Best Pastel Pencils to Buy in 2020

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Pastel pencils make the best choice if you’re looking to create beautiful artwork. The pencils have the consistency that is in between a soft and a hard pastel to let you create amazingly detailed and controlled art work.

Pastel pencils are comprised of a thin pastel stick in a wooden casing, much like conventional pencils. You can opt to use these pencils on their own or may choose to combine them with other types of pastels.

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Like any other pastel, you can blend pastel pencils and use them wet or dry to achieve just about any effects. Sharpening these pencils lets you create sharp, precise details while using them blunt lets you create soft hazy lines.

Quality varies between various manufacturers, and it’s advisable to experiment with individual sets until you get one that hits the sweet spot. Here’s a detailed review of some of the best pastel pencils on the market.

Best Pastel Pencil Reviews

Stabilo Carbothello Pastel Pencils

This range of pencils makes the perfect fit for any artist looking to get amazing results without breaking the bank. These rich and highly pigmented colored pencils measure up to and often exceed, the pricier varieties such as Faber Castell and Derwent.

For starters, this set is comprised of 60 unique colors to let you take on just about any coloring projects that come your way. From still life to portraits to landscapes, you can draw them all while giving them a realistic look and appeal. This set adds 60 different colors to your coloring arsenal, including some hues that might be tricky to achieve by blending two colors.

Stabilo CarbOthello pencils boast a unique chalky texture, which makes them an absolute delight to work with. The delicate balancing of the chalky texture reduces the amount of powdery residue on each stroke. That reduces the chances of creating a mess as you work on your masterpieces.

These pencils have an excellent color output to let your artwork achieve varying degrees of vibrancy thanks to a high pigmentation. As with many pastels, these pencils blend brilliantly to let you create unique color shades. Given the considerable color selection in this set, you may not have to blend as much. Stabilo pencils produce excellent results in both dry and wet applications.

This set carries a vast range of vibrant gray and warm colors as well as the browns whites, and blacks. Stabilo pencils produce full colors that can help you create artwork that pops off the pages. For exceptional color fades, you can use a dry pencil to lay down the color and then spread them to suit your needs. The chalky nature of these pencil lets you spread the colors with minimal effort.

To kick things up, you can use Stabilo pencils with water. The wet application lets these pencils keep most of their color, reducing the number of layers necessary to achieve an effect. Wet application is especially useful when coloring large areas with a single color and tone.

Each set of Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils ships in an attractive casing to let you keep your workspace well organized. You also have the option of buying a wooden case with two levels for better organization. Each pencil is externally colored to match its pastel color for quick and easy identification. That’s a useful feature since the pencils only have a color code in gold lettering instead of a color name. All in all, Stabilo pencils boast a classy, stylish look that makes them an absolute joy to own and use.


  • Classy, stylish design
  • Huge selection of vibrant colors
  • Ideal for wet and dry application
  • Blend rather well
  • A unique chalky texture
  • Color-matched stock and core


  • Uses a color code instead of a color name

Derwent Pastel Pencils

If you’re looking for a set of colored pencils that covers nearly the entire color spectrum, you can’t go wrong with Derwent pastel pencils. These pencils are available in packs of 12, 24, 36, and 72, and present you with just about any color you’d wish to have.

Each pencil includes a colored lead measuring 4.5 mm, which is the perfect size for your drawing needs. The core is small enough to draw intricate details without sacrificing control and large enough for shading larger areas. The lead size also lets you color small, delicate areas without frustrating your efforts or marring the results.

Each pencil set ships in a Derwent tin case that’s typical of the brand to protect the pencils and for easy organization. Each tin contains a thin, plastic material that’s molded to hold the pencils and keep them from banging on the sides.

The pencil barrels are red, but the anterior end is colored to match the color of the core. That lets you identify the color quickly and avoid breaking your flow while you work. Unlike Stabilo pastel pencils, Derwent pencils have the color name emblazoned on them. Original pencils have the Derwent Pastel, color name, and code stamped on them in silver to help you tell them apart from imitations.

Derwent pastel pencils boast a rare color vibrancy that sets them apart from traditional oil and wax pencils. Thanks to a unique pastel/oil hybrid core, the pencils let you achieve brilliant results with any coloring project you undertake. The hybrid pastel core also delivers a lot of good color without applying too much pressure on the paper, which is excellent for your hands.

Derwent pastel pencils blend very well to let you create an impressive range of hints and tints to achieve just about any artistic effect you want. Additionally, these pencils work well with water and an impressive array of solvents. A little experimenting will let you produce a delightful variety of textures, feels, and tones.

Thanks to the hybrid core, the results you achieve vary according to the kind of paper you’re using. Smooth drawing papers enhance the chalk-like qualities of the pencils to give you a smooth, buttery finish. Conversely, paper with a coarse surface enhances the oil tendencies of the pencils when drawing complex items such as sand or tree barks.

While the hybrid core allows for a dynamic application of the pencils, it comes with one drawback. The center of the Derwent pastel pencil is highly fragile. The center is prone to breaking and chipping even with minimal pressure application. Sharpening them can be a bit of tricky endeavor as they break quite easily.

To get around this gripe, avoid using a standard sharpener when you need to sharpen them. Instead, you’ll get better results using a sharp instrument such as a razor blade and sandpaper to smooth the rough edges that result.


