Coloring isn't just for kids anymore. Adult coloring books are all the rage right now. And the best colored pencils are perfect for them.
I enjoyed coloring as a child but I never even considered doing it as an adult until a couple of years ago. I got a gift of an adult coloring book and a starter set of colored pencils at a Christmas gift exchange with people at work. At first, I didn't know what to make of it, but then my coworker told me that it's the best thing ever for stress reduction.
So I figured, what the heck, let's color!
My coworker was right. There's something about the repetitive motion of coloring the pages that really calmed my crazy mind and nerves. It also did wonders for my anxiety and depression. Now I'm a believer. Adults should color.
My next step was finding the best colored pencils.
Are Polychromos Pencils the Same as Colored Pencils?
The answer is yes and no. Yes, Polychromos are a type of colored pencil, but they're not any old ordinary colored pencil. Polychromos are very high-quality pencils. They will also cost you a pretty penny.
So does that mean that they are better than all of the others? Well, that depends on who you ask.
One of the unique things about them is that they are oil-based instead of wax-based, like the others. Not only does this create beautiful pictures, but it also allows you to blend them with solvents.
Another great thing about the Polychromos pencils is that they stick to a whole lot of different surfaces including paper, wood, parchment, leather, stone, and metal. And they adhere to the surface permanently.
Can You Blend the Best Colored Pencils?
Photo by Philip Veater via Unsplash
Yes! The best colored pencils can blend beautifully. However, one thing to remember is that the paper you are coloring on can make a huge difference when it comes to layering and blending. Cheaper wood pulp-based paper has short fibers that can break off easily. They also don't hold the pigment very well.
You may also notice that some of the best colored pencils blend better than others due to their different pigmentations. The best thing you can do is to experiment.
The first way that you can blend colors with your pencils is to layer them. This method is the easiest way to combine colors. You simply color over one color with another. Just be sure to keep your layers light. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is to go too heavy on their first layer.
Another thing that you can do is smudge with paper. You can use a paper towel or a tissue; you don't need fancy equipment. Start with a dense layer of color to maximize the effect.
And finally, you can use a solvent to blend. You can use a colorless solvent to soften and blend your pencils. This method will give you a watercolor-like effect. If you use watercolor pencils, you can also use water to get the same result.
Why Are the Best Colored Pencils Good for Seniors?
As I mentioned, coloring isn't just for kids anymore. Research has shown that coloring is also excellent for adults. That's why the business for adult coloring books is booming.
The act of coloring is very calming and relaxing. It also helps you to focus on being present.
Five great reasons why coloring is so good for seniors is that it:
- 1Relaxes and calms the brain
- 2Reduces stress and anxiety
- 3Helps to develop focus
- 4Increases creativity
- 5Enhances motor skills
I recommend that you use your best colored pencils on mandala coloring books. Mandalas are circular patterns that have a specific effect on the brain and spirit.
The word mandala means circle or center. The circles in the picture symbolize the universe in Hinduism and Buddhism. In mandala patterns, the concentric circles grow outward and represent harmony and oneness with the world and mind.
The genius of coloring mandalas is that it promotes relaxation, brings in positive energy, calms the nervous system, and balances the energies in your body. It's a legitimate alternative to meditation. They both have the same effect on your body and mind. On top of all of that, they make gorgeous pictures. Give it a try!
How Much Do the Best Colored Pencils Cost?
Colored pencils are available at many different price points. You can find sets that are super cheap and others that are quite expensive. The sets that made our list this year range in price from $25 to $85.
How We Reviewed
Photo by Shwetangi Gupta via Unsplash
This was an independent analysis of six of the top-selling best colored pencils on the market this year. In the review process, we looked at each set and compared the features, prices, and professional and consumer reviews.
We have no business or financial ties to any of the companies on our list. Our goal is to help you find the best colored pencils to meet your needs.
The Top 6 Best Colored Pencils of 2019
In no particular order, here are our favorite colored pencils this year. All six of these sets are fantastic. And all six of them come with useful carrying containers.
Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencil Set
If you're looking for the best of the best colored pencils, and you don't mind paying a pretty penny for them, then Faber-Castell's Polychromos is what you want.
This set comes with 60 easily blendable pencils in different vibrant colors. Faber-Castell makes these pencils with a bonding process that leaves the lead resistant to breakage while still leaving it with excellent point retention. They are also water-resistant and smudge-proof. Another reason that we love this set is that it's super resistant to fading.
Amazon customers rate it nearly perfect at 4.8 out of 5 stars. Out of almost 400 reviews, 88 percent of them gave these pencils 5 out of 5 stars.
The vast majority of art enthusiasts rave about this set, especially about the gorgeous colors and the ease of blending. Another plus is that these pencils last longer than the Prismacolor pencils. The only downside we can find with this set is that it costs more than all of the others.
Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils
The next set on our list of the best colored pencils this year comes from Prismacolor. This set comes with 48 vivid colors. The break-resistant soft core is ideal for blending, shading, and shadows.
