The impressive features and quality performance of pastel pencils make them stand out in the artistic world. They are made of rich pure pigment, are vibrant, and have limited mess. Using pastel pencils is also much easier and more fun as they are easy to blend, smudge and layer. These are tools that every artist should have.
However, the problem artists like you often face is choosing which set of pastel pencils is the best in the industry. The best suggestion would be Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils. With Stabilo, you are assured of a high-quality set packed in a trendy wooden box, suitable for portability. It is an excellent investment for beginners and professionals as a single set comes in 60 colors. You can also buy it individually and replace it when you need a new one. The best features of this product are listed in the article.
Similarly, other brands have some of the best pastel pencils that will pique your interest. This article gives you details of pastel pencils’ top selection.
Editor’s Pick: Pastel PencilsTable could not be displayed.
Best Pastel Pencil to Buy 2023
1. STABILO CarbOthello Pastel Pencil Set
This pastel pencil is a favorite among professional artists for obvious reasons.
The Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils come in various colors that blend to create vibrant artwork. Their lead diameter of 4.4mm is also perfect for small and large-scale pieces.
When blending the colors, you can either dry-blend or smudge to create artistic and dramatic effects for your work.
You can mix and play around with different blends as you experiment and choose your craft with so many colors available. They are easy to use as they seamlessly glide on pastel paper.
These pencils can be used for drawing, sketching, or coloring.
Easy To Blend– To blend these pastel pencils, you can simply use your fingers or paper stumps to create an archival artwork. This feature allows you to enhance strokes and create more defined lines while blending for a beautiful piece.
Easy To Replace– This product is one of the few that come with an indication of their product number. This makes it very easy to replace when your set runs out.
Multi-Purpose– The Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils are also revered for their multi-purpose nature. They can serve when drawing, coloring, and sketching.
- Effortlessly blendable colors
- Provide Lightfastness ratings
- Easy to erase with a kneaded rubber
- Offers a wide selection of vibrant pastel colors
- Easy to create soft hues and defined lines
- They can be ground to dust during sharpening
2. General’s Pastel Chalk Pencils
If you are exploring different techniques or you are just starting with pastel pencils then this is your best choice.
General’s Pastel Chalk Pencils are known for their rich color pigmentation and smooth texture.
They are easy to blend, perfect for creating soft hues and building depth by layering different shades.
These pastel pencils come with erasers and sharpeners, which are efficient during work. In case of a messy smudge on the artwork, it is easy to dab and wipe with a piece of a damp cloth.
Even with a limited number of colors available, these pastel pencils are pretty versatile. You can use them with different materials and projects. For instance, they are ideal for drawing, shading, lettering, creating outlines, and quilting.
Rich Pigmentation And Smooth Texture
These pencils’ pigmentation and texture formulas make them suitable for use with various techniques. They quickly adapt to different styles employed.
General’s pastel pencils are made with hard materials which prevent them from crumbling during sharpening. You don’t have to worry about the pencil turning to dust when sharpening.
- Highly pigmented colours
- It has a smooth texture
- Can be blended with watercolour and acrylic paintings
- A mess can easily be corrected using an eraser
- Easy to use
- Limited Color selection
- Non-vibrant colors
3. Faber-Castel FC112124 Pitt Pastel Pencils
For a brand that’s been famous for its quality products, Faber-Castel FC112124 Pitt Pastel Pencils is one you should check out if you want a picturesque artwork. It contains a total of 24 pastel pencils in a packed metal tin, ideal for portability.
Each pencil in the tin gives your piece a pop of beautiful color. This allows you to play with colors and textures while creating defined lines, softer hues, or dramatic effects.
Because of their Pitt cores, these pastel pencils are easy to use for detailing. They are also oil and wax-free which makes it easy to sharpen them without worrying about breakage or crumbling.
They have dark tones similar to hair and skin tones, making them highly rated for portrait artworks.
These pastel pencils hardly produce any powdery residue. They are coated with Faber-Castel Waterbased Eco Varnish for safety and health measures.
The assortment of colours and the material of these Pitt pastel pencils makes it easy to try different shades on your piece and enhance the finer details. Depending on the shade or layering depth you want, you can mix and match colours to achieve a quality spectrum.
You can blend these pastel pencil colors with much ease because of their smooth texture. This allows you to achieve the shade you want on your project.
- They are Wax and oil-free
- Offers an assorted vibrant colors
- High pigmentation level
- It is highly versatile
- Safe to use
- Messes can be easily erased
- The metal tin is not ideal for traveling
- Can crumble when using an electric sharpener
4. MARCO 24 Pastel Color Pencil
For beginner artists and professionals who are looking for a total blend of neon and pastel colors, Axus’ Marco 24 Pastel Pencil is a perfect choice. These are perfect for soft drawing projects with a touch of vibrancy.
Despite having a professional quality level, these pencils are great for beginners too since they are easy to use. Their leads are highly pigmented and waxed which makes them write clearly and smoothly.
Marco pastel pencils are easy to blend due to their soft nature. You can simply use your fingertips to blend the colors or a paper stump for finer details.
