Best Watercolor Pencils

Michael Daly
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Watercolor pencils are just as easy to use as regular graphite pencils but a heck of a lot different!

Tons of artists out there still don’t know about them yet, and the ones that do are using them more and more for their artistic projects.

But not all watercolor pencils are equal in quality, so you’ll get what you pay for.

There are also many different brands on the market to choose from, each with their unique characteristics.

If you’re an experienced artist who’s never tried watercolor pencils before, or you’re a beginner trying to learn how to use them, you’ve come to the right place!

Here’s where we’ll take you step by step through the process of learning how watercolor pencils work and choosing the best watercolor pencils for you.

Derwent Colored PencilsBest OverallDerwent Colored Pencils
Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art MarkerBudget PickTombow Dual Brush Pen Art Marker
Albrecht Durer 120 Watercolor Pencil Set TinUpgrade PickAlbrecht Durer 120 Watercolor Pencil Set Tin

1. Derwent Colored Pencils

Our rating: 9 / 10

Derwent Colored Pencils

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  • They’re perfect for fine art as well as coloring
  • You get three dual-tipped 4B pencils
  • Comes in wood box
  • Good broad range of colors
  • Improved formula made with natural pigments

When it comes to watercolor pencils, you can’t get more popular than Derwent. The company has been around since 1838 and employs over 1,000 people.

These broad watercolor pencils include three dual-tipped 4B pencils. They’re designed to provide convenient layering and blending. They come in a wood box, so it’ll be great for gift giving.

The color tones were designed to be highly saturated. They’re also made from a lightfast dye, so they can be used with confidence. These colors are great for fine art as well as coloring.

2. Albrecht Durer 120 Watercolor Pencil Set Tin

Our rating: 9 / 10

Albrecht Durer 120 Watercolor Pencil Set Tin

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  • Professional artist quality
  • 120 pencils in a metal tin
  • 24 pencils in each of the 12 divided trays
  • 24 h hardness
  • 36 pencils per tray
  • Colors include every color you will need

These are some of the best watercolor pencils you’ll find on the market today.

They are a favorite among professional artists everywhere who need a wide array of colors for their artwork. Because they are watercolor pencils, they are very thin and delicate, and they need to be treated with extra care.

These pencils have a 0.7 mm lead, which is slightly thicker than many other brands. This means that you can lay down the pigment a little easier, and get more detail.

3. Derwent Colored Pencils

Our rating: 9 / 10

Derwent Colored Pencils

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  • Man-made cedar wooden pencils
  • Fade-resistant
  • Vibrant colors
  • Formulated to be used on paper or a specially prepared board, designed for the Inktense pencils
  • Easily blendable
  • Includes a built-in sharpener within the pencil case
  • Available in different sets with different set sizes
  • Available in a variety of colors


  • Dust can build up in the tips of the pencils
  • Some of the tips can crumble and break
  • Some colors aren’t as vibrant as others

Derwent is a British company that has been in the pencil-making business for generations. They offer an amazing selection of colored pencils in a variety of sizes and colors.

The Derwent Colored Pencils are quite different from the average colored pencils. They’re very soft to the touch, compared to other colored pencils. They’re truly deluxe in feel.

The lead in these colored pencils is mega-soft, which allows for a smooth laydown and shades beautifully.

4. Prismacolor Premier Color Pencils

Our rating: 9 / 10

Prismacolor Premier Color Pencils

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  • I ncludes a variety of vibrant colors
  • Can be easily blended or washed off
  • Affordable price
  • Comes with an eraser underneath the cap

Prismacolor Premiers are some of the most popular professional colored pencils out there. These watercolor pencils come in 36 vibrant colors, and they’re incredibly versatile. They’re softer than your regular colored pencils, so you don’t have to worry about your watercolor paper screaming in agony as you draw. They can also be easily mixed and blended with each other.

When water is added to these pencils, they produce a stunning watercolor effect that’s not too watery and not too heavy. You can also carefully wash them off your paper to achieve a different effect. The pencils themselves are also very easy to blend.

