When we think of watercolor painting, numerous tubes and pans come to our mind first. Watercolor pencils break this stereotype. These unique mediums bridge the gap between regular colored pencils and paints. You use them dry and then transform your drawing into a watercolor painting by adding water to the paper.
With so many brands available on the market, it can be confusing to determine the key quality factors while choosing the right set. WoWPencils has summarized the best options and saved your time of looking through all the pencil reviews. The below top picks include the best watercolor pencils approved by artists and art professionals.
Top 8 Rated Watercolor Pencils to Use
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Derwent Inktense: Most Pigmented
Derwent is a famous manufacturer of quality watercolor pencils. They sell pencils in different sets – from a 6-pack to a 72-pack, which is good enough for starters and art students who are looking for a smaller set.
The Derwent Inktense consists of 24 vibrant colors, including white, and it strikes a good balance between high quality and cheap price. The 4 mm lead is soft and perfect for expressive drawings.
As their name suggests, these pencils look more like ink than watercolor paint on paper. These mediums are highly pigmented, and the colors are highly intensive. They produce strong and permanent strokes, and the ink doesn’t lift up when it dries. When one color dries, another one can be layered with no fear of color blending.
These tools can be used on any type of surface – on canvas, paper, or fabric (silk and cotton). You can use them either dry or wet. By adding water, you can achieve amazing watercolor effects and create rare color flows. H2O turns regular shades into vibrant ink. The collection comes in a cute metal tin, which is nice as a gift.
- Very intensive colors
- Affordable price and high quality
- Comfortable metal tin for storage
- Can be used on a number of surfaces
- Look duller than other brands when used without water
- Require careful sharpening due to soft lead
Colore: Recommended for Beginners
This fantastic box, which provides a rainbow of the 72 exciting colors, is produced by Colore. The collection includes the 2 slotted trays of 36 pencils each – a good way to see all colors at a time. It is a cool kit for beginners, mature artists, and any art enthusiasts. Color-dipped ends help with easy color identification.
The pencils provide intense colors on paper and help to express any artistic talent either in sketches or in watercolor artworks. The coloring instruments are manufactured for both wet and dry techniques and come with a brush pen as a plus.
The mediums provide an easy and smooth application, which is a little creamy.
- Great variety of rich colors
- Nice metal box for storage or as a good gift idea
- Free brush pen is included
- Break-resistant core
- Extremely affordable set
- Require careful sharpening
- A little waxy
OOKU: Good for Artists
Every artist wants to create beautiful artwork. The best way to achieve this goal is to use the right coloring instruments. OOKU offers a set of 48 gorgeous colors, which are ideal for supreme shading and blending. Any coloring technique can be used with these saturated and vibrant shades.
The soft lead core ensures a smooth laydown of colors and helps to create creamy and velvet textures. This collection is a well-crafted series, which suits artists of all skill levels.
The mediums are transformative and can be used both wet and dry to perform either a sketch or watercolor painting.
The pencils are wrapped in a wool canvas, which makes it an easy-to-travel and bag-friendly kit. It includes a watercolor brush and a sharpener as a bonus. These are the best tools for artist’s inspiration.
- Comfortable roll-up carrier
- Very soft application
- Come with a free brush and a sharpener
- Wide spectrum of bright colors
- Rather cheap
- The loops are a bit large, and the pencils can fall out
- Tips tend to break off during sharpening
US Sense: Brightest Colors
This set of the 36 marvelous colors manufactured by US Sense is a perfect choice for blending, color mixing, and adult coloring. All the tools are 7 inches (17.7 cm) long, what makes them very durable.
The lead core is thick, soft, and highly pigmented. The wooden barrel is manufactured from high-quality pine, which is resistant to breakage.
The mediums come in a triangle box, which keeps pencils organized and easily fits in any bag. The kit includes a free paintbrush for wet drawing.
- Convenient iron box for storage
- Bright assorted colors
- Comes with a free brush
- Rather long and durable
- Good quality for a bargain price
- The color selection contains more red and brown shades
- Lead is fragile
Prismacolor Premier: Best for Card Making
Prismacolor is rated as a manufacturer of high-grade art supplies. These watercolor pencils will surely meet your expectations, as well. The set of Prismacolor Premier comes in 36 saturated colors. This is the largest possible brand collection, and it can be a little limiting for professionals.
The mediums have a hard core with strong pigments, which easily dissolve in water. The pencil lead is oil-based, and by contact with water, it helps to produce creamy and glimmering effects, which are ideal for card making. They ensure effortless drawing when used as both wet and dry mediums. They are great at blending and allow using a variety of shading techniques.
The pencils come in a nice metal case, which prevents them from being damaged. The tin is slim enough to fit any travel bag for outdoor work.
