The Best Pastel Pencils for 2022

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Every year, new art products are released to the market with the promise of making your artwork look better. So, what are the best pastel pencils for 2022? Keep reading to find out!

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Whether you’re a mom who likes to doodle with her kids, an art student practicing for your next exam, or a professional artist looking for new supplies, this is the article for you! I’ll compare and contrast some of the most popular brands of pastel pencils and help you decide which ones are right for you. Happy crafting!

Best Pastel Pencils for 2022

Pastel pencils are among the most popular art mediums today, and they come in a wide variety of colors. However, many people don’t know which are the best pastel pencils for their needs. For the best overall experience, look for pencils that offer a creamy consistency and strong pigmentation. I have researched most pastel pencils out there, and the 8 options below are definitely the best pastel pencils available today.

**This page may contain affiliate links to products I have used or recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.**

1) Faber Castell Pitt Pastel Pencil

Best Pastel Pencils for Professionals

Faber Castell Pastel Pencils are renowned for their high pigment content and wax-free finish and are some of the best pastel pencils available. Designed to create fine details in pastels, these pencils are also a perfect complement to the Polychromos range of pastel crayons. Unlike wax-based pastel pencils, these pencils require minimal fixing after use. This means that your finished work retains the vibrancy of color. If you are considering investing in this set of pencils, you may want to consider these!

The Faber Castell Pastel Pencils feature a wax-free core, which makes them ideal for smudging and adding detail to your artwork. Because they contain inorganic color pigments, Pitt Pastel Pencils offer excellent lightfastness and color stability after fixing. The rich range of pastel colors makes Pitt pastels an excellent choice and the best pastel pencils for portraits, landscapes, still life, and sketches.

Unlike conventional pastels, PITT Pastel Pencils are oil-free and nontoxic. As a result, they are much easier to blend and are ideal for delicate color transitions. They are also more expensive than the traditional brands, but they are worth the investment.

Pitt Pastel Pencils are the best choice for artists who prefer a more professional finish. These pencils come in a variety of shades and are perfect for shading and lines. You can choose between soft and hard or light pastels, and they also work well for extended areas. They have a flat color and can be held at an angle for different effects. By applying pressure to the lead, you can achieve a range of intensity in your work.


  • Artist Grade Pigments
  • Rich range of colors
  • Great for delicate transitions


  • Pricey

2) Cretacolor Pastel Pencils

Cretacolor Pastel Pencils are a great choice for fine detail work. These are ideal for painting in a small space and the best pastel pencils for working on miniatures. The pastels are packaged in a protective cedar case, which can be useful when you’re traveling. The tins are designed to withstand rough handling and are designed to be durable.

This means that they’ll last for years, and you’ll be able to store them safely. The Cretacolor pastel pencil is an excellent brand.

I like the Cretacolor palette since it is both beautiful and very useful for the odd “difficult” painting. The pencils themselves are a little more brittle than the Faber Castell, so you do want to be careful with them.

Also, the wood can be a little harder to sharpen which leads to more breaking. However, the color of them is lovely and they can hold a sharp point which is perfect for any type of detail.


  • Great for fine detail work like miniatures
  • Durable tin
  • Holds to a point


  • Difficult to sharpen

3) Caran d’Ache Pastel Pencils

The ultra-fine pigments in Caran d’Ache Pastel Pencils make them the best professional pastel pencils and an ideal drawing tool for artists and amateurs alike. They provide outstanding lightfastness, creamy coverage, and rich, vibrant colors. The pencils are packaged in a sturdy foam-lined case for added protection. Large leads are easy to sharpen, and they feature a fine point.

Each lead measures approximately three-fourths of an inch.

The formula is a combination of wax, talc, and pigments that are very soft and easy to blend.

These are some of the finest and most luxurious color pencils available. They come in 84 colors and are made with ultra-fine pigments. Their powdery texture and velvety feel make them easy to apply to paper.

The pastels are packaged in sturdy cardboard boxes. They come in several sizes and in various colors, depending on your preference. The colors of Caran dAche Pastel Pencils are rich and vivid. They are ideal for creating realistic portraits, and you can use them to draw landscapes, portraits, and other scenes.

