Art endeavors may take on a whole new dimension with the best watercolor pencils. You may produce a watercolor wash straight on your canvas by dipping the included water-soluble leads in water. It’s also possible to make your markings dry and then paint over them with wet paint. Or they can also be used dry, just like regular colored pencils.
Watercolor pencils, as opposed to brushes, can be sharpened (for more information, read our best pencil sharpeners guide). They’re also considerably easier to transport than paints and less prone to mishaps while doing so. They are ideal for vacations, day outings, and plein air sketching because of this.
Watercolor pencils, like watercolors, necessitate the use of thicker paper. The more time you have to work on your markings before the paper absorbs all of the liquid, the thicker the paper you’ll have to use. See our post on the best watercolor paper for more information.
Painting with Best Watercolor Pencils
Watercolor art pieces are amazing, and this is especially true if you use high-quality watercolor pencils, which offer all of the cool effects you may get from watercolor paints, such as blending, transitions, soft, watery colors and layering, fading, large area washes and more with the colors and textures. However, when using them as sharp-pointed pencils without water, these pencils can also allow for more clear forms, contours, borders, lines and details, more definite and vivid colors.
The flexibility of watercolor pencils is the reason why many beginners and professional artists enjoy them so much. You can use them in the following kinds of way:
- Draw dry: As with a typical colored pencil, you can create tiny lines and massive solid fills with a dry water coloring pencil on dry paper.
- Dry-and-wet: This is when you work with a dry watercolor pencil, but then dip a paintbrush in water and use it to paint over the painting.
- Wet paper: To create such effects as blurring, color fades, mixed hues, and large-area washes on paper. Experiment with techniques to get the style you want.
- Dipped in water: Using a pencil that has been dipped in water creates a more fluid watercolor appearance and frequently results in more vibrant colors.
- Dissolved and brushed on: Watercolor pencils may be used in the same way as regular watercolor paint, however, combining watercolor pencil techniques with pencil painting techniques typically brings a better result.
With the best watercolor pencils, no matter what technique you employ, you can produce stunning watercolor paintings and pencil drawings with depth and perspective that regular watercolor paints may not be able to deliver.
Their another benefit is that they’re portable, allowing you to create a terrific portable atelier with a lot less trouble and mess than with traditional watercolors.
How to Find and Buy the Best Watercolor Pencils on the Market?
What are the best watercolor pencils to use? This is not the only question that comes up in the minds of those who are obsessed with art or want to make the best gift for artist. In this guide, we’ll try to answer it and cover the following:
- Best watercolor pencils for commercial artists
- Best watercolor pencils for fine artists
- Best watercolor pencils for art students
- Best watercolor pencils for beginners
- Best watercolor pencils for kids
- Best value watercolor pencils
- Best watercolor pencil sets
- Best watercolor pencils overall
There are some pricier items on our list, but we believe they are well worth the money and are the best drawing tools for artists of any kind. Their vibrant colors, how they feel in the hand, and ease of use are just a few reasons why they stand out from others. On the contrary, some sets are far less expensive, nonetheless, they provide a good level of quality and performance and may be a perfect fit for novices and amateurs.
Whichever set of the best watercolor pencils 2022 you choose, you’ll definitely be blown away by the vivid colors, easy handling, and luxurious feel of each set we’ve mentioned here. So let’s look at them in greater detail.
6 Best Watercolor Pencils and Sets 2022 for Artists, Illustrators, and Art Students
#1. Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer: Best Watercolor Pencils to Use with Oil Pencils
Faber-Castell is a popular pencil brand known and appreciated all over the world, and Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils set is a particular standout among the company’s products.
Drawing with these pencils, which come in a range of sets (12, 24, 60 or 120 pieces), will give artists an opportunity to make fine lines. They have extremely strong 3.8 mm leads that are less prone to breakage, according to Faber-Castell’s exclusive secural bonding technology.
When water is added, the colors become more vibrant and rich, so the pencils may be used for a wide range of artistic endeavors: whether applied wet or dry, or a combination of both.
This set is also a great addition to Faber-Castell’s Polychromos oil pencils, which have a similar color range and can be great when used together. Moreover, there’s a free 10 mm brush included.
#2. Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Magnus: Best Watercolor Pencils for Huge Drawings
Albrecht Durer Magnus watercolor pencils from Faber-Castell are great for at-scale drawing since using them, you’ll be able to cover huge areas swiftly and effortlessly. These fat and big pencils with 5.3mm leads are gentler on the wrist because of their size and form. They are available in sets of 12 or 24 and have a very gentle and bright color range.
These also come with a 10mm paintbrush. As a result, even if these pencils are a bit more expensive, they are still a fantastic bargain.
#3. Staedtler Karat Aquarell: Best Watercolor Pencils Overall
The Karat Aquarell pencils from Staedtler are among the most highly regarded ones in the art world, and they have deserved such a reputation. In fact, we believe these are the best watercolor pencils to buy as they fit both pros and hobbyists.
It’s easy to mix colors and create washes with these expert pencils. Because of their hexagonal design, they’re easier to grip and use, and they’re less prone to rolling off the table and falling down. Even after being mixed with water, stronger hues and colors are still vibrant. Breakage is minimal and sharpening is a breeze with the pencils’ 3mm high-pigment leads.
Both amateur and professional artists may benefit from Staedtler Karat Aquarell, which comes in sets of 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60. However, if you’re totally new to watercolors, we recommend that you start with one of the less expensive alternatives.
