Pastel Pencil vs Colored Pencil: Which is Better?

Dec 10, 2021 | 0 comments

If you are having thoughts about pastel pencil vs colored pencil, this article is made to show you both medium’s differences. So keep scrolling to read!

There are many tools for drawing and coloring different projects. Both hobbyists and professional artists choose between pencil and paint forms because every medium produces different results. With pencils, you can have finer details whereas, with watercolors, you won’t have as much.

If you are someone who’s used to drawing with graphite pencils and you’re interested in adding colors to your artworks, you might want to try using colored pencils or pastel pencils. Both of these have a wide range of color shades and are similar to your classic graphite pencil. Although both have their differences.

So, between pastel pencil vs colored pencil, how do they differ? And what are their pros and cons? Let’s find out… 

(Some links are affiliate links which means we earn a small commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.)

Pastel Pencil vs Colored Pencil: The Difference

Pastel pencils are made up of pure pigment and binder, and it creates a more vibrant color. They are not as messy as pastel sticks, they and can be blended and smudged so artists can produce a wide range of gradients, values, and blends.

Meanwhile, colored pencils either have wax-based or oil-based binders that hold their pigments together. They can be sharpened into fine points to create finer details which makes them ideal for making fine lines.

Pastel Pencil vs Colored Pencil Which is Better

Colored Pencils Pros And Cons


  • Has a wide array of colors available
  • Colored pencils have sturdy and durable cores that allow them to keep a sharp point to create sharp edges and fine details.
  • Gives you full control and precision of detail
  • Portable and easy to carry with you when you want to draw anywhere
  • Allows you to create soft looks by applying less pressure when drawing
  • Has both student-grade and professional-grade quality so that beginners and students have easy and affordable access to it
  • There are high-quality colored pencils for professional artists.


  • Because these are pencils with small points, it’s difficult to cover large areas using them.
  • Difficult to remove multiple layers once they’re laid down.
  • Can be difficult to lighten colors once you’ve applied heavy pressure
  • Can be difficult to use with other mediums due to their waxy or oily binders
  • Does not easily smudge or blend
  • Takes a long time to build up and create multiple layers of colors

Best Colored Pencil Sets

Here are the best brands for colored pencils. You can always check out our other articles about it but we’ll share some of our favorites here.

Read: 10 Of The Best Colored Pencils for Artists | The Best Pencils for Coloring Books for Adults

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

This is the leading brand when it comes to colored pencils. Prismacolor is ideal for both beginners and professionals, it is wax-based, has a wide selection of colors, blends smoothly, and has high-quality pigment. These pencils are rich and vibrant and are ideal for shading and layering colors.

Faber-Castell Polychromos Artists’ Color Pencils

These colored pencils are oil-based and are known for their rich and vibrant pigments and a wide array of colors. The pencil lead is strong and durable and it does not break off easily. Although this set is one of the most expensive ones in the market, they are worth the investment because of how high-quality these colored pencils are.

Caran D’ache Luminance Colored Pencils

Fans of the Prismacolor Premier will enjoy using this colored pencil set because of its blend-ability, lightfastness, and rich colors. This set has an expensive price tag but if you are looking to upgrade your current pencils, this is it. It is great for gradation, shading, and layering. It also has little to no wax bloom despite being wax-based.

Staedtler Ergosoft Colored Pencils

This brand is another crowd favorite and is the perfect set for beginners. It has 24 available colors, has a non-slip barrel for a comfortable grip, and is easily blendable.

Pastel Pencils Pros And Cons


  • The harder pastel pencils are easier to sharpen to a fine point
  • They are not as dusty as traditional pastel sticks
  • Blendable and Smudgeable
  • Available in a wide variety of colors
  • Can easily cover a large area
  • Quicker to work with compared to colored pencils
  • Pastel pencils can be used with other soft and pan pastels
  • Their wooden casings make them easier to hold and control


  • Pastel pencils fill in the paper tooth quickly making it difficult to add more layers.
  • The finished artwork needs to be protected by glass or glassine paper to avoid smudging it when touched.
  • Fixatives can make the colors look darker.
  • Has limited color range compared to colored pencils
  • The pastel pencil tips are easier to break.

Best Pastel Pencils

Caran d’Ache Pastel Pencils

These are handmade pastel pencils and they have over 84 rich colors available. They are a little expensive than other brands but they offer the highest quality making it worth the price.

Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencil Sets

These German brand pastel pencils are popular for their high-quality pigments and incredible lightfastness. The pencils have a semi-soft lead that can be sharpened into a fine point to work on finer details, edges, and lettering.

Faber-Castell Pit Pastel Pencils

With rich and smooth pastel pigments, this brand allows artists to create artwork with vibrant colors without using the pencils too quickly. These Faber Castell Pit Pastel Pencils are easy to blend and can be used with other pastel stick variants.

Derwent Pastel Pencils And Sets

The Derwent pastel pencils offer the highest degree of purity among all hard pastels, and their soft powdery texture gives a velvety, smooth coating that artists love.

Pastel Pencil vs Colored Pencil: Which art material is best?

This is actually a question with an answer that depends on a person’s preference. Each medium has its own pros and cons and can give you different results. If your subject is a fluffy animal, pastel pencils can be the better option to have a softer and delicate finish. If your subject is a dog with a short coat, colored pencils are great because they can make the individual hairs more defined rather than pastels. For portraits, both pencils can be great to use and you just have to know what you prefer to choose which one to use. Moreover, price-wise, pastel pencils are more expensive than colored pencils.

Final Thoughts

In this post about Pastel Pencil vs Colored Pencil, there are several things we’ve learned. Their pros and cons, their basic differences, and the best brands for each medium. In case you still have doubts about which one to choose for your project, just remember that making that decision will solely base on your preferences. Both mediums have a learning curve and you’ll have to practice a few techniques to get the hang of using them. Get the basic set of each medium and try them out to see which works best for your art style.

For more articles like this, visit our blog!

Related Posts
The Best Medium for Oil Painting: A Guide

The Best Medium for Oil Painting: A Guide

Looking for the best medium for oil painting? This is a good place to start. This article will be a mini-guide where you’ll get information all about oil paint mediums. Let’s get started!

The Best Spray Paints for Canvas (and other surfaces)

The Best Spray Paints for Canvas (and other surfaces)

Are you looking for the best spray paints for canvas and for your other project needs? It can get kind of overwhelming with all the available options online. The good thing is we have curated a list of the best of the best to make your purchasing journey easier. Let’s get it!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *