contain a vegetable-based oil binder that helps to hold the pigment together.

These pencils will require a bit more pressure for them to produce the same amount of color as wax-based pencils, and they are known for not blending as well. However, these pencils are harder, which means that they are more durable and will last longer.

Water-soluble colored pencils are typically referred to as watercolor pencils, and they contain a gum arabic binder that will be activated with the use of water.

This means that the pigment is able to blend with the water, and these pencils can be used both for watercolor creations and normal drawings.

Skill and Experience

As a professional artist, you will need to be looking at colored pencils that are good for your level of skill. There are typically two types of categories when it comes to colored pencils,  and these are student-grade and artist-grade.

Artist grade pencils are going to be the best choice for those at a professional level. This is because they are usually much softer, which means that you can blend them much more easily.

Professionals will also have more technical abilities that are more suited to artist-grade pencils. They are also more durable and likely to be long-lasting, so you won’t have to worry about replacing them anytime soon.

Professional coloring pencils will usually have higher pigmentation, which allows the colors to be more vibrant and vivid. They also usually have a wider range of colors available for you to choose from.

Size of the Set

Often, if you are a professional, it is likely that you will need a wide variety of color options. Some of the professional sets can have anywhere between 12 and 200 color options, but the more you have available to you, the more accurately that you can represent the colors that you need to.

However, the more pencils that there are in a set, the more expensive that the set is going to be. If you are on a budget, then you might be better off leaning towards the sets of 72 pencils, as these are a great mid-range option to look at.

However, if you have the funds available, the more colored pencils in your toolbox the better. You can also start with a set of around 20 and slowly build up your collection over time.

WonderStreet is not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this article. However, we sometimes receive a referral fee from online retailers when our readers buy on their website after clicking from our website to theirs. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases, which supports the operation of our blog and helps to keep all our content free for everyone. In any case, when we conduct our analysis, our intention and focus is to remain objective and unbiased at all times.

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