The Caran d’Ache brand is one of a kind in that the firm bases its products on opinions from professional artists. This enables them to make one of the most high-quality pastel pencils on the market and one of the finest pigments accessible.

The color and hardness of these wax-based, 120 piece set, is hard and powdery, making them ideal for layering. The colors are bright and full of life, and all pencils in the Pablo line are permanent.


  • The lightfastness rating is shown for each pencil.
  • It’s simple to sharpen and keep a point.
  • Vibrant colors can be muted with a blending stump.


  • It doesn’t include any neutral tones or skin tones

4) STABILO CarbOthello Pastel Pencils

The STABILO CarbOthello pastel pencils come in 60 beautiful shades and is incredibly easy to work with. The color range is rich and vibrant and can be blended or smudged to give a variety of effects. These pastels are partially aquarellable and have excellent lightfastness. Finished artwork can be fixed with a fixative to ensure that the color stays true and the art will last.

The Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils are high-pigmented chalk-based pastel color pencils. They are simple to blend because of their smooth, creamy texture.

You may use the white pastel pencil to accent on a dark background. The STABILO CarbOthello Pastel Pencil is lightfast and may be blended and manipulated with a brush or water.

You know you’re getting high-quality pastel pencils when they come in a beautiful and practical wooden box. This box has layers, so you can view the entire set without having to remove several trays of pencils.

If you are a beginner, you can consider a pastel pencil set as an investment. This is especially true considering the fact that you will get a set of 60 colors.

There are a lot of colors to pick from, so you shouldn’t have to buy any more. My pastel pencil set has been with me for just under a year, and I haven’t even used half of the colors yet!

The pencils are some of the finest that I’ve tried. The cores are made of real pastel which means you can easily use these pencils alongside stick pastels to create gorgeous pastel pencil art. You can use the sticks to create the base and the pencils for rendering the finer details.

Pastel pencils are difficult to sharpen because their leads are so brittle.

This set contains a unique sharpener that safely sharpens the pencils without harming the wood casing or leads. You should, however, be cautious while sharpening and keep your pencil and sharpener in a stable position.

5) KOH-I-NOOR Artist’s Soft Pastel Pencils

Best Soft Pastel Pencils

If you are looking for a new pencil, consider trying the KOH-I-NOOR Artists’ Soft Pastel Pencils. These pencils have been a staple of the art world for many years and are known for their high quality. These versatile tools can be sharpened to a precise point and are perfect for dry media sketching. You can also layer, smudge, and blend them to create a unique blend of shading and color tones.

The company is one of the most respected manufacturers of soft pastel pencils and has been making them since 1790. They produce a variety of different colors and are available in sets of 12 to 48. Gioconda soft pastel pencils are particularly smooth and work well on both light and dark mediums.

These soft pastels are made from a special California cedar wood casing, so they won’t slip and smear when wet. Each set has a metal tin, which is a great accessory for your art supplies.

Koh-I-NOOR Artists’ Soft Pastel Pencils are a good choice for sketchers and painters who love to work in detail. These pastels are perfect for fine-tuned details and are incredibly lightweight. The high pigment content of these pastels makes them the perfect companion for a variety of techniques. They’re also suitable for contouring and coloring.


  • Artist Grade Pigments
  • Good for fine-tuned details
  • Good for contouring and coloring


  • Only 48 colors

6) Derwent Pastel Pencils

Even though these pencils have excellent 4.5mm thick cores, they still give the illusion that you’re using a stick pastel. Even though the lines are thicker than colored pencils, they are still thinner than a stick pastel. This is why I prefer to draw details and outlines with them. Since the core is made of pastels, it’s also simple to use with stick pastels.

If you’re like me and value organization, you’ll appreciate how each pencil is color-coded and labeled. The colors are identified by their names and numerical codes. This makes selecting the proper colors easier.

A neatly arranged row of colored pencils is always lovely for organizational reasons.

The problem that most people have with these pencils is that they are difficult to sharpen if the point gets broken, which often happens according to more than one Derwent pastel pencils review.

