Oil-based colored pencils are a favorite for many artists, both professional and novice, thanks to their rich color saturation, their ability to blend, and the long-lasting pigment that the colored pencils give.
If you have decided to use oil-based colored pencils for your artwork, you still need to decide which brand would be best, as there is a wide range of options out there, and all are slightly different from each other.
Which are the best oil-based colored pencils? The best oil-based colored pencils to use would be pencils that you find easy to work with, have rich color saturation, allow you to blend the colors together on your medium, and will give long-lasting color to your artwork.
Oil-based colored pencils are a great option for many artists, especially if you are looking for a way to achieve richly saturated colors on your artwork without using acrylic paint or other mediums. To find the best oil-based colored pencils for you, keep reading to find our recommendations and tips!
Oil-Based Vs Wax-Based Colored Pencils
One of the decisions you would need to make as an artist when choosing your colored pencils is whether to choose oil-based or waxed-based pencils. There are quite a few differences between the two, so understanding the differences will help you make a better choice.
The binder used in oil-based and wax-based colored pencils is different. As the name suggests, oil-based colored pencils use an oil binder, while waxed-based colored pencils use a wax binder. This has a huge effect on the results the colored pencils give.
You are far more likely to find wax-based pencils at your local art store compared to oil-based pencils. Oil-based colored pencils are considered more premium and therefore come with a higher price tag.
Wax-based colored pencils are usually softer, and oil-based colored pencils are usually harder. This means that wax-based pencils can be layered and erased easily, and create a buttery surface that allows for blending and layering. However, the softness of wax-based colored pencils means that the core breaks easily.
Oil-based colored pencils are harder, which means the core is not as susceptible to breaking, and the tip stays sharper for longer. You can achieve beautiful blending and layering with oil-based colored pencils.
4. Wax Bloom
Over time, wax-based colored pencils used on paper can develop a wax bloom, which is a light waxy film that develops over the surface of the drawing. This can be wiped away with a damp cloth but is not ideal if you do not want to interfere with your framed artwork.
Oil-based colored pencils will not develop this waxy bloom.
How To Choose The Best Oil-Based Colored Pencils
There are a few things to consider before heading out and buying a new set of oil-based colored pencils. Keeping the below factors in mind when taking a look at different options will help you choose the best option for you and your artwork.
1. Quality Of The Pencils
Colored pencils come in ‘student grade’ or ‘artist grade’, and the differences are huge.
The artist-grade colored pencils are the highest quality and should definitely be your choice if your budget allows for it. They are superior to student-grade pencils in every way and contain a higher pigment content, which gives a richer and bolder color finish.
These artist-grade pencils are also lightfast and easier to blend and use. However, if these are out of your budget, student-grade oil-based colored pencils will also get the job done!
2. Color Range
As an artist, you want a wide color range at your disposal, but it is also important to remember that you can blend and layer oil-based colored pencils, so you don’t have to go overboard and buy every color under the rainbow.
You could start off with a standard set of pencils if you are unsure and then go from there. There is also the option with many brands to buy individual pencils as you go, but there is also no reason you can’t buy them in on go in a large set if your budget allows for it. The more colors, the more options you have!
Colored pencil artwork can break down over time, due to light and humidity. These elements break down the bonds of the colors on the artwork. Pencils that are able to resist this process are known to have ‘lightfastness’. Most artist-grade oil-based colored pencils will have lightfastness, but it is worth checking if it is something that you are looking for.
This might seem a bit insignificant for some, but it is worth considering if the oil-based colored pencils come in a storage tin or container, rather than a cardboard box that might break. As these oil-based pencils are likely premium-grade, you want to keep them protected from damage.
It also helps you see the wide range of colors better if the pencils are stored in a container that displays them all together. This is something to look for if you don’t already have storage at home for your colored pencils.
The 7 Best Oil-Based Colored Pencils
Below are our top picks of the best oil-based colored pencils on the market, all of which will give you beautifully rich saturation of color and hopefully a gorgeous finished piece overall!
|1.||Faber-Castell Polychromos Artist's Color Pencils||Soft, water and smudge resistant, buildable|
|2.||Schpererr Farben 96 Colored Pencils||set of 96, storage tin, non-toxic, sharpened|
|3.||Ooku Professional Colored Pencils||120 colors, ultra-smooth, storage tin|
|4.||Magicfly 72 Colors Oil-Based Colored Pencils||Non-toxic, storage tin, bonus watercolor set|
|5.||Southsun Oil-Based Pencils||160, durable, premium lead, storage box|
|6.||Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor Art Pencils||Storage tin, 36 colors, vivid and lightfast|
|7.||Art-N-Fly Oil-Based Colored Pencils||Lightfast, smooth layering, storage tin|
1. Faber-Castell Polychromos Artists’ Color Pencils
The Faber-Castell Polychromos Artists’ Color Pencils are some of the best oil-based colored pencils that many artists love, both professional and semi-professional, due to their unsurpassed quality and beautiful finishes.
These oil-based colored pencils are soft and lay down color wonderfully, which gives beautiful saturation to artwork. All of the different colors are water-resistant and smudge-proof, making them so much easier to work with.
To make the pencils long-lasting, the leads are SV bonded, so the pencils last for longer than many other colored pencils.
With buttery smooth color, the Polychromos pencils can be easily blended for layered effects, which allow for highlights and transitions. The oil-based technology lead offers smooth blending without the possibility of waxy bloom that results with other pencils.
Artists can enjoy the unsurpassed lightfastness of these pencils, which makes them great for artists who want to preserve their artwork and not have the colors fade over time.
