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The Best Oil Based Colored Pencils for 2024

best oil based colored pencils

The best oil based colored pencils stand out for their durable and medium soft cores that allow artists to render smooth laydowns and solid hues. Since these coloring pencils are not prone to breakage, they can be used for long periods without having to sharpen them too frequently.

If you’re after these amazing merits to elevate your artwork and showcase a colorful artistry, this guide will make sure you find the best oil based coloring pencils to work with.

From the perfect oil pencils for art professionals to the ones suitable for beginners, this comprehensive guide unravels unbiased reviews, buying guide, and a roundup of the topnotch oil-based colored pencils that will cater to artists of all levels.

Best Oil Based Colored Pencils Reviews

1. SJ STAR-JOY Gold Oil Based Colored Pencils

sj star-joy gold oil based colored pencils

There are two main reasons why these Star Joy oil based color pencils are indeed a joy to work with: they provide premium quality pigments and come at a competitive price range.

Therefore, I recommend this coloring pencil set for hobbyists, beginner colorists, and advanced artists who are on the budget but want to produce satisfying results. As for me, I think the pigment quality makes these coloring pencils worthy of this top spot.

Although I can’t compare them to high-end brands such as Faber-Castell or Caran d’Ache, these colored pencils are great quality student-grade pencils. I did not have a hard time layering the colors to achieve my preferred saturation level.

As I swatched the pencils, each of them presented a beautifully pigmented hue that can produce smooth laydowns. They also blend really well, which artists can take advantage of when creating stunning gradients.

The durability of the cores is yet another feature to love. The 3.8mm leads are reasonably firm, making the pencils not likely to break but rather last for multiple uses.

Moreover, their sturdy cores promote controlled and easier applications. That also means less time sharpening, allowing you to focus more on coloring and preserve the integrity of the pencils as well.

I also want to highlight the stunning color selection that includes 120 hues, which are more than enough to expand your palette. Plus, they are all labeled with color names and numbers.

Meanwhile, the storage case is probably my least favorite. The shallow tray leaves no gaps between the pencils, which make it a bit difficult to hold and take each pencil out.

Pros
  • Presents a vast range of colors with premium quality pigments
  • Thick and durable leads that prevent breakage and minimize sharpening time
  • Easy to blend and layer
  • Have reasonably firm cores for controlled shading techniques
  • A vast array of vibrant colors
  • Labeled with color numbers and names for easy swatching
Cons
  • Storage case needs improvement

Despite that minor drawback, I consider this set the best oil based colored pencils for beginners and hobbyists who want to experience premium quality hues at an inexpensive cost. They also have sturdy and thick leads that allow beginner colorists to lay down colors with better control.

2. Castle Art Oil-based Coloring Pencils

castle art oil-based coloring pencils

Of all the oil-based colored pencils brands that I’ve tried, this 120-piece set from the Castle Art Supplies is the best for rendering detailed and precise strokes, especially in adult coloring books.

I find the manufacturer’s claims to be true with regard to its core durability. Since they don’t break too quickly, the lead can hold a point for long periods before having it sharpened again.

Thus, the sturdy pointed tips work great in shading complex areas and rendering detailed strokes for difficult patterns and shapes. Therefore, any artist who needs to work closely on details can have this set a great addition to their coloring pencil arsenal.

Besides the staggering color selection, I love how each color looks vibrant and feels smooth when laid down. I actually think that this set has the quality that comes close to Prismacolor oil-based colored pencils.

The blendability of the colors is relatively close to Prismacolor but at a much lesser price. I’ve swatched all the shades and surprisingly, the color families blend well with one another, creating nice and beautiful gradients.

But of course, the layering of colors is not as seamless as the Prismacolor and other professional quality coloring pencils. Needless to say, these oil-based colored pencils are one of the best ones out there whether they are used for hobby or commissioned artwork.

This set still has to improve, though, such as the presentation of colors. I noticed that there is a slight discrepancy with the other shades, especially on the greens.

Pros
  • Designed with durable leads that withstand breakage
  • Holds a point well that can be used on detailed strokes
  • Blendable and layerable
  • Ideal for beginners and professional colorists
  • Offers a wide selection of colors
Cons
  • There is a slight color discrepancy on the green shades

Overall, this coloring pencil set stands out for its core durability and pigmented color quality that can offer vibrant and detailed artwork. Both amateur colorists and advanced artists can take advantage of these benefits whether for hobby or professional work.

3. H & B Oil Based Soft Core Colored Pencils Kit

h & b oil based soft core colored pencils kit

The vibrant color assortment is the highlight of this H & B oil-based colored pencils. Then, the durability of the leads comes next.

With the marriage of these two amazing features, I believe these pencils can help novice artists practice precision, learn how to blend colors, and experiment with different shades.