#4. Derwent Watercolor Pencils: Best Value Watercolor Pencils
Derwent watercolor pencils are less expensive than Faber-Castell’s. Also, there may be certain drawbacks in terms of functionality and looks when the drawing is over, but they are still a perfect option for their price. They can be used both by kids who adore drawing, beginners who are just starting to master their drawing skills, and art students who require loads of practice every day.
Each of these hexagonal, made from natural wood pencils with high-grade water soluble colors is pleasant in the hand while also easy to sharpen. Having a 3.4mm lead, they are ideal for blending colors as the wax easily blends and dissolves in water.
Unless you’re looking for really vibrant and vivid colors, which unfortunately aren’t available in these sets, you won’t run out of hues to combine. Also, bear in mind that these colors dry rather rapidly, so you may need to keep adding new colors and water as you draw further. Derwent watercolor pencils can be purchased in sets of 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72.
#5. Derwent Inktense Permanent: Best Watercolor Pencils in Intensity
Derwent Inktense Permanent watercolor pencils are frequently confused with the Derwent watercolor pencil set we’ve reviewed above. However, they do differ.
When using the Derwent watercolor pencils, layers may be reworked by putting water on top once they have dried. Inktense pencils, on the other hand, are permanent after they’ve dried. As a result, more color may be applied on top without harming the layer below.
The two sets have different colors as well. When wet, Inktense pencils generate vibrant, ink-like colors that pop off the page more than the Derwent watercolor pencils. Moreover, they can be successfully used on textile. However, keep in mind that Inktense watercolor pencils appear to be quite dull if you use them dry.
These pencils have a 4mm lead and come in sets of 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72.
#6. Caran D’ache Prismalo Aquarelle: Best Watercolor Pencils to Draw Fine Details
Caran D’ache Prismalo Aquarelle have 3mm leads and can be sharpened to the finest, which makes them excellent tools for detailed drawings. These are high-end Swiss pencils, both in terms of price and quality. With their hexagonal barrels, they’re simple to grip and use, and their brilliant colors combine wonderfully with water.
Using these high-quality pencils, especially when working on complicated drawings, might improve your results. If you are an experienced commercial artist or illustrator, we suggest that you give them a try. Caran D’ache Prismalo Aquarelle sets of 12, 30, 40, and 80 are available.
How to work with watercolor pencils?
These pencils are used to create a watercolor wash, and there are lots of techniques to do that. One option is to begin drawing with a watercolor pencil and, afterward, use a wet sponge or paintbrush to enhance the colors.
You can also wet the tip of your watercolour pencil before drawing. The lines will be brighter and more free-flowing, and a specific color will pop off the paper.
Are watercolor pencils good for regular use?
Yes, just like a usual colored pencil, you may draw with dry watercolor pencils. The lines will be exactly the same.
How to choose the best watercolor pencils for my needs?
Watercolor pencils are produced in a variety of shapes, sizes, and qualities. However, despite the purpose of use and experience, the thickness of the lead should be the first consideration. It is advisable to use thinner leads for fine details, while broader leads will allow you to cover larger surfaces in less time.
The pencil’s shape is also an important thing to mind. Which one do you like in your hand: a hexagonal, round, or triangular watercolor pencil?
The quantity of pencils in the set is also an important factor. Depending on how much mixing you intend on doing, you may be able to get away with a smaller set if you don’t require a large range of colors.
Finally, think of how hard you need your pencil to be. The durability and hardness of the pencil’s lead may be an important consideration for those who aren’t careful and frequently break them.
How to sharpen watercolor pencils correctly?
Watercolor pencils have delicate leads, and this fact makes it difficult to sharpen them and requires a careful approach. Therefore, electric and low-quality manual pencil sharpeners should be avoided.
We’d recommend that you buy an expensive quality sharpener, and when sharpening watercolor pencils, always twist the sharpener, not the pencil.
If you’re still looking for alternatives, a good and sharp knife or scalpel can be used for this purpose. But do it carefully not to break the delicate leads.
What paper will be the best for watercolor pencils?
The thicker the paper, the less likely it would warp when you add water. The best option is to work on paper designed specifically for this purpose.
Specialist watercolor paper will be much better than regular paper for watercolor drawing and painting. The reason for this is that it is thicker and has a special coating that prevents quick absorption of water. As a result, you’ll have more time to dive into the drawing process and won’t be too rushed and stressed.
How to choose the best watercolor paper?
On the market, you’ll find three varieties of machine-produced watercolor paper. HP (or hot pressed) watercolour paper has the smoothest surface. Watercolour paper with a slightly raised surface is known as CP (cold pressed). Rough watercolor paper, on the other hand, has a textured finish.
Use hot pressed paper if you need to draw precise details; cold pressed is ideal for more broad artwork, while rough paper is preferable for atmospheric paintings. We recommend that you try Savoir Faire Studio Watercolor Pad or Arches Watercolor Paper, or check out our guide of the best watercolor paper out there.
What is the best watercolor pencil set for kids?
Ergosoft Aquarell Triangular Watercolor Pencils by Staedtler are our top pick for kids right now because they’re easy to handle and use due to their strong leads that are more difficult to break, perfect feel in the child’s hand,and bright colors.
Is it a good idea to substitute watercolor paints with watercolor pencils?
It depends on the purpose of your drawing. Ideally, the best variant would be to have a full watercolor painting kit with several sets of watercolor pencils. If you’re a professional commercial or fine artist, you will need both to take your watercolor drawing to a whole new level.