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We know how difficult it can get to pick the right art supplies for your canvas.
And the search gets increasingly complicated when it has to do with watercolor pencils and other forms of water-soluble coloring tools.
In the age of Acrylic and dry pencil watercolor, dissolvable art tools are more or less overlooked. They are hardly ever sought after as they are considered to be something which goes against the canon.
However, if you’re one such budding painter who wants to delve into or are intimately familiar with watercolor pencils and are searching for some of the best brands in the market, then we have just the right list for you today.
And we are confident that one among them will be exactly what you’re looking for. So, without further ado, let’s check out the best watercolor pencils.
Best Watercolor Pencils
- Best Watercolor Pencils
- Other Dissolvable Art Supplies
The Derwent Watercolor Pencil Set is just perfect for beginner painters and art students who are still quite new to the field. They are incredibly pocket-friendly and strike a good balance between performance and affordability. They come with a total of 24 different colors thereby offering a satisfying range of coloring possibilities.
- STURDY PRECISION – Easy to sharpen, break resistant...
- WATER SOLUBLE – Combine the control of a pencil with the...
Even though the Derwent is one of the cheaper sets in our list today, it by no means fails to impress when it comes to color variations and ease of use.
It will help new artists create intricate outlines which become permanent when dried and will not be affected even when water is applied to it later on. And along with the lower price tag this pencil set has grown to be quite a fan favorite in recent times.
The Derwent set also comes pretty handy as a special gift. You can either choose to get it in a stylish wooden gift box or a very beautiful pencil wrap.
However, we will not be recommending this pencil set for the more professional and veteran artists because in comparison to a lot of the other higher-end pencils these ones will feel a fair bit duller. They are not as vivid and are best suited for practice more than professional needs.
The Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencil Set is for the more serious painters out there. It has a fantastic selection of 120 water coloring pencils which are at the top of their class in terms of vibrancy and performance. And if price is not an issue for you, then this pencil set will indeed be the one of the best you can go for.
- Pigments dissolve completely when brushed with water
- Pencils set 120 albrecht durer watercolor pencils
We just love the Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Set. They are a very high-end, break resistant set of water colouring pencils who have the ability of instantly dissolving in water. This is what sets these pencils apart from the rest of the cheaper models out there.
They don’t leave any sort of a pigment behind, and the colors have an uncompromising depth to them and are able to impart a sort of a vibrancy that can make the painting feel alive.
But this watercolor pencil range from Faber Castell is much more expensive and possibly out of reach for a lot of average customers and beginner painters. So we will be recommending this set for those who take their artwork very seriously and don’t mind spending a bit of money on finding the best possible outcome for their art piece.
When it comes to utility and ease of use, not all watercolor pencil sets will be able to provide you with what the Cretacolor art supplies can. These pencils are very uniquely designed, and come in a woodless barreled body. So, essentially you can just call them watercolor sticks which are encapsulated within a ‘razor-thin lacquer.’
- Wrapped in a thin layer of lacquer
- Can paint both fine lines and big surfaces
As we had mentioned before the features that attracted us the most towards the Cretacolor set is their unique design and user functionality. Their thin lacquered body ensures that any of the highly pigmented color does not accidentally spill onto the fingertips of the artist.
However, the woodless barrel doesn’t necessarily mean that the pencils are flimsy in any way. They are advertised as break resistant, and is firm enough to be easily sharpened, and along with the full watercolor tip. You will have the option of using these pencils to create anything between broad strokes to very fine delicate lines and intricate patterns.
But unlike the faber castell sets, these best watercolor pencils (though they dissolve instantly) have a very softcore, which may not be ideal for all forms of artworks, especially making finer details. And for the price that you pay for this set, the Cretacolor only comes with 72 color variations which may be disappointing to a lot of customers.
When we speak of color variety in the best watercolor pencils what we mainly look towards is the various shades that the set comes with without ever really thinking about coding them into specific genres.
However, Caran d’Ache takes a different approach and segregates their colors into three categories of Introductory, Landscape, and Marine.
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Just like the Faber-Castell Albrecht, we will be recommending this watercolor pencils set for the more adept artists and for whom money is not a factor when it comes to choosing their paint.
When Caran d’Ache segregates the colors into different genres it tries to provide well-rounded colors to the Introductory category, varieties of yellow, green and brown for the Landscape while shades of blues and green go under the Marine.
So depending on what you’re trying to represent on a canvas, your preferences will ultimately dictate the pencils set that you’re looking for.
The quality and color depth of these pencils are remarkable as well. The shades are incredibly vibrant, and the water-soluble core completely dissolves leaving no clumps behind.