Mind you, these are student-grade coloring pencils. That’s why I would not expect so much from their quality and performance if I were you. But as coloring tools for practicing color blending and shading techniques, this set would definitely suffice.

In fact, these pencils won’t break too quickly because of their sturdy leads. I can actually use them for long periods before I have to sharpen them again.

Besides that, these oil-based coloring pencils present vibrant color laydowns, providing true representation of their hues based on their displayed color names. In addition to that, I love the simplicity of the names, allowing you to easily visualize the shade of every pencil.

For example, the set includes Brilliant Yellow, Golden Yellow, and Lemon Yellow. If it were not for these straightforward color names, it would have been difficult to tell the differences apart from these yellow tones.

Moreover, the color assortment is a stunning spectrum of colors that can be blended and layered to achieve different depths and shades. In that way, you can explore myriads of colors and gradually expand your color palette.

Unfortunately, these coloring pencils seem to be prone to molds. I think the issue is related to the intact casing of the pencils, which may block sufficient airflow that minimizes moisture and mold buildup.

Although the zippered case protects the pencils, I recommend taking the pencils out from time to time or transferring them to a well-ventilated storage case to prevent growth of moisture and molds.

Pros
  • Vibrant color assortment to maximize your color palette
  • Durable pencil leads that prevents breakage
  • Student-grade colored pencils ideal for practicing blending and shading
  • Straightforward color names to easily differentiate colors
Cons
  • May be prone to molds when not properly stored

Despite this issue, this oil-based colored pencil set is a good way to start with colored pencil art. With its vast collection of vivid colors, novice artists and colorists can explore different colors, expand their palette, and practice their shading techniques.

4. Creyart Soft and Thick Oil Based Pencils

creyart soft and thick oil based pencils

This colored pencil set is a sophisticated collection right from its tin storage box. Everything is neatly organized by their color families, which is an absolute eye candy.

The color selection is not as extensive as the ones in this list, though, but I don’t think it’s restricting any artistic possibilities. In fact, the 48 vibrant shades are an essential color wheel to get to know the basic tones.

Therefore, I think this would be a great starter set for beginners to practice layering and shading using the primary colors. Much more so that the shades do not have duplicates, which is a common issue with large sets.

But of course, the color quality of these oil-based pencils stands out; they’re beautifully opaque, thanks to their pigmented cores.

Surprisingly, the cores are softer than the other oil-based pencils I’ve tried but not overly soft as the wax-based pencils. These ones render smooth color laydowns without leaving crumbs or residues. Plus, the matte finish lends an elegant touch to the shade.

Together with the rigid cores, the pre-sharpened tips can easily find their way to steep spaces or complex patterns in a coloring book.

They also don’t break too quickly, allowing you to work on your coloring projects for long periods. That means no need for frequent sharpening.

I also like the color names and number codes for easy identification.

There’s nothing really much to hate with this set but I would love a more durable storage case. I noticed that it gets dented easily.

Pros
  • A student-grade set of assorted and vibrant essential colors
  • Durable cores to keep the pencils working without breaking
  • Has pre-sharpened tips for detailed strokes and complex patterns
  • Reasonably soft cores that produce smooth and brilliant colors
  • Labeled with names and number codes for easy identification
Cons
  • Storage case is slightly flimsy

This is a beginner-friendly student-grade oil-based coloring pencil set that can be used for smooth and soft laydowns. They’re easy to use, especially if you want to showcase vibrant colors and detailed strokes without worrying about fragile leads.

5. Wanshui Art Drawing Colored Pencils Set

wanshui art drawing colored pencils set

This Wanshui coloring pencil set is all about a creative and diverse collection of colors. Beyond the usual primary and supplementary color families are a unique set of shades that can amplify your work.

I’m referring to the 12 metallic shades and 8 fluorescent shades that can add a different flair to your artwork. But between these sets, I personally love the metallic tones as they can enhance the shading techniques with stunning sheerness.

Like if I draw or color a bird or a dog, I can use the metallic shades to accentuate their details such as their feathers or fur. The glimmer in a metallic shade can create a beautiful light source and detail that highlights the subject.

Besides that, there are a plethora of colors to choose from, great for mixing and experimenting with colors. This is also a great way for beginners to play with different colors and practice their blending skills.

Quality wise, the leads are durable and do not easily break. I’ve also sharpened them and I’m glad that most of them can hold a point. Some didn’t, which is why manual sharpening is recommended.

The pigment quality is decent and good for blending colors. You can layer the colors pretty well even when you’re applying lightly. Plus, they lay down colors nicely without residues.

With a selection this massive, duplicates are a common issue. Unfortunately, Some shades do not match the displayed colors on the barrel.