These pencils require a special sharpener, and they don’t sharpen with a regular one. You must carefully remove the wooden casing using a utility or craft knife. Even so, there is no assurance that the leads will not shatter when you use this technique.


  • Thick cores
  • Color-coded and organized
  • Creamy Texture


  • Leads are brittle and sharpening is difficult

7) General’s Pastel Pencils

Best Pastel Pencils for Beginners

Compared to colored pencils, pastels are far easier to work with. These soft, buttery colors are great for layering and blending and respond well to water, and are among the best pastel pencils available.

They come in an individual pack of up to 48 and are sold in art stores and online. The set comes with complete step-by-step instructions, a line drawing, and a value map for the pastels. You can also use them with other kinds of pencils.

For several years, General’s has been recognized as one of the greatest charcoal pencil producers. Their pastel pencil sets are designed with beginning users and amateur artists in mind, and they’re very affordable.

What I appreciate about the General’s set is that these pencils are durable, to say the least. You may sharpen them to a point without worrying about the lead crumbling during rigorous usage and constant sketching exercises.

They will also help you to create huge artworks that do not need much detail without any trouble on the roughest of paper surfaces.

General’s Pastel pencils are best suited for beginners than professionals. Because their lead width is somewhat thick, control may be an issue, and producing smaller and more precise artwork might be difficult.

On the other hand, these pencils are ideal for bigger projects where detail isn’t really necessary. It’s not difficult to utilize these pencils, and they won’t take long to get used to.

These wood-cased, mechanical pencils are highly recommended; the lead is extremely soft and smooth, and you can use them to draw on a variety of surfaces. You won’t be able to purchase these pencils separately, so if you run out of a certain color, you’ll have to buy a whole set.


  • Good price
  • Ideal for bigger projects
  • Soft an smooth


  • Can only buy colors in a set

8) Conté à Paris Pastel Pencils

The Conte Paris Pastel Pencils are the perfect medium for developing your creative skills. The soft leads allow for a greater degree of detail and fine lines and are made from artist-grade pigments. This means that you can create bright, clean colors with these pastels. The creamy texture also allows for an exceptional flow of application.

The Conté à Paris pencils are amazing for producing reliable, clean lines on larger artworks as one of the best alternatives for a complementary medium for soft pastel works. They have the characteristics of soft pastels and have a buttery texture and consistency that blends well with all the other media.

This pastel pencil set’s led diameter is what makes it so distinctive. The lead width of the Conté à Paris differs from the other pastel pencil sets on my list in that it isn’t at all narrow.

They’ve gone in the opposite direction and used a lead diameter of 5.0mm, which is quite large. As a result, what these pencils will allow you to do is to create consistently clean outlines for any soft pastel work without having to worry about the stick crumbling.

These pencils also blend beautifully with the delicate pastel hues, owing to their thick texture and buttery consistency.

The pencil colors are also available separately, so you won’t be able to purchase another complete set. Their collection, however, is limited to 48 distinct hues, which may seem quite restricting for some vibrant works. And doing intricate artwork with a 5.0mm lead diameter will certainly be difficult.


  • Artist Grade Pigments
  • Creamy Texture
  • Large lead


  • Only 48 colors
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How to Choose the Best Pastel Pencils?

Pastel pencils are a fabulous addition to any artist’s toolkit, but there are a few things you should consider before going ahead and purchasing a set.


You should also think about how much the pencils are before making your decision. Some brands may cost hundreds of dollars per set, so be sure to consider this when deciding which ones to purchase. Start with the less expensive options and work your way up if necessary.

If you’re just getting started using these types of pencils, consider investing in higher-end brands once you have spent some time experimenting with the medium.

Lead Durability

Pastel pencils with extremely fragile leads have shattered into numerous fragments after falling from a desk. You should invest in a pastel pencil set with leads that are hard enough to sharpen readily.

Color Vibrancy

The best pastel pencils you should use are those with strong hues. Some brands have colors that are so faint that you’ll need to layer them several times in order to see them. Choose pencils with highly-pigmented cores and ones that can lay a readily apparent layer.