In addition to that, these pencils will give you smooth, even coverage and the lead is break resistant. It's also waterproof and fade-resistant. This set is perfect for adult coloring books or any art project.
They get excellent reviews. Amazon customers rate them 4.7 out of 5 stars. Out of nearly 13,000 reviews, 84 percent of them gave this set 5 out of 5 stars.
Like the Polychromos this is a professional set. Both artists and art enthusiasts love it. One complaint about it though is that the leads can break too easily when you try to sharpen them. However, they color so well that most people just deal with that little flaw.
Here's a pro tip for you. You can eliminate the breakage problem if you buy a sharpener explicitly made for soft lead. You can get a perfect one made by Pro Art.
Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set
Castle Art Supplies takes the next spot on our list of the best colored pencils this year. This set is larger than the Polychromos or the Prismacolor set, coming with 72 vibrant colors. One of the great things about this set is that it comes with a "color happiness guarantee."
Castle Art will replace or refund it if you're not happy with it. This high-quality "soft series" will give you excellent blending, shading, and layering. The strong lead core will also prevent breakage.
Like the others on our list of the best colored pencils, it gets incredible reviews. Amazon customers rate it 4.7 out of 5 stars. Out of more than 1,200 reviews, 84 percent of them gave this set 5 out of 5 stars.
One of the common remarks about these pencils is that they are super soft and creamy. Most people like this set as much as the Prismacolor set. The good news is the Castle Art Supplies set is cheaper than the Prismacolors or the Polychromos, and it doesn't have the breakage issue.
Ashleigh Nicole Arts Woodless Colored Pencils Set
This set by Ashleigh Nicole Arts is unique because the pencils are woodless. Like the others on our list of the best colored pencils this year, this set is artist quality. Ashleigh Nicole makes these pencils entirely with a colored lead that they strengthen with a special lacquer sheath that keeps your fingers clean.
They use no wood at all!
Because of that cool fact, these pencils will last four times longer than wood pencils. This set comes with 32 vivid colors. There are a lot of reasons to love this set, not the least of which is that it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a full year manufacturer's replacement warranty.
This set is moderately priced, similar to the Castle Art set, but when you consider that these pencils will last four times longer than any other pencils the price is incredible. And this set also gets excellent reviews. Amazon customers rate it 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Most people rave about these pencils, but some complained that they're not quite as good as the Prismacolor pencils. Another complaint about this set is that it doesn't come with enough colors.
Thornton's Art Supply Premier Colored Pencils
The next spot on our list of the best colored pencils this year goes to Thornton's. This set is massive, coming with 150 pencils. Not only is this set unique because it is so large, but also because it comes with soft core pencils, water-soluble pencils, metallics, neons, sketch, and charcoal pencils.
You can create a combination masterpiece with this set complete with vibrancy, shadows, and highlights.
Compared to the other best colored pencils, these are quite expensive, but this set is also much larger than the others. However, even with the higher price tag, this set gets awesome reviews. Amazon customers rate it 4.6 out of 5 stars.
The soft core in these pencils is substantial, similar to the Polychromos. Some people said that this set is not quite the quality of the professional sets on our list of the best colored pencils, but it's an excellent option if you have artistic kids or if you are a beginner who just wants to use them for adult coloring books.
One note about this set is that it comes with some duplicate colors, but that is because they are different types of pencils. So for example, you will have a bright pink soft core pencil and a bright pink neon, and a bright pink water soluble pencil, etc.
ARTEZA Professional Watercolor Pencils
The final spot on our list of the best colored pencils this year goes to ARTEZA. This set is pretty amazing. It comes with 72 bold, vivid colors that are water-soluble. So you can use the dab of a wet brush to blend, layer, and create unique effects.
These pencils have a different texture than the others. Instead of being waxy, they have a more pastel texture to them. Another exciting thing about these pencils is that after your artwork dries, you can reactivate it with water. If you want your work to be permanent, you have to seal it.
It also gets fantastic reviews. Amazon customers rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Most people love this set. ARTEZA offers a 100 percent money back guarantee if you don't like it. The best thing about these watercolor pencils is that they don't bleed through coloring book pages. That's a huge plus!
A Final Thought
We really love all six of the sets that made our list for the best colored pencils this year. They are all fantastic in their own right. But if you twisted my arm and asked me to pick just one best set, I would have to go with Prismacolor Premier pencils.
There are a lot of differing opinions on whether the Prismacolor pencils are better than the Polychromos. They're both amazing. However, overall the Prismacolors get the best professional and consumer reviews, and they're not nearly as expensive as the Polychromos.
If you are on a budget, my top pick is the Castle Arts Supplies set. They are affordable and super high quality. You can't go wrong with this set.
Now we'd love to hear from you! What did you think about our list? Do you have a favorite? Share with our readers in the comments section below if you have any great tips or tricks on working with colored pencils.
Have a great day and let's get coloring!