Pros
  • A creative collection of vibrant colors, including metallic and fluorescent shades
  • The durable cores do not break easily
  • Can hold a point when sharpened manually
  • Can add sheer effects to your colors
  • Ideal for beginners to practice blending and shading
Cons
  • There is a color discrepancy with some shades

This oil-based colored pencil set has a decent coloring caliber that can get beginners, hobbyists, and artists alike into oil-based coloring art. Thanks to its vast selection of unique colors, blendable formula, and durable cores, young or student colorists can present creative effects and beautiful color combinations.

6. MARKART Oil Colored Pencils Drawing Set

markart oil colored pencils drawing set

I’ve tried a vast selection of professional quality colored pencil sets but these Markart pencils are the ones that beautifully lay down colors like Faber-Castell’s.

Considering its price, these colored pencils are surprisingly good because of their pigment quality and smooth color laydowns. Therefore, this would be a nice set to work with if you’re after artist-grade quality oil-based pencils on a budget.

I even thought they were smoother than Prismacolor oil-based pencils. Since the leads are not overly soft, I find it easy to produce vibrant solid colors, which is great for covering large areas.

The color selection is also impressive. Even within a fewer selection compared to the ones in this list, I think that the shades are more than enough to complete an artwork. It has very pigmented tones of blue, red, green, yellow, and brown.

Aside from that, the color payoff stays true to the displayed shades on the barrel. That makes it much easier to get the shades I’m looking for.

The dark and gray tones are my least favorite selection because they look a bit muddy. Needless to say, they complete the whole set and can be used to highlight dark tones and detailed strokes.

In terms of the lead quality, they are rigid and haven’t broken out on me yet. They can hold points well even when you apply added pressure while shading or drawing.

However, the slight downside falls under the blendability. They do not blend very well although they can be layered to create color depths. I also noticed that some colors are not lightfast, particularly the pink and red tones since they started to fade after a couple of months.

Pros
  • A great selection of very pigmented oil-based pencils
  • Can be an affordable alternative for artist-grade pencils
  • Rigid cores that prevent breakage; Can be used with added pressure
  • No color discrepancy issues
  • Ideal for beginners and advanced artists
Cons
  • Some colors are not lightfast
  • Not highly blendable

Nonetheless, I consider this set a great alternative for expensive professional quality oil-based coloring pencils, especially in terms of smooth laydowns and pigment level. Although they are not highly blendable, they do not disappoint with effortless layering.

7. Qianshan Red Oil Based Colored Pencils

qianshan red oil based colored pencils

This Qianshan is an excellent supplementary set of oil-based pencils when your artwork calls for amplified red tones. These pencils come in different red shades, ranging from the light Crystal Rose color to the deep Lipstick Red.

The best thing about this exclusive coloring set is that there are no duplicates, which is a common issue with massive color sets. This would also be a good set to start with if you’re into monochromatic artwork.

With this red color selection, I bet it’s much easier to differentiate the tones to achieve various color depths or combine shades for smooth gradients.

Since they are oil-based, the pencils have moderately soft, thick, and rigid cores that can work wonderfully with adult coloring books. Together with their pointed tips, they can be used to highlight precision and accentuate complex details.

Aside from that, their core durability prevents breakage. When I first opened it up, there was no damage or issue with the pencils, only beautifully arranged colors with pointed tips.

Pigment quality wise, the colors stay true to their represented shades on the barrel. They lay down stunning pigmented hues even with light applications. Blending is also not a problem, allowing you to elevate your artwork with seamless red blends.

However, if you need a lightfast red oil-based pencil set, this would not be it.

Pros
  • An exclusive coloring pencil set for red tones
  • Highly pigmented colors that lay down smoothly
  • Can hold pointed tips and not prone to breakage
  • No duplicates and color discrepancy
  • Great for monochromatic artwork and smooth red gradients
Cons
  • Not lightfast

Whether you’re an advanced or a beginner artist looking to expand your red palette with supplementary tones, this unique set won’t be a letdown. While the artists can enhance their creativity with different depths of red shades, they can also depend on durable cores that will last for long periods.

8. PRINA oft Core Oil Based Colored Pencils Set

prina oft core oil based colored pencils set

This Prina colored pencil set is by far the most versatile among all the oil-based pencils I’ve tried. Versatile in terms of color payoff when applied pressure varies as well as the intensity.

As expected, the leads are harder than wax-based but they are generous with pigment when you lay them down. But then, you can actually get more of its pigment with applied pressure; apply them lightly and you’ll get muted tones, whereas more pressure produces much brighter and more intense tones.

With such versatility, artists of all levels can take advantage of it, especially when filling in or shading areas with different color tones and effects.

As far as I know, this is not easy to accomplish with oil-based coloring pencils as some may break when used with added pressure. Luckily, these colored pencils are versatile enough to adapt to varying pressure to create custom colors.

This allows you to provide better coverage or render precise shading in adult coloring books. Since they blend and layer well, you can expect seamless gradients to showcase realistic tones and depths.