- High-quality pigments
- Great for budget artists and beginners
- Can be used wet and dry
- Excellent solubility
- The color selection is limited
- The wood casing may split during sharpening
Derwent Watercolour: Perfect for Sketching
Here is one more representative that possesses superior Derwent quality since 1832. The 24 vivid colors available in the Derwent Watercolour set are not so permanent in comparison to its Inktense collection, but they are able to provide another kind of coloring experience. When the color dries, you can re-wet it, add more layers, or blend with other colors. These mediums are ideal for artists who are fond of subtle paintings.
The 4 mm lead core is hard, which is good for sketching and making detailed drawings. The hexagonal barrel ensures a comfortable grip and effortless painting, and provides greater control during precise work.
The pencils come in a nice tin, which makes it easy to travel. You can sketch outdoors without fear of damaging them in your bag. All the items have individual cells, so you can organize them as you wish.
- Can be used for both wet and dry drawing
- Convenient and portable metal case
- Superior quality and attractive price
- The colors are a little pale
- A little powdery when used dry
Crayola: Cool for Face Painting
This set of the 12 vibrant colors manufactured by Crayola is great for kids. The pencils are quite inexpensive and are highly recommended for beginners. They can be used both dry and wet, and can easily turn your drawing into watercolor art. The mediums become very transformative by adding a few drops of water into a color pigment or by using them on wet paper.
You are free to experiment with various shading and blending techniques to create unique color effects. The pencils are produced from reforested wood, which is an ideal choice for eco-conscious parents.
These mediums can be used for face painting, as well. It is an excellent activity for kids at parties. They wash off pretty easily.
- Assorted bright colors
- Affordable price
- Can be used for face painting
- Lead is hard and doesn’t break
- Can make uneven lines
- Require a little pressure to make a darker line
Faber-Castell GRIP: Great for Blending
Any artist knows this uncomfortable feeling in the hands when you work during extended sessions. The Faber-Castell GRIP makes drawing more comfortable and free from any distraction. All the pencils in their 24-color set feature a patented grip zone, which provides convenient work with no hand fatigue due to special dots. The triangular form of the barrel helps control the pencil and prevents it from rolling off the desk.
The broad spectrum of bright colors gives more scope for gorgeous color variation. Highly pigmented lead is used for both dry drawing and wet coloring. The pencils leave no powdery residue if used dry and provide fantastic watercolor images if dissolved in water. Due to a special brand formula, the colors blend smoothly and easily with no flaking. The set comes with a paintbrush as a bonus.
All the pencils are glued along the entire barrel length, which makes them break-resistant and easy to sharpen. What is more appealing is that the pencils are manufactured from reforested wood.
- Comes with a paintbrush
- Ergonomic dotted grip
- Acid-free and non-toxic
- Assorted vibrant colors
- Unbreakable formula
- Can be used for face painting
- Lead may be off-centered
- The inserted brush adds too much water
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Strokes Art Supplies: Ideal for Coloring
This collection of the 48 vivid colors offered by Strokes is a wonderful choice for artists of all levels. It helps to obtain a high concentration of color and gives depth to any tone. Used as wet mediums, the tools reveal the unique color power and create marvelous and deep watercolor effects.
The lead is rather soft and provides a smooth laydown of colors, which is good for superior shading and blending. There is no need to press the pencil hard to achieve the required shade.
This set offers a great color assortment to choose from. Each item has a hint on the barrel for easy color coordination. The pencils are non-toxic and made of recycled wood.
- Smooth application
- Rather cheap
- Nice palette of bright colors
- Environmentally friendly
- Hard points may be rough on paper
Artist’s Choice: Best Color Selection
This amazing collection of pencils from Artist’s Choice contains the 72 color shades. This is one of the most incredible color palettes that you could ever dream about. The price for the whole set is very acceptable.
The mediums are suitable for both dry and wet painting. Wonderful watercolor effects are achieved by drawing with a damp brush, which is included in the set.
Special attention should be given to a comfortable tri-folding case for pencils, with a separate slot for each item. The construction helps to keep the pencils in place when you are on the go.
- Great choice for beginners
- Excellent spectrum of vibrant colors
- Convenient folding case
- Brush is included
- Application is not quite smooth
- Lead is waxy and doesn’t contain a lot of color pigments
Guide for Watercolor Pencils
These mediums are very popular in the artistic community. The below watercolor pencils’ guide covers all important pre-purchase considerations.
These are the main criteria to consider while buying watercolor pencils. Maybe you have more in mind?
Frequently Asked Questions
Those artists who have never used colored pencils before may be a little confused while using these tools for the first time. Numerous questions arise about how pencils may function as paint, because regular watercolors normally come in pans or tubes. Here are the answers for all the curious newbies.
What Are Watercolor Pencils 🖍?
The core of a watercolor pencil contains a binder, which is water-soluble. They are versatile art mediums, which can be used both dry and wet. First, you use them for sketching as traditional colored pencils. Then you add some water to the dry pigment using a damp paintbrush. The color pigment is dissolved in the water and forms that unique watercolor effect. It is able to imitate the feel and look of a painting made by watercolors. The water will intensify and spread the colors. This technique is suitable for blending colors.
