Top 6 Best Colored Pencils for Coloring

To complete the free coloring pages, you will need some colored pencils. Ensure your work is perfect each time with these best-colored pencils for coloring. Everyone loves to color – maybe it’s a reminder of simpler times and our need to be less productive and more creative.

These free coloring pages are a great way to distract yourself and destress. Simply click to download the free PDF of coloring pages below.

First of all, let’s get those free printable coloring pages. Sign up below.

free coloring pages link

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Why do we love coloring pages anyway – there are many positives to using them, and many adults have used them regularly. If it’s something you have shunned as kids’ projects, let me tell you that there are many benefits to using coloring pages for adults. 

  • Destress – every day we need a little me time, and coloring pages allow you to focus on something other than this distracting list of jobs. 
  • Quiet time – Getting a little bit of quiet time is beneficial to your mental health, so this is a great way to switch off and unwind the day
  • Mediations – If you’ve ever failed at meditation or have not been able to be consistent, coloring in your favorite pics is a great way to focus your mind on one task. 
  • Free and cheap – These are free coloring pages, and they are part of a set of them; for a minimal fee, you can grab the full set of 20 pages. 

What’s the Best way to print coloring pages?

I like to print mine off PDFs as the dark lines stay a little crisp, whereas Jpegs are usually RGB colors, and most home printers are CMYK. 

Use good quality print paper, not office printer paper. Your final product will have a much cleaner texture and look less school-like. 

How to choose colors for coloring pages?

Depending on what you plan to color in, of course, will depend on the colors you use. Look at the picture as a whole and try to consider these as percentages of what is needed. If it’s a floral design with lots of flowers, maybe you need 60% bright flower colors or 30% green foliage. 

image with hand and colored pencils

It is possible to blend colors when you use coloring pencils – so try out a few before you begin. The last thing is to use the wrong color or a color you dislike and have to continue with it in a pattern. 

What are the Best pencils for coloring? (all levels and quality included)

If you don’t want to blow the budget but want a smooth finish – the best buy for a budget

Budget Pencils – but great for every artist

I recommend spending in the mid-range price. These Castle Art Supplies 72 Colored Pencils Set | Quality Soft Core Colored Leads for Adult Artists, Professionals and Colorists |... pencils will achieve excellent results for both beginners and advanced artists. 

It comes in a lovely tin to keep things clean and tidy. Also, I want to mention that they are sharpened with quite a hefty tip as I’m not keen on pencils sharpened with a short stubby tip. specialized

Castle Art Supplies 72 Colored Pencils Set | Quality Soft Core Colored Leads for Adult Artists, Professionals and Colorists |...
  • MADE TO MAKE IT EASY Essential range of 72 pencils arranged in color families; named, numbered and color-coded for unerring selection: flip up...
  • SOFT YET DURABLE Latest advanced formulation by in-house artists and technicians results in cores with soft, buttery laydown that also defy...
  • A JOY TO USE Intensely pigmented, rich, creamy colors for smooth coverage and effortless layering, blending and burnishing to add texture and...

Waxed based for more specialized artwork

More advanced artists might prefer something a little more expensive.

Prismacolor has long been the standard for coloring pencils. These Prismacolor Colored Pencils | Premier Soft Core Pencils, Assorted, 72 Count pencils promote a softcore, which helps with shading and shadows. They are easy to blend and have lots of lovely colors to choose from.

These are waxed based colored pencils. They are suitable for blending, which might mean they are not so great for detailed work. You may need to sharpen these pencils more often.

These pencils are waxed based – Prismacolor

Prismacolor Colored Pencils | Premier Soft Core Pencils, Assorted, 72 Count
  • Soft, thick cores are perfect for shading and shadows
  • Lightfast, richly saturated pigments
  • Ultra-smooth, even color laydown

If you want lots of colors in your palette 

I love these for a wide range of oily colors in the pack. For an artist like me, colors mean a lot. Now – as my husband always says, you get what you pay for. Be aware these will not be the same quality as those with less color choice and higher pigment quality. 