Of course, the selection of 120 colors is pretty impressive. Although it can be overwhelming to look at, beginners shouldn’t shy away with these colors since they are easy to use and blend.

Besides that, the leads do not break quickly even when sharpened. For that reason, I even allowed my kids to use them for their coloring books, so they can enjoy coloring without breakage.

Perhaps, the slight setback is the color discrepancy among the green colors.

Pros
  • A vast selection of pigmented colors
  • Versatile color effects that can be amplified with a light or heavy pressure
  • Blends and layers well
  • Durable leads
  • They do not break quickly when sharpened
Cons
  • There is a color discrepancy of green colors

Other than that, these versatile oil-based pencils are great for artists of all levels, especially if you want to explore different colors, effects, and depths. You can choose whether to apply lightly or heavily to produce your custom color palette.

What to Look for When Buying Oil Based Colored Pencils

oil-based colored pencils brands

Pigment Quality

The pigment quality can make or break your oil-based colored pencils. Thus, it is imperative to look for oil-based colored pencils that use high-quality pigments that should be vibrant, rich, and capable of delivering intense and consistent color.

Pay attention to the color swatches provided by the manufacturer or examine the pencil tips to ensure that the pigments are evenly distributed and not streaky or grainy.

Lead Softness

Although oil-based colored pencils are widely known for their rigid cores that are typically harder than wax-based pencils. However, oil-based coloring pencils should still have adequate lead softness to ensure smooth color laydowns.

Softer leads, indicated by lower numbers like 2B, are perfect for blending and shading. They smoothly transfer pigment, creating seamless color transitions and gradients. Conversely, harder leads like 4H excel at precise detailing and fine lines.

However, not all oil-based colored pencils indicate lead softness levels. In that case, customer reviews can help you with that. Consider your artistic style and preferences when selecting pencils with the desired lead softness.

Lightfastness

Lightfastness is crucial for long-lasting artwork. It refers to the pencil’s resistance to fading when exposed to light over time.

Go for oil-based colored pencils labeled as lightfast or with high lightfastness ratings, like ASTM I or II, to ensure vibrant and enduring artwork.

Although this is common for artist-grade sets, some student-grade oil-based colored pencil sets do not have lightfastness ratings.

However, this can be a crucial aspect to consider if you’re planning to display your artwork under exposure to sunlight or light. Otherwise, oil-based pencils that are not so lightfast may suffice.

Color Options

best oil based colored pencils for beginners

Color options in oil-based colored pencils vary among brands. Many come in a vast selection of colors, ranging from 12, 48, up to 120 or more. If you’re a beginner, you may start with fewer options and gradually increase your palette once you get a hang of your set.

Color options are crucial for blending and layering colors. You may consider getting more colors to practice your abilities. Some sets come in exclusive colors like skin tones, reds, blues, or neutral tones, which you may consider when opting for supplemental shades.

Therefore, it is best to determine your project requirements and desired colors. For enhanced versatility and the freedom to mix and match, choose brands offering a wide range of colors to boost your creativity.

Layering/Blending Capabilities

Top-quality oil-based colored pencils should advertise their ability to blend smoothly without leaving wax bloom or buildup on the paper.

Pencils with a higher wax content often facilitate seamless blending and layering, enabling you to achieve stunning visual effects and gradients in your artwork.

Comfort

Consider the pencil’s grip or ergonomic design to greatly enhance your drawing experience. Good oil-based colored pencils should feature a perfectly textured grip that ensures comfort, alleviates hand fatigue, and offers enhanced control.

Barrel Durability

Choose oil-based colored pencils with durable barrels crafted from premium materials like wood or robust plastic.
Strong barrels decrease the likelihood of breakage or snapping during use or sharpening, ensuring resilience against the demands of regular drawing sessions and travel.

Brand Reputation

When you’re all caught up with too many choices, going for the established brands is the safest and easiest route to take. This is usually a dilemma with beginners.

Reputable brands often have a track record of producing reliable and high-quality art supplies. Therefore, you can expect premium quality oil-based coloring pencils to get started with.

Research customer reviews, seek recommendations from other artists, or explore online forums to gauge the reputation and performance of different brands.

Cost

Although high-quality pencils may be pricier, they typically offer superior performance and durability. But of course, not all premium quality oil-based pencils should be expensive. Some of the best yet affordable ones are included in this product review.

Find a balance between desired features and affordability. Investing in higher-quality pencils can yield benefits such as improved pigment quality, blendability, and enhanced durability.

Conclusion

In this in-depth review of the best oil based colored pencils, not only did we learn the topnotch products to choose from but the significant buying factors and features to consider as well.

Remember that it’s not always about the stunning selection of colors but the overall quality that unravels excellent pigment, lightfastness, and blending or layering capabilities. Although some may fall short on these aspects, other brands have a lot more to offer that lets you create your best work yet.

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