Number of Colors

This is entirely dependent on the types of drawings you enjoy creating. If you like drawing portraits, invest in a set of pencils that are mostly based on earth tones and skin tones. If you’d rather draw colorful landscapes, get a set with a lot of vibrant hues.

Lead Consistency

The leads of the best pastel pencils should ideally be the same as those of stick pastels. These pencils are often used to add little elements in stick pastel works. Also, leads that have a similar density will be able to write over them. As a result, blending and smudging colors will be much simpler with softer leads.

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Other important factors to consider when choosing the best pastel pencils…

• The texture of pencil leads.

• The color range available in different brands.

• Whether there are additional colors in the set, such as skin tones or neutrals.

• How likely the pencils are to break upon sharpening or dropping them.

• The contrast of colors between each set in one brand.

• Whether there are light and dark tones among the choices if you wish to create shading effects.

pastel pencils

What paper is best for pastel pencils?

If you are adding chalk pastels, pastel pencils, or charcoal pencils to your art materials, then it’s important to choose the right mixed media paper, or pastel paper to create a soft pastel piece.

Best Paper for Pastel Pencils

The paper you use will also influence how your pastels look. If the texture of the sheet beneath the soft hues is too coarse, it could interfere with their smooth application.

For smooth blending, use soft pastel pencils on very smooth paper or cardstock. You can also use relatively rough papers if you work slowly and don’t press down too hard with the tip of your pencil.

[Looking for the best mixed-media sketchbook?]

Frequently asked questions about the Best Pastel Pencils

Are Pastel Pencils better than pastel sticks?

High-quality pastel pencils offer better control compared to traditional soft pastel or oil pastels. However, pastel sticks help artists work over larger areas, like layering backgrounds.

Pastel color pencils are easy to control. Contrary to soft pastels and oil pastels, pastel pencils are easier to handle compared to traditional pencils. They are essentially composed of a medium-soft pastel core surrounded by wood. The structure helps the artist hold the pencil easily and use it effectively. Pastel pencils have aesthetic palettes of soft, subtle colors with bright, vivid tones.

What are pencil pastels?

Pastel pencils are made of a pastel core within a wooden casing. Because they can easily sharpen and create intricate details in drawings, they’re a favorite among artists. Colors are kept the same way in soft pastel paintings that use many layers of color.

They are essentially composed of a medium-soft pastel core surrounded by wood. The structure helps the artist hold the pencil easily and use it effectively. Pastel pencils have aesthetic palettes of soft, subtle colors with bright, vivid tones.

Which is the best pastel pencil?

Any one of the 8 pastel pencils set I have listed above are great choices. If you’re looking for a set with beautiful colors, check out Faber Castell Pitt Pastel Pencil.

Are pastel pencils worth it?

Pastel pencils have an expensive price tag, but they’re well worth it because their pastel core is soft and easy to use, allowing the artist to work on fine details.

Pastel pencils have an expensive price tag, but they’re well worth it because of their high-quality pastel core. The lead is soft and feels like a crayon, allowing the artist to work on fine details. . Beginner sets can be purchased for around $30 while the sets for the more expensive professional colors may be around $100.

How do you use pastel pencils?

The best way to hold a pastel pencil is like a real pencil – between your thumb and index finger. Start off your artwork by building up the background using broad strokes of color. The fine details can then be added later. Use a blending stick or tortillon to smudge the color together, creating a unified look. Finish off your work by using a fixative spray.

They’re a favorite among artists because they can easily sharpen and create intricate details in drawings. They are perfect for layering colors in pastel paintings that use many layers of colors.

Beginners should choose softer leads while pros may prefer harder ones to add additional texture.

Check out this great article on sharpening Pastel Pencils by Artist Colin Bradley.

Which brand of pastel pencils is best?

If you’re looking for a good-quality pastel pencil, you’ll have to make sure you find the right brand. There are many different brands of pastel pencils, and you should be able to find the right ones for your needs. In addition to the quality of your chosen pencil, you should also consider the price. Ensure you’re not paying too much for a good pencil, especially if you’re inexperienced.

I recommend the Faber Castell Pitt Pastel Pencils.