That being said, these pencils are relatively expensive for colored pencils. They’re not the best choice if you’re looking for bold, vibrant colors for kids. They’re more for adults and professional artists.

5. Derwent Colored Pencils

Our rating: 8 / 10

Derwent Colored Pencils

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Assembled in Europe, these pencils come with a design for the artist who loves color. It includes vibrant water colors that are tested from the finest pigments. They range from waxy to oil like textures for providing smooth results for your art requirements. They are all available at a reasonable price as well. These are not the typical wax-based colored pencils found on the market, but rather they come in a variety of water-based designs. These Derwent colored pencils are all acid free and are compatible with most types of electric sharpeners. Even though these pencils are made of water, they do not smear.

These pencils come in a pack of 24. However, the actual pencils are rolled up in a wrap. The wrap is made of a nylon-based material. The pencils are still visible from the package and remain intact with the wrap. The wrap has dimensions of 6 x 1.8 x 11.8 inches. This makes the wrap one of the largest available in the market for colored pencils.

6. Cretacolor Aqua Monolith Refill Set of 12

Our rating: 8 / 10

Cretacolor Aqua Monolith Refill Set of 12

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If you’re the kind of artist who needs to mix up your pencils all the time, you’re going to love this refillable watercolor pencil from Cretacolor. It’s filled with top-quality pigments and are very high-quality pencils.

The Cretacolor Aqua Monolith contains 12 pigment-intensive, vibrant artists’ colors. Most of the colors are geared towards watercolor painting, but there are several shades of gray, gold, and black.

The pencils can be used dry or wet to allow you to achieve different effects, so don’t be afraid to try them out. They’re extremely easy to use so you shouldn’t have any trouble with it at all.

7. Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush Assorted Tips

Our rating: 8 / 10

Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush Assorted Tips

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  • Different brush tips for fast and accurate results
  • Great for travel
  • Ergonomic design
  • Wide range of artistic uses
  • Works with watercolors and pencils
  • Creates a beautiful, transparent wash
  • Since there are six different brush tips, you can experiment with different styles and strokes
  • Can be used on absorbent and non-absorbent surfaces


  • The colors don’t come out quite as opaque as you may prefer
  • Requires water, so you can’t use this if you live in an area with limited or inconvenient access to water sources

The Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush is a water brush made up of a round barrel and six colors: red, yellow, green, blue, brown, and violet. Each tip allows you to have a slightly different stroke and results in fast and accurate drawings. Whether it’s a slash, point, line, spiral, or any other type of stroke, your drawing will still be accurate.

The tube that connects to the barrel is flexible and can considerably extend. This helps when drawing large images, as it puts the brush at a

8. Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Marker

Our rating: 8 / 10

Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Marker

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  • Easily blendable
  • Works well with pencil, ink, and watercolor
  • Comes in a range of bright colors
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Affordable price
  • Easily blendable
  • Works well with pencil, ink, and watercolor

There are so many beautiful sets of watercolor pencils out there to choose from, but these pencils from Tombow does the job perfectly. With this set, you can enjoy learning the art of blending without all the messy colors of traditional watercolor.

Aside from being a great art tool, these pencils will also let you be creative beyond your wildest imagination. It’ll help you to come up with awesome colored drawings on your paper, letting you come up with one-of-a-kind art pieces.

If you don’t really want to be bothered with the messy colors that are involved in using traditional watercolor pencils, these pencils are definitely what you’ve been looking for. These pencils are colorless, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not versatile. These pencils will give you many different shades, providing you with a lot of options.

9. Caran d 'Ache d-ache 115.303 3pièce – Brushes Brush

Our rating: 8 / 10

Caran d 'Ache d-ache 115.303 3pièce – Brushes Brush

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If you want some natural looking watercolored images, then the watercolor pencils by Caran d ’Ache could be a good option for you.

These pencils come in either a black lead or a white lead and come with either an oil-based or wax-based. Once you’ve chosen, they’re ideal for both fine lines and large area watercolor artwork.