The best feature this set has is its versatility. They can be used in almost all pastel papers and for various projects such as coloring, drawing, and painting. They are also perfect for sketching, shading and creating depth on a project.
With both pastel and neon colored pencils, Marco’s pastel pencils make your art piece appear pretty professional. The oil-based pencils are great for enhancing fine lines, creating soft hues, and developing depth for a picturesque outcome.
Easy To Blend
Because of the wax leads, which are also highly pigmented, these pastel pencils are easy to blend. For large areas, you can easily use your fingertips to blend, while for smaller areas or for a smooth consistency, you can use a paper stump or a color shaper.
The Marco pastel pencils come as a set of 24 trendy colors. You can try different colors on a piece to test out how vibrant it looks.
These are one of the few pastel pencils that cost much cheaper per set when compared to others. It is, therefore, a good choice for those with a low budget and for beginners.
- It comes in a set of pastel and neon colours
- The leads are wax-based, making them easy to use as they write smoothly
- Colors are easy to blend
- It is affordable which makes it ideal for beginners
- The leads break easily especially during sharpening
5. Art-n-Fly 48 Oil Based Colored Pencils
These are high-quality pencils for sketching, drawing and colouring. They have a large variety of colours with rich pigment which create a vibrant appearance on any artwork.
Compared to wax-based, the Art-n-Fly oil-based pencils are easier to use since they are more pigmented and sturdier. They also have a high lightfastness rating which means they hold the original colour for long without fading under exposure to light.
They are ideal for all groups; adults and kids, beginners and professionals.
With these oil-based pastel pencils, you don’t have to worry about your painting or drawing fading. They are made to stand the effects of light and retain its vibrancy.
These are some of the popular pastel pencils because of their quality. The colored pencils are made with rich pigment, which results in durable and vibrant art. They are brighter, sturdier, and stronger. For detailing, they bring a finer quality and not a waxy finish.
Variety of Colors
You can never run short of options with a total of 48 colours. The set offers a large selection of vibrant and trendy colors suitable for an archival piece of art.
Easy To Layer
Due to their thick and soft cores, these pencils are easy to blend and layer when creating depth and movement.
- Has a wide color selection
- High lightfastness ratings
- Smooth and easy to layer
- Can be used by both adults and children
- Easy to blend
- Some colours have a scratchy feel
- Leads can easily break due to sharpening or too much pressure
6. Dainayw Skin Tone Pastel Pencils
Having a set of pastel pencils that match skin tones is what every artist needs. With these Dainayw Skin Tone Pastel Pencils, you simply choose a colour that matches the skin tone you want and either lighten it or darken it a bit. This quality makes them perfect for portrait projects.
The 5mm lead diameter gives you freedom and control of your creation. You can also use them for creating finer details while drawing.
They are easy to blend or smudge using fingers or paper stumps for artistic outcomes. They have a high level of lightfastness which makes them durable.
Beginners and amateurs trying out techniques can benefit from using these pencils because they are affordable.
Colors And Shades Matching All Skins
These pastel pencils are specifically made with different colours to match and recreate skin tones. They also have complimentary shades in case you need to adjust by lightening or darkening a tone.
The smooth and soft texture of these colours makes it easy to blend or smudge when creating layers or depth. This layering effect gives the art realistic and detailed definitions.
The 12 pastel coloured pencils are ideal for recreating natural skin tones and producing premium artistic effects in a portrait. They are ideal for both beginners and professionals who are looking for top-notch performance.
- Offer a variety of colours and their shades to recreate any skin tone
- The colors are easy to blend and smudge
- Provide perfect layers
- It is affordable
- Leads break easily because they are brittle
Buying Guide-What To Consider When Buying Pastel Pencils
When looking for pastel pencils, it is best to set a budget. How much are you willing to invest in your artwork?
From our research, most high-quality pastel pencils will cost around $30 when bought as a whole set, while a single piece might go for around $1.50.
However, professionals use more advanced sets, which cost much higher per piece or per set. These sets are significantly more expensive because they have more pigments.
Therefore, consider the price against the performance to help you make a good choice when buying a pastel pencil.
Unlike other mediums, pastel pencils offer fewer varieties of colours. The available colours are thicker than other mediums, and they do not blend easily.
However, since artwork depends greatly on pigment and vibrancy, it is still good to choose colours that blend well with others to create various tones. Professional artists can perform well with many colour varieties, while beginners need fewer colours.
There are two categories used to determine a pastel pencil’s quality; Professional/Artist’s quality and Student’s quality.
Professional quality pastels have more pigment purity, lightfastness, and are more permanent, which means they don’t fade out quickly. They are more robust with a better general composition.
Students’ quality pastel pencils are for those starting and experimenting with different techniques before investing. They have fewer pigments and are less intense compared to the Professional quality.
Professional quality pastel pencils are more expensive because of the high number of pigments. Students’ quality is much cheaper.
Lead diameter is a pencil’s width. Pastel Pencils with thinner lead diameters are generally known for working on pieces that need more refined details.
Therefore, if your project is small-scale, your best choice will be a pastel pencil with a thin lead diameter. You can use pastel pencils with larger lead diameters for complementary details or medium to large-scale projects.