But still, an excellent choice if you are in the mid-range budget and want to try our different coloring styles. 


168 Colored Pencils - 168 Count Including 12 Metallic 8 Fluorescence Vibrant Colors No Duplicates Art Drawing Colored Pencils Set...
  • Multiple Colors: 168 colored pencils comprises with 168 vivid colors, including 12 metallic colors and 8 Fluorescence colors. It's ideal for...
  • Creative Design: 168 colored pencils comes with one DIY blank chart and each pencil has its own individual color number. Soft leads writes...
  • Double The Fun: 168 colored pencils are pre-sharpened, so you can start drawing as soon as you open the box. They'll provide hours of drawing and...

Hidden gem of coloring pencils

I love these look, and if I were purchasing more today, these pencils would be it. I like the reviews, the saturated pigments, oil-based style. A vast range of colors, and as I love to work in Greens – this would be perfect for me. They also have sharp points and not complaints upon sharpening. 

These would be great if you were doing detailed artwork, and the reviews seem to confirm this too. 

Schpirerr Farben

SCHPIRERR FARBEN - Premium Colored Pencils, Oil-Based Coloring Pencils, Soft-Core Color Pencil Set for Adults & Children,...
  • Premium Colored Pencils: These oil-based colored pencils provide rich, deep coverage with bold colors for creating various art styles.
  • Soft-Core Cores: The 3.3mm core is soft and break-resistant for shading, blending, and layering.
  • Non-Toxic Formula: The set is made with non-toxic cores encased in sturdy wood for safe and durable use.

Best Polychromos colored pencil set

If you love detailed work and don’t mind that your pencils are a little harder, go with these Faber-Castell colored pencils. These are more expensive; they have a massive range of colors and are more for serious artists. These are harder, dense coloring pencils. 


Faber-Castel 110060 Polychromos Colored Pencil Set In Metal Tin, 60 Pieces
  • Polychromes Colored Pencil Set In Metal Tin 60pc
  • Acid free. Imported
  • Color pencils can be laid down with delicate or strong strokes to unfold their vibrant colors

The colored pencils that last 20yrs

I have some very old – probably 20yrs old Stabilo soft color pencils. They have great shades, and you can also blend them with water. I don’t think they make them any longer, and the closest I found was these called Carbothello pencils. Honestly, these pencils were sadly inherited, so I’ll keep them forever. But they still work perfectly today, and I just love the colors. 

Don’t believe me? 

Just look at the reviews on Amazon for confirmation of their quality. 


Chalk-Pastel Pencil - STABILO CarbOthello - Tin of 48 - Assorted Colors with Sharpener and Eraser, Multicolor, 48 Count (Pack of...
  • Packaging may vary - same product, new look!
  • Artist quality chalk-pastel coloring pencils - available in up to 60 different shades
  • Colors can be mixed and blended - partially water soluble which means the contours remain visible

Ok, now you have those pencils but want a more detailed project to work on too. I found these beautiful coloring books. Be honest; coloring books are a must on the kitchen table. 

Coloring Book ideas

If you like intricate work, this book ticks all the boxes. Beautifully illustrated and perfect for picking up and put down at leisure. The author used her hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest as inspiration. The front cover looks impressive, but look inside before purchasing as the images seem a little less detailed. 

The plant lady

The Plant Lady: A Floral Coloring Book with Succulents and Flowers
  • The Plant Lady: A Floral Coloring Book with Succulents and Flowers
  • Paige Tate & Co. (Producer) - Simon, Sarah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

If its a detailed coloring book you want 

Look no further than this thoughtful succulent coloring book. Don’t worry if you don’t enjoy succulents – many variations include detailed wreaths and flower repeat patterns. 

Sensational succulents 

Sensational Succulents: An Adult Coloring Book of Amazing Shapes and Magical Patterns
  • Baldwin, Debra Lee (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 06/01/2016 (Publication Date) - Timber Press (Publisher)

Best flower coloring book

I found this Botanical coloring book by Coloring book cafe. I love the details in this book. You will need to hone your blending skills but it should keep you busy long into the night with these details. 