But, just like the Albrecht this pencils set is an expensive pick as well and may not be an affordable option for those who are looking for cheaper pencils.
Prismacolor has been setting the standard for being the best watercolor pencils for years now. So, it’s really not all that surprising that we have chosen to put one of their watercolor pencils set in our review today. The Prismacolor set is well balanced in terms of both color vibrancy and ease of use. So we will be recommending them for a large user base, and you can quickly get a hang of these pencils as well, even if you’re are somewhat new to the field.
- Pair with a brush and the water soluble cores help you...
- Pigments have excellent solubility for smooth laydown
The Prismacolor watercolor pencil set is all about versatility. It has a soft core but not too soft, and when compared to the Prismacolor color pencils the core is much firmer but is as equally soluble in water.
The softer side of the core allows the paint to instantly dissolve in water and provide a great color blend and allow you to put down a hefty coat as well. While the slight firmness is what grants the pencils much of their versatility.
It will help you stroke out fine lines and delicate and intricate patterns with ease, without having to worry about pigment spillage or runoff.
However, the Prismacolor set comes with very little color variations even though quality wise they are close to being break resistant. The largest box comes with 36 while other sizes include 12 and 24.
Other Dissolvable Art Supplies
As you may have been able to guess by the name itself, the Derwent Inktense Pencils produce ink and not watercolor paint. These pencils have a very rewarding learning curve, making them relatively easy to use, and allows them to perfectly fit the needs of professional illustrators, designers and students alike.
- VIBRANT SHADES – The round 4mm soft lead core is perfect...
- WATER SOLUBLE – Expand your creative possibilities. Water...
Just like the Derwent Watercolor set what we honestly love about the Inktense is how after application it dries up instantly and becomes permanent. Though it might have a very high water solubility rate and the core dissolves in water completely without leaving any clumps behind, it gets permanent after drying, and it won’t lift no matter what you do.
But unlike the Watercolor set, the Inktense color pencils are able to produce a wide variety of intense colors which are incredibly vibrant and not dull by any means.
With the special pigment of the pencils, you can either choose to create expressive sketches or add some water to it to produce an ink-like effect.
However, drying up too fast can have its own disadvantage. If you choose to work in small sections, then the pencils will fit you just fine, but we will not recommend them for drawing on larger areas and projects.
Surprisingly enough, ink-based water-soluble pencils can now be found in block and stick forms as well. But you might just be wondering as to what significance that can hold, why should you not go for a pencil, to begin with?
To start with let’s just say you don’t have to sharpen a block every single time you want to use it. Additionally, if you have a very large area to paint and you want to paint it quickly, then the side of the block provides a big surface which will allow you to do just that.
- VERSATILE & VIBRANT – The 8mm square block combines...
- WATER SOLUBLE – Expand your creative possibilities. When...
Just like the Derwent Inktense Pencils is best for smaller projects and pretty inconvenient when drawing on larger surfaces, the Inktense Blocks, on the other hand, is just the opposite.
Working on large canvases and illustration posters is where the Derwent sticks come extremely handy. They have more or less the same property as the pencils; the softcore is highly water soluble and provides a rich, vibrant color with a lot of contrasting depth and brightness to them.
Paint dries up instantly after application as well and becomes permanent. Even if you add water to them, the paint will not come off no matter what.
What separates the Graphitint Pencils from the more traditional watercolor pencils and bars is the slight darkness that they are able to provide to a painting. These pencils are not about brightness, but to create darker shades that impart a sort of earthiness to every stroke.
- Graphitint Pencils appeal to artists looking to add...
- Soft and smooth and can be blended to produce an endless...
In terms of water solubility and coloring property, all Derwent products consistently provide the same levels of performance. These graphite pencils are easy to use, dissolves almost instantaneously in water, dries up just as fast and becomes permanent.
As we have mentioned before, the most unique aspect of the Graphitint set is the color shades that it’s able to produce. These pencils combine a ‘subtle hint of color with the soft grey tones of graphite.’ The drawing effect this ultimately produces can be quite breathtaking in certain sort of paintings.
Artworks that try to represent the Gothic can benefit greatly from the rich, and smooth color lay that these pencils are able to produce. And when water is added to it, they can blend together to achieve an array of ‘deep, expressive hues.’
If you’re looking to paint with darker and more earthy shades, then the Derwent Graphitint Set will fit your needs perfectly. However, for a painting with a brighter theme, these pencils may not be the ideal choice. Quality wise though, these are almost break resistant.
These German engineered wax crayons can be the ideal gift for your little ones who are quite enthusiastic about getting into the world of best watercolor pencils and painting. These crayons are about half the length of a normal watercolor pencil, they are highly water soluble and is perhaps the easiest drawing tool that we have on our list today.