Which pastel pencils are the softest?

The softest pastel pencils on the market are KOH-I-NOOR Artist’s Soft Pastel Pencils. These pastel pencils easily produce broad strokes of color, while also allowing for fine detailing.

Are Derwent pastel pencils any good?

Derwent pastel pencils are of professional quality and a great choice for artists looking to create detailed drawings. They’re the ideal color pencils to use when recreating a scene from life or creating a portrait.

How do you use soft pastel pencils?

One of the most important things to know about soft pastel pencils is that they’re easier to control compared to regular pastels. The best way to hold a soft pastel pencil is like a real pencil – between your thumb and index finger.

Start off your artwork by building up the background using broad strokes of color. The fine details can then be added later. Use a blending stick or tortillon to smudge the color together, creating a unified look. Finish off your work by using a fixative spray.

Are PITT pastel pencils hard or soft?

Faber Castel Pitt Pastel Pencils are high quality with a hard pastel core – making them easy to control for fine detailing.

What is the difference between pastel pencils and colored pencils?

Colored pencils are made of wax or an oil binder together with pigment. A standard colored pencil tends to have a more solid core and is easier to sharpen to a point. Standard colored pencils often leave a waxy residue and are easy to layer.

Pastel pencils, on the other hand, are composed of pure pigment with a binder. As a result, they have a range of vibrant hues. Their chalk-like composition makes it easy to blend colors using a tortillon (or your fingertip).

The pastel pencil core is more brittle than standard colored pencils and so if you drop them they will shatter far more easily. Pastel pencils are much harder than colored pencils.

When drawing with soft pastel pencils, you will use less pressure to create the same line as you would using a regular colored pencil.

What are pastel pencils used for?

Pastel pencils are used for a range of art styles and subject matter, including detailed landscape artwork, drawings of people, detailed portraits or backgrounds.

Are there different types of pastel pencils?

Pastels can be found in a wide array of forms: hard, oil, pastel, and wax. They each possess unique characteristics.

Which pencil is used for soft pastels?

The soft pastel pencil is available in two different brands: Koh I Noor Gioconda and Stabilo Carbothella.

Are Derwent pastel pencils good?

Yes, Derwent is an excellent pencil for both professionals and beginners.

Are pastel pencils good for beginners?

Yes, the Koh I Noor Gioconda Soft Pastel Pencils are suitable for beginners as they allow you to easily achieve fine lines and dark pigmentation.

How do you start pastel pencils?

Start by building up the background using broad strokes of color. The fine details can then be added later. Use a blending stump or tortillon to smudge the colors together, creating a unified look.

Lift off unwanted pastel using a kneaded eraser. When your drawing is complete you can use a fixative spray to hold the pigment to the paper.

What are the best pastels for a beginner?

Koh I Noor Gioconda Soft Pastel Pencils are the best pastels for beginners as they allow you to easily achieve fine lines and dark pigmentation.

What is the best white pastel pencil?

The best white pastel pencil is from the Faber Castell Pitt pastel pencil range.

Are pastel pencils chalk?

Soft pastels are not the same as chalks. They rarely contain chalk and are composed of pigment and a binder.

Can colored pencils be used with soft pastels?

Yes, you can. Start off by using the colored pencils as a base and work on top of this with pastels.

[Looking for the best colored pencils for artists?]

Are colored pencils pastels?

No. Colored pencils are made of wax or an oil binder together with pigment. Pastels consist of pure pigment with a binder.

Pastel Pencils vs. Soft/Hard Pastel Sticks

Pastel pencils are an excellent alternative to larger pastel sticks such as soft pastel or hard pastel. Pastel pencils are easier to control and allow for finer detail. Soft or hard pastel sticks are great for covering large areas of the paper and for blending. I recommend having a selection of both in your art supply kit and using them together.

best pastel pencils artwork


Pastel pencils are a great way to add some color to your drawings, and my selection of the eight best pastel pencils for 2022 provide a range of options for artists of all levels.

Whether you’re looking for high-quality brands or budget-friendly options, I’ve got you covered. So what are you waiting for? Let’s make some art 🙂

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