Botanical Garden Coloring Book

Botanical Garden Coloring Book: An Adult Coloring Book Featuring Beautiful Flowers and Floral Designs for Stress Relief and...
  • Cafe, Coloring Book (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 58 Pages - 05/15/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

The most popular coloring book

I have this inspiring coloring book myself – I enjoyed this book. I didn’t finish all of the projects as I moved onto watercolor, but still a beautifully executed book with a lot placed on details and repetition. This adult coloring book is excellent for digging into art or coloring pages. 

Secret garden 

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book for Adults
  • Laurence king publishing Secret gardens coloring book
  • Laurence king publishing Secret gardens coloring book an inky treasure hunt of Secret gardens
  • Go on a ramble through a world of Secret gardens created in beautifully detailed pen and ink illustrations

A coloring book for Coffee Lovers

A little quirky, I know. But great for the coffee table. An adult coloring book with funny quotes on coffee. Makes a great gift. 

Coffee Animals Coloring Book

Coffee Animals Coloring Book: A Fun Coloring Gift Book for Coffee Lovers & Adults Relaxation with Stress Relieving Animal Designs,...
  • Press, Caffeinestar (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 52 Pages - 11/26/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

Frequently asked questions 

What are coloring pencils made of?

Unlike standard pencils with a graphite core, colored pencils have a core of pigments, wax, or oil and binding agents. The best quality ones have a high pigment of color and don’t require you to mark the paper – the color comes off the pencil easily with little effort. 

How do you blend with colored pencils?

There are several ways to blend with pencils, it takes practice, and you may well develop a style of your own. Some will place the darker colors and lift off with a lighter color over the top. Others may blend using very small cross-hatching and a little finger rub if your pencils allow it. 

How to look after your colored pencils?

Keep the tips facing the right way in the box, and keep them clean to the touch. I live in Hong Kong, it’s very humid, so mine tends to stay soft, but you might want to heat them a little with the hairdryer before sharpening. I’ve heard this limits breakages when sharpening. 

Polychromo pencils do not break when sharpened like wax-based Prisma pencils. 

Create a pencil card 

Like you would in watercolor – create a card for each color you have. It helps limit mistakes, and you can see what you have before you begin your project – or if one has been taken by our local 4yr old. 🙁 

I purchased this one on Etsy for my Watercolors, but you can create something similar at home.

Can you use colored pencils with water or solvent?

I would say – if you want to blend with water, just buy watercolor pencils. These give the best of both worlds; you can keep them as pencils or combine them with water for instant effect. 

You can use a colored pencil solvent with waxed and oil-based colored pencils if you want a more blended effect.

Is there a considerable difference between colored pencils?

Yes, many do not have a lot of pigment in them. They might be tough to blend if the center is hard. Without that soft center, you will find it hard to blend. The worst thing about cheaper options is they break when you try to sharpen them. Very annoying. 

What does Prismacolor mean?

Prismacolor has waxed-based formula pencils; these are soft inside and are suitable for shading. As they are softer, you will need to sharpen them more often and will wear down faster. 

But what are the best-colored pencils for detail?

Oil-based pencils have a sharper edge to them. They are perfect for detailed artwork. But may not be so good for soft blending. See the Faber-Castell recommendations above. 

What are wax bloom and lightfastness? 

Wax bloom appears with wax-based pencils and is a white sheen on the top of your drawings. If you plan to sell your completed artwork, it is worth thinking about lightfastness, where your colors may fade when exposed to light. 

If this is something that concerns you – then go with oil-based colored pencils. 

Most people don’t need to worry about this. 

Final thoughts on Best coloring pencils – if you are interested in intricate coloring work, go with a hard pencil, which keeps the edges crisp and blends. If you love vibrant colors, Prisma is usually more suitable. Either are good options and cost-effective for beginners and more advanced artists.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this post on coloring pages. Please pin this to your favorite Pinterest board. It helps me to help you. 🙂

image with colored pencils and text Best coloring pencils

Don’t forget you can get the full series of 20 coloring pages – right here. 

free coloring pages link

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