- Water soluble and easy to blend
- Intense pigmentation
What separates the Lyra shade of colors from the rest of the competition is the intense color brilliance and the high lightfastness that it’s able to provide.
The secret behind their brightness and contrast is the high amount of pigmentation that it comes with. However, even with the high doses of pigment these crayons dissolve very easily and creates a very bright blend which is perfect for light painting.
The set comes in a wide variety of color assortments, and they are also AP certified, which means that they are made from non-toxic materials and is going to be completely harmless to small artists.
But, these colors have a lot of pigment spillage and can run off on to the painter’s fingers. This might not be much of a problem for young children as they can turn it into a finger painting session, but for older users, this will be somewhat inconvenient.
Whereas the Lyra set is very easy to use, the Caran d’Ache Neocolor II crayons, on the other hand, are not. Their core is a bit harder in comparison, and they’re much longer and narrower and can be quite hard to grip for a lot of children who are still learning how to paint. So we will be recommending these crayons for older users who are a bit more adept with such art kits.
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The Caran d’Ache crayons are a bit more versatile than the Lyra as well. Where the Lyra went for more ease of use and bright, intense colors and thicker coating, the Caran d’Ache is suitable for a wide range of artistic techniques for use on a variety of surfaces.
These crayons are softer than colored pencils but much denser than the typical children’s wax crayons. They are highly responsive to wet brush and will allow you to combine both wet and dry techniques for the same art piece.
But we didn’t find this crayon set to have a particularly good water solubility. It will tend to leave behind a few clumps every now and then, and the color may not dry up instantly after use and is not permanent under certain circumstances.
You would probably be thinking now ‘Water-soluble Graphite? Really?’, Well, we wouldn’t have believed it either if we hadn’t tried it for ourselves. Yes! Technology has come to such a point that water-soluble versions of graphite pencils are now possible.
It might still sound too good to be true, but hear us out on it a bit.
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- USE WET OR DRY - This water-soluble graphite set is packed...
Having a graphite tinted watercolor pencil is one thing, but to have the base graphite itself dissolving in water is something completely different altogether.
On the surface these pencils work like any other ordinary stationary; you use them for dry sketches to do your outline and the finer details which go into the intricate patterns. But once you add a bit of wet brush to it, that’s when the wonders of these pencils start to click in.
The water turns the pencil lines into a kind of a transparent grey paint. This can come extremely handy when dealing with monochrome paintings and even for tonal studies.
However, we did notice some drying issues with these pencils. After applying the painting did take a considerable amount of time to dry up.
If you’re planning to draw on a very large canvas (possibly a poster illustration) and are working under a considerable time restraint, then the Derwent Artbars might just turn out to be your pick for the day.
They are much firmer than crayons and watercolor blocks and have a larger surface area than them as well.
- Creamy wax-based bars have a smooth consistency similar to...
- Triangular shape offers extra dimension to your marks
One aspect of the Derwent Artbars that we immediately noticed was how smoothly it went down on paper. Artbars are typically known to have a firmer core which produces a rougher blend that will not properly coat the paper on a single bar or brush stroke.
However, the Artbar colors go down quite effortlessly. If you add a bit of water to it, you will notice how intense the colors get, but one issue that we do have with the paint is the thickness. It takes a long time for it to get soaked up even by good color absorbent papers.
But this can add to your advantage. While you will have to scrub more with the brush for a line to dissolve completely, this will help you combine line and wash in a single art piece. However, that is only if you’re going towards that style.
So let us round off our list today with a bit of water soluble oil pastels. And which product could be better than the Cretacolor AquaSticks in that category?
Just like water-soluble graphite, dissolvable oil pastels are also not something which you get to see every day. Cretacolor makes some of the best water-soluble pastels there is, and their Aquasticks range of pastels are as versatile as they are easy to use.
- High lightfastness
- Highly pigmented colors
One of the best things about the Cretacolor AquaSticks is how it goes extremely well with any sort of a surface. Canvas, wood, glass, paper, you name it; these pastels will lay down very easily and with smooth, rich tones on any surface of choice.
The tips of these pastels are narrow enough for you to draw some fine lines and patterns with, while the broader side will provide you with enough surface area for larger canvas projects.
However, we found these pastels to melt very easily when left in the open. If you expose it too much without the wrapper, they will start to melt very fast.
The different types of dissolvable artwork tools that we have listed out for you today each have their own unique positives and negatives. So, it will ultimately depend on your preferences as to which one will fit your needs the best.
Hope you enjoyed our guide on the best watercolor pencils today.
Till next time!