These innovative watercolored pencils are ideal for expressing your style and passion.

10. Derwent Colored Pencils

Our rating: 7 / 10

Derwent Colored Pencils

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  • Long-lasting
  • Clean and easy to clean
  • Comes with an excellent supply of leads and stays sharp
  • They are free of messy wax
  • Comes with as many as 36 pencils
  • Ideal for many uses, including coloring, drawing, and sketching

If you like drawing and color pencils, Derwent colored pencils are a great tool to add to your storage. The Derwent pencils are famous for its bold colors and easy application.

The pencils have thick leads so you need to use them on thick paper pads. The pencils come in a wide variety of colors and they blend well with each other.

Derwent Inktense pencils are best used on a dark paper pad, so you can see the colors well. It's easy to blend the colors together and they complement each other perfectly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best brand of watercolor pencils?

It would be hard to call for a specific brand since there are several good brands available and suitable for artists. If you are a beginner, you might find it hard to distinguish between the numerous brands so here’s a short description of the available brands.

Best artist grade watercolor pencils would be Faber-Castell Polychromo Woodless Pencil. This pencil comes in a variety of colors ranging from black to red and it has the ability to work on a wide variety of surfaces.

Winsor brand watercolor pencils are also quite popular. This brand is ideal for beginners since you can use it on canvas and even on paper without feeling stressed of ruining your art piece. It is also very affordable.


Watercolor pencils are an excellent choice for artists as it gives versatility and affordability.

These pencils require little preparation time and you can work on a variety of surfaces.

What is the best way to use watercolor pencils?

Beginners should start with a light touch and easy water pressure. Consider testing a new pencil before using it to avoid overly wet, overly open lines and colors that bleed together.

A general rule of thumb is to use a light touch and to press harder in the first half of the pencil mark, then ease up to a lighter touch on the second half. You can capture the most brilliant colors at the edges of the pencil lines. Let your nuances of color develop on their own. If you try to control them too much, they will not be as rich. The key to successful watercolor pencils is letting color randomly travel about on the paper to create subtle variations. So go ahead and play with those colors.

Are watercolor pencils good?

Watercolor pencils are lovely, but they’re not all the same. Because they’re creamy, blending is difficult.

There’s also no way to blend from watercolor pencil to watercolor paint. It’s an either-or situation. There’s no changing your mind and switching on the fly.

One watercolor pencil will not match another watercolor pencil. You should always buy pencils of the same brand in order to achieve the exact shade you want.

If you’re looking for a learning experience or simply a stunning piece of art, watercolor pencils are a great choice, but if you’re looking for versatility, stick to paint.

What's the difference between watercolor pencils and colored pencils?

Watercolor pencils and colored pencils are not the same thing. They may seem similar, but are used differently and vary in quality. Colored pencils are more expensive because they contain more pigment. Colored pencils also need to be sharpened often, and their paint tends to break off and break when sharpened. So to sum it up, colored pencils are generally considered more versatile and easier to use but they are harder to work with. Conversely, watercolor pencils, being less tough, require more skill to work with and can be harder to control, but their paint is more forgiving and blends more easily.


Watercolor pencils are a popular option for artists today since they are considered to be more natural and healthy alternative to oil paints. On top of that, they can be somewhat cheaper than oil paints, making them accessible to a larger market of people.

So, how do you go about choosing a set of watercolor pencils?

Remember, watercolor pencils are like normal pencils with water-soluble pigments you can set with a little water.

Your main concern should be with the quality of the lead, and whether or not it can lock pigment in place, and will blend different colors. Most of the time, this correlates with the level of firmness of a given pencil.

Our Recommendation

Derwent Colored PencilsBest OverallDerwent Colored Pencils
Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art MarkerBudget PickTombow Dual Brush Pen Art Marker
Albrecht Durer 120 Watercolor Pencil Set TinUpgrade PickAlbrecht Durer 120 Watercolor Pencil Set Tin