  • Excellent range of vibrant colors
  • A chalk/oil hybrid core
  • 5-millimeter core
  • Stamped color name and color code
  • Requires minimal pressure application
  • Works with water and other solvents


  • The core is extremely fragile

General’s Pastel Pencils

At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss these colored pencils until you realize the name General refers to the brand, not the range of application. General is one of the leading brands in charcoal pencil manufacturing in the USA. The company has a rich history of producing pastel pencils for amateur artists and beginners. As such, you can expect a quality product with easy to use features at an affordable price.

These pencils are incredibly sturdy, which makes them easy to sharpen and to use. A sturdy core makes them a perfect choice for kids and student artists who tend to apply a considerable amount of pressure as they color. These pastel pencils won’t crumble under pressure which is common with beginner artists. The durable core is suitable for use on rough drawing surfaces such as a blackboard.

Art students will particularly love these pencils because they have a long-life span despite the constant use in sketching exercises. They will let you perfect your drawing techniques without breaking the bank. Better yet, they will let you practice on just about any drawing surface, from paper to blackboards.

General’s pastel pencils carry a lead that’s on the thicker side which also makes them more suitable for beginners rather than seasoned professionals. A large core is best suited for producing large scale artwork without many fine details. Such leads are much more difficult to control as you draw and color, making producing small detailed work a lot more challenging.

General’s pastel pencils are oil and acid-free, making them quite kid-friendly. You can be sure that you’re not endangering the health of your little ones when you let them explore their artistic creativity with this range of pencils.

The rich pigment formulation lets these pencils produce an array of vivid and vibrant colors. You can be sure of getting excellent results in just about any coloring project you undertake. These pencils make a superb choice for outlining, lettering, shading, chalking, or just about any coloring needs.

These pencils let you take on just about any painting surface at your disposal. Run a restaurant? These pencils come in handy when you need to announce the daily specials. The vivid colors will make your board stand out and grab the attention of your clientele.

If you’re into quilt making, these pencils will let you draw an accurate outline of any pattern that you wish to sew. The pencils will mark the fabric without damaging it, and the color will wash off without staining the material.


  • Vivid, vibrant colors
  • Thick, durable core
  • Beginner and kid-friendly
  • Acid and oil-free
  • Usable on a broad range of surfaces
  • Made in the USA


  • Not suitable for professionals

Royal & Langnickel Premier Box Set-Pastel Pencil

This premium box set from Royal & Langnickel makes an excellent gift for anyone who is artistically inclined. The box not only carries an impressive range of artistic supplies, but it’s also a piece of art itself.

The magnificent wooden case is a piece of beauty that is functional as well. It will keep the art supplies safe and secure to ensure that you enjoy painting for a long time. The case boasts a hinged lid that lies flat while open and is lockable with a metallic hasp. A nesting tray keeps the art supplies neat and organized while you work.

Each box contains both soft and pencils pastels, with the soft pastels making up the bulk. You also get a sharpener, two blending stumps, three charcoal pencils, two graphite pencils, and four pieces of vine charcoal, as well as a sandpaper block and kneadable erasers.

The collection of 36 soft pastels let you tackle just about any coloring project you might have. The smooth consistency on these square blocks allows you to blend colors easily while allowing you to make a clean color application. The generous color collection makes the set perfect for the beginner artist.

The box set carries the primary color palette, making it a must-have for any beginner artist or art student. By covering all the colors, the box set lets you explore color theory as you perfect your drawing techniques. You also get to experiment with different blending techniques as you go along, thanks to the blending stumps.

The vine charcoal lets you create wispy sketches and smoky drawings as you experiment with different drawing techniques. You also get to add a rich velvety texture to your life drawings. You get to use the graphite pencils to perfect your drawing techniques before you get to the coloring bit.


  • A vast selection of soft pastels
  • Stylish wooden box
  • A wholesome collection of drawing supplies
  • Kneadable eraser and sharpener


  • Few pastel pencils

Faber-Castel FC112136 Pitt Pastel Pencils

Faber Castell is arguably one of the most recognizable names in the colored pencils market. The company is renowned for its superior quality pencils to suit just about any drawing needs and levels. Faber Castel Pitt Pencil collections come in sets of 12, 24, 36, and 60, with 60 being the largest.

Each set ships in a Faber Castel branded tin to let you keep the precious pencils safe, secure, and well organized as you work. The barrel of each pencil is crafted from superior quality cedar wood and reveals more of the beautiful wood every time you sharpen the pencil.

These pencils feature a generous 4.3 mm core to allow pastel artists take on projects that require intricate detailing. With a total barrel diameter of 8.2 mm, this pencil feels good in your hand as you go about crafting a stunning work of art in incredible detail.

The pencils boast a rich pigment, which makes for vibrant coloring on different painting mediums. The 4.3 mm core makes for excellent layering and coverage, even when creating detailed work. The colors blend and mix quickly and produce a limited amount of pastel dust. That means you don’t have to worry about breathing in the dust or creating a mess whenever using the Faber Castel Pitt Pastels. The intense pigmentation allows you to use a light touch when painting without compromising color quality.

Genuine Faber Castel pencils have the brand name, country of origin, and color code stamped on them in black to let you tell them apart from imitation. Although the pencils don’t bear the pigment’s name on the surface, you can use the color code to look it up. However, the color of each pigment is indicated on the opposite end to help you pick them out quickly as you work.


  • Broad pastel core
  • Ships in a branded tin box
  • Excellent for detailed artwork
  • Vibrant color quality
  • Color-coded
  • Blends and mixes easily


  • Might be pricey for some

Final Verdict

Thanks to their superior pigment quality, affordable price tag, stylish design, and wet and dry application, Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils emerge as the best in the bunch. They are perfect for handling both detailed and large scale artwork with lots of coloring.

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