Artist grade pencils usually come in sets of 60-72 colors. These drawing tools are used with specific watercolor paper, which is made for water-based mediums.
What Are Watercolor Pencils Good For?
Watercolor pencils are usually used with water 💦, but they can be used without liquid, as well. You can make marvelous drawings with dry mediums, but if you change your mind halfway and want to turn your artwork into a watercolor – there is no big problem.
However, they are difficult to blend without water and to make lighter shades. Water helps you to play with colors and experiment with color combinations. By adding water, you make your drawing look alive. You can also wet the paper before drawing or leave a part of the artwork dry. It is up to you. Endless possibilities for your creativity and cool ideas!
Watercolor Pencils vs Colored Pencils vs Paint 🎨
Some artists don’t like working with paints, so watercolor pencils can be a great solution. If you like attractive fluid brushstrokes in watercolor paintings, try another medium, which is easier to use. Here are some peculiarities of the three coloring alternatives.
- the core contains pigments which are activated by water;
- opportunity to get energizing and bright colors 🌈;
- easy to clean;
- take less space to store;
- less messy and easy to use vs paint;
- can be sharpened for drawing details;
- portable for working outdoors;
- used for coloring large areas;
- give a better sense of control.
- the core contains oil or wax;
- easy to mix and lay colors (but not with water);
- difficult to color large areas.
- dries fast and is quickly absorbed by the paper;
- requires a very thin brush 🖌 for drawing details;
- not comfortable to paint outside;
- a little messy and difficult to clean.
Try all the mediums to determine which one you prefer. Watercolor pencils are an ideal choice for beginners and for those who don’t like that challenging experience of using paints.
Can You Use Watercolor Pencils On Canvas?
A regular canvas is not absorbent, so it won’t absorb watercolor paint similar to watercolor paper 📃. You may expect some issues with the color adhering to the canvas. As watercolor contains liquid, the color layers can easily lift off, which makes color blending difficult.
Some artists wipe the canvas with a thinner in order to remove oil, which repels water. Others experiment with a light sanding and apply a gum coating.
Watercolor canvas is a new invention, specially formulated to be used with watercolor pencils and watercolor. Its surface is not as absorbent as paper, and the drawing stays wet longer. Watercolor canvas is available in the form of boards, pads, or canvases. Do an experiment first to test out how the colors react to a new surface.
Сan You Use Watercolor Pencils Without Water 💧?
Watercolor pencils can be used similar to regular colored pencils. You can draw and color on paper using various blending and shading techniques. The color lines may seem a bit duller than those made by traditional colored pencils, but when you add some drops of water, your drawing will sparkle with all the colors due to watercolor effects.
Here are a few amazing and unknown facts about watercolor pencils which are interesting to know:
- During the 15th century in the Renaissance, watercolor became a widely used drawing medium among artists. Early watercolorists made and evolved their own materials and colors. Most recipes were guarded secrets.
- The period between 1750 and 1850 is considered as the Golden Age of watercolor. The primary purpose of this art was to provide accurate records of the living world. This historic purpose was partially taken away in 1820, when the photograph was invented.
- Some of the most famous watercolorists are Albrecht Durer, Antoon van Dyck, Thomas Gainsborough, etc.
- In 1931, watercolor pencils were first developed by Caran d’Ache and were known as “indelible pencils.” They were used for writing in legal documents as permanent markers.
- Faber-Castell has released a set of watercolor pencils named after Albrecht Durer. This artist was also German (the same as the company). Another explanation is that this watercolorist did drawings, which looked as a mixture of both pencil and watercolor sketches. However, colored pencils were not invented yet.
- In addition, Faber-Castell has released a set of watercolor pencils named after Karl Lagerfeld to represent the company in recent times (the Karl Box collection).
It should also be mentioned that watercolor pencils vs colored pencils offer several more coloring techniques. They can be used with no water, both dry and wet, with a wet pencil tip, with wet paper, and as a combination of different pencils. You may check the difference between all of them and share your interesting and unexpected results.
If you adore the effects of watercolor, but don’t like the challenge of using paint, watercolor pencils are a great alternative. You can make one purchase instead of two and apply two drawing techniques – both wet and dry.
These mediums may take a bit of practice and time until you sharpen your artistic skills and become proficient. However, due to your will and persistence you will be rewarded with amazing and vivid results.
- Colored Pencil – https://en.wikipedia.org/
- What Are Watercolor Pencils & How Are They Different from Colored Pencils? – https://conceptartempire.com/
- Can You Use Watercolor on Normal Canvas? – https://www.quora.com/
- Using Watercolour Pencils As Coloured Pencils – http://www.wetcanvas.com/
- Anyone Use Watercolor Pencils? – https://www.reddit.com/