The lightfastness rating of a pastel pencil will help you determine how stable the colour pigment remains after long exposure to light. This is because light can damage the original pigment by causing it to fade, darken, whiten or disappear.
Lightfastness value ranges from 0 to 8.8, with values from 6 considered best options.
Beginners might not need to be keen on a pastel pencil’s lightfastness. However, if you are aiming at a professional piece of art, then it’s best to check the colour charts before picking your best colours to use.
How To Use Pastel Pencils
If you are a beginner artist or you just started using pastel pencils, this section will give you very crucial tips on how to use pastel pencils to achieve maximum performance.
- Try to avoid using too many pastel pencil colours on top of each other. Using a large variety of colours on one piece makes the appearance muddy.
- Generally, start with light colours while moving to dark ones. This tip holds for everyone and has to be practised to avoid messing up. The reason is that it is possible to see through pastel colours. Therefore if you work from dark colours to lighter ones, the art piece will have a muddy appearance at the end.
- Use mid-tones to lay the foundation for dark tones. If you lay a light tone as the foundation for a dark tone, the outcome will appear too harsh.
- Always keep your pastel pencil sharp in order to achieve finer details on your piece. Sharp pencils produce fine lines, especially when running light colours over dark colours.
- When working, use the sharp tip of the pencil for precise and finer lines and tilt to use the site for broader areas.
- Always use dark tones against light ones and light tones against dark colours. This technique gives your piece a beautiful tonal contrast and makes it look more alive.
- When layering one tone on top of the other, try to use a light hand. Do not press down too hard. This protects the pastel paper from being crushed.
- When in excess, dab the piece with a kneaded rubber to remove the excess pastel or to shape it up.
How To Blend Pastel Pencils
For most people, the key struggle is how to blend pastels while using pastel pencils for a stunning outcome. There are several options of what to use for blending. You can use your fingers or other pastel blending tools such as kneaded rubber, paper stump, pastel brushes and pastel shapers.
Using your fingers to blend pastel pencils is the easiest and most common technique. You can use your fingers when blending several colours or when you need to lay a base colour.
When using your fingers, ensure you wash them regularly to avoid smudging other areas with unwanted colours. You can also opt to use finger cots to avoid too much washing and to protect them from feeling raw after rubbing. With finger cots, you simply change them after each application to maintain cleanliness.
You can either use a kneaded rubber as an eraser to remove excess pastel or a pastel blender. For tiny areas, you can use a kneaded rubber to blend by twisting and moulding the rubber into the shape you want.
These are paintbrushes designed specifically for blending pastels. Pastel brushes can be used with any piece and in various colours.
Paper stumps are pointed blending tools that are made by winding up a piece of paper to form a pencil-shaped stump. Use the tip to rub into the area you want to blend. When it gets dirty, and you need a fresh tip, you simply unwind the stump.
Color shapers or pastel shapers are quite similar to paintbrushes. The difference between the two lies on the ends. Unlike paintbrushes with hairy ends, colour shapers have pointy rubber ends or flat ends.
These are ideal for blending smaller areas where fingers cannot reach. Colour shapers with pointy ends are useful for creating fine details around small spaces, while flat shapers can be used for large areas.
Which Brand of Pastel Pencils Is Best?
Different artists prefer and revere other brands for very contrasting reasons based on our research. One brand can serve one artist best, while another might find the same brand a little subpar. Therefore, the best brand will depend on whether you are a beginner or a professional who knows the way around.
However, if we were to suggest the best brand, we’d say STABILO CarbOthello Pastel Pencils is the leading brand. Despite being in the market for so long, this brand still leads in quality and performance.
Which Pastel Pencils Are The Softest?
When comparing softness, General’s Pastel Chalk Pencils and Faber-Castel FC112124 Pitt Pastel Pencils take the lead. These brands of pastel pencils have high pigmentation with very smooth textures. Unlike other brands with a chalky touch, these two have a buttery-like soft feel, making it quite fun to work with.
Are Pastel Pencils Good?
Yes. Pastel pencils are a good recommendation for everyone interested in drawing, colouring, sketching, and any kind of artwork. They give you a wide range of options when working on a project and keep the artistic spirit vibrant.
Are Pastel Pencils Good For Beginners?
Yes. As stated, there are student-grade quality pastel pencils perfect for people who are just starting. They give beginners the chance to explore new techniques in the art world. A beginner can also choose an affordable set until they master the art.
What Is The Best Way To Sharpen Pastel Pencils?
Most artists are tempted to use sharpeners because they are easy to use. However, most pastel pencils can break and crumble easily when mishandled. They need a lot of attention and care when sharpening. Therefore, the best way to sharpen them is to use a single edge razor blade or a craft knife to avoid breakage and also to control how pointy or sharp they should be.
You no longer have to wonder what pastel pencils are best. You only need to understand the important features such as cost, lead diameter, colour variety, and how easy they are to blend.
This article is a clear guide on how to compare different brands, how to choose the best pastel pencil based on key features, pros and cons, and things to consider before making a purchase.
Therefore, we hope this guide has been helpful, and you can now easily choose based on what fits your project.