The set includes 120 pencils, which offers a wide range of colors for you to choose from, so you can really create just about any image you can imagine.
2. Schpererr Farben 96 Colored Pencils
This set from Schpererr Farben contains 96 richly saturated pigments that have soft, break-resistant cores that give you an incredibly even color lay down.
These artists’ colored pencils are perfect for shading and creating shadows, and each colored pencil comes with a name and number which allows for easy color identification, ensuring your blending and layering are perfect each time.
All 96 of the colored pencils in the set come in a beautiful tin box, arranged in 4 strong trays which fan out to be easy to view. The pencils are also all pre-sharpened so that you can get coloring straight away.
Being oil-based, and high quality, the pencils give a rich, deep coverage that allows you to create intricate colors and images. The pencils are non-toxic and safe for anyone to use, and it is a great first set for artists to use.
3. Ooku Professional Colored Pencils
This extensive color palette from Ooku contains 120 different colors that all offer vibrant and rich pigments that art enthusiasts will love. All of the pencils are labeled and numbered so you can easily identify the right color as you go.
Made from high-quality wood, and containing a 0.3cm strong thick core, the pencils are protected against breakage, cracking, and chipping.
With a rich pigment, the oil-based colored pencils are ultra-smooth and easy to lay down and help to perfectly capture hues and enhance drawings.
With all the pencils pre-sharpened, you can start drawing as soon as you open the set.
The case provided has trays in layers, giving you a compact and easy storage solution, but still allowing all of the colors to be on display clearly!
4. Magicfly 72 Colors Oil-Based Colored Pencils
Made from 100%, safe and non-toxic materials, the Magicfly Oil-Based Colored Pencils are perfect for artists of all ages.
A break-resistant core in each pencil means that you can use these pencils for years, without worrying about broken colors or cores just from an accidental drop.
The strong cores not only extend the lifespan of the pencils but enhance the drawing experience as well.
Each pencil is labeled with the color name, the color number, and the lightfastness rating, so you always have the information you need to get coloring, layering, and blending.
These oil-based colored pencils are all set in a tin box that has leveled trays inside, which allow for quick and easy color selection.
With 72 colors in the set, as well as a bonus 72 watercolor set, you will have all you need to get busy with your art and produce some beautiful, vivid colors!
5. Southsun Oil-Based Pencils
This set from Southsun includes 160 oil-based colored pencils, which is a considerable amount, and which will not leave you wanting!
Every pencil in the set has a color number mark to help you save time when picking out shades, and the set includes 72 different vibrant colors and an additional 12 metallic colors for a little extra shine.
The pencils are all durably built and made from high-quality wood, making them resistant to breakages.
Premium lead also allows for a smooth and uninterrupted coloring experience that is capable of layering, blending, and shadowing.
A sturdy plastic box holds the trays of the colored pencils within, so you do not have to worry about storing the pencils on your own. There are 5 handy plastic trays in the box, and a very helpful handle so you can take your art with you wherever you go.
6. Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor Art Pencils
Lyra has these incredible oil-based colored pencils on offer for professionals and semi-professionals alike. They are high-quality pencils that will give an impeccable finish to different artworks and offer long-lasting and vivid color.
While there are only 36 colors in the set, all can be blended together to create new shades and hues, so you will not be left wanting. The colors all come in a metal box container and are laid out to be on display clearly for easy color selection.
All of the colors have brilliant, vivid pigments, and are all lightfast and water-resistant. They will stand the test of time, meaning that your artwork will as well.
The smooth lead can be used on paper, cardboard, synthetic materials, and even wood and textiles. Made from high-quality materials, these are oil-based colored pencils that artists will love.
7. Art-N-Fly Oil-Based Colored Pencils
These high-quality drawing pencils feature rich pigments which create vibrant, long-lasting artwork.
With an innovative oil-based core, the pencils are sturdier and highly pigmented, which allows them to hold a finer point, but still layer and blend beautifully.
All of the pencils have a high lightfastness and are made to last with no exception. The colors will not fade with exposure to light or humidity, so your artwork will be kept safe.
Smooth layering from the pencils is made possible by the soft and thick cores, which allow for flawless blending. There are 72 colors in the set, so you can really blend some beautiful hues together.
The pencils are all housed in a travel-safe tin, so they are always protected, and you have the option to take your pencils with you wherever you go. You never know where inspiration might hit!
The Best Oil-Based Colored Pencils
Oil-based colored pencils are wonderful to use. They offer rich, vivid pigmented colors, hard cores to protect against breaking, and the ability to blend and layer colors flawlessly.
The right oil-based colored pencils can be an integral part of an artists’ kit, so use the above guidelines to choose the best oil-based colored pencils for you, and have a look through our top recommendations to choose one of the better options.
Are Oil-Based Or Wax-Based Colored Pencils Better?
It is not easy to say which is better, as every artist will have their preference, but it is generally understood that oil-based colored pencils are of a higher quality, and more expensive, than wax-based colored pencils.
Oil-based colored pencils will also not develop a wax bloom over time, which is a big bonus for many artists.
Are All Colored Pencils Oil-Based?
Not all colored pencils are oil-based. Most colored pencils sold in art stores or online are wax-based. As oil-based colored pencils are considered to be more premium and higher-quality, they are more difficult to come by.
Can You Blend Oil-Based Colored Pencils?
Oil-based colored pencils can be blended easily together, allowing you to come up with new hues and colors suited to your artwork. This also allows your work to appear seamless and smooth.
Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol To Blend Colored Pencils?
Rubbing alcohol can be used to blend colored pencils, but it is best used for wax-based colored pencils. It breaks down the wax binder and allows for easier blending of the pigments.
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