Top 4 Best Oil-Based Colored Pencils in 2024

best oil-based colored pencils - drawing of a car mclaren sabre in orange next to a box of derwent lightfast colored pencils

In the world of colored pencils, oil-based cores have carved out a unique niche for themselves.

Known for their smooth application, vibrant colors, and ease of drawing tiny details, oil-based pencils have become a favorite among artists and hobbyists alike.

In this article, I'll be sharing my top 4 picks for the best oil-based colored pencils on the market. So read on to discover the perfect set to elevate your drawings.

Discover all types of colored pencils in this article, listing every type and the differences.

Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post
contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a
small commission for me (at no extra cost for you).

What are The Best Oil-Based Colored pencils?

  1. Derwent Lightfast
  2. Faber Castell Polychromos
  3. Caran d'Ache Pablo
  4. Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor

1. Derwent Lightfast: Best Lightfastness

drawing of a car ferrari portofino in blue next to a box of derwent lightfast colored pencils - best oil-based colored pencils

The Derwent Lightfast colored pencils, made in the UK, are purposefully crafted to provide maximum lightfastness, ensuring that your artwork remains vibrant and resistant to fading.

With an impressive LFI or LFII rating, the majority of these pencils live up to Derwent's claim of being 100% lightfast under museum conditions.

A standout feature of the Derwent Lightfast pencils is their oil-based core, which is both soft and creamy. This unique formulation allows for precision and detailed work while still being easy to blend.

The thick cedar wood barrel makes sharpening easy and offers additional protection for the lead.

With a range of 100 colors to choose from, the Derwent Lightfast colored pencils offer a diverse palette to suit any artistic need.

Pros and Cons of Derwent Lightfast

Exceptional lightfastnessHigher price compared to some other brands
Soft, creamy oil-based core
Precision and detailed work capability
Highly pigmented and saturated colors
Thick cedar wood barrel for easy sharpening
Diverse color range of 100 shades

View on Amazon

2. Faber-Castell Polychromos: Best for Vibrancy

drawing of a car lamborghini aventador svj in purple magenta next to a box of faber castell polychromos colored pencils - best oil-based colored pencils

Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils are German-made wonders that bring unparalleled vibrancy to your artwork.

With their intense pigmentation, these pencils are perfect for artists who want to make a statement with their work.

As oil-based pencils, Polychromos have a harder core that allows for precise, detailed work. Though the lead can be a bit fragile, sharpening them carefully and avoiding drops can prevent breakage.

While oil-based pencils can be trickier to blend, the right techniques will yield smooth color transitions with these pencils.

In addition to their lightfastness, which ensures your artwork's longevity, the Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils offer an extensive color range of 120 shades. However, the selection of skin tones and purples could be more diverse.

Pros and Cons of Faber Castell Polychromos

Vibrant and intense pigmentationCan be difficult to blend (oil-based)
Harder core for detailed workLimited diversity in skin tones and purples
Can be sharpened to a fine pointHigher price compared to some other brands
Highly lightfast, ensuring artwork longevity
Wide color range of 120 shades

View on Amazon

3. Caran d'Ache Pablo: Best for Precision and Detail

Caran d'Ache Pablo colored pencils are water-resistant and have a core made from a mix of oil and wax.

These colored pencils have a 3.8mm diameter lead that is strong, easily sharpened to a fine point, and perfect for detailed work.

Encased in an attractive hexagonal wood barrel, these pencils provide a smooth color application, vivid hues, and impressive blendability.

Offering sets ranging from 12 to 120 colors, the Caran d'Ache Pablo pencils present a diverse and extensive color selection. However, achieving the desired color intensity may require a few layers due to the oily, waxy core.

Despite this, the pencils last longer than competitors and provide excellent control and precision.

Notably, these pencils do not suffer from wax bloom, a common issue with conventional wax-colored pencil sets. Instead, they exhibit characteristics of both wax-based and oil-based colored pencils, offering a unique blend of the two.

The Caran d'Ache Pablo colored pencils come in sturdy metal or elegant wooden boxes, providing excellent protection for your investment.

These premium-priced pencils may not suit tight budgets, but their longevity and unique feel make them worth trying at least once.

Pros and Cons of Caran d'Ache Pablo

Strong lead, suitable for detailed workMultiple passes may be required for deep colors
Smooth color applicationNot a true oil pencil
Excellent blendability
Resistant to wax bloom
Attractive packaging and presentation
Extensive color range (12 to 120 shades)

View on Amazon

4. Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor: Best Value for Oil-Based Pencils

Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor colored pencils are an affordable option for those seeking the unique benefits of oil-based pencils without breaking the bank.

These German-made pencils feature a 4mm core and are available in sets ranging from single pencils to a 105-piece collection.

Lyra Rembrandt Polycolors are designed to compete with popular and more expensive oil-based pencil sets. They offer good color output and intensity, although heavier application is needed to achieve the desired results.

These pencils are available in various sets, with larger sets (72 and 105 pieces) offering a wide array of colors.

Layering and blending are easy, thanks to the oil core, which prevents wax bloom and allows for better color stacking. However, some color variances may be noticed between the label on the pencil barrel and the actual output, so testing on scratch paper is recommended.

Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor colored pencils are more affordable than most other oil-based lines, making them an attractive option for those wanting to try oil-based colored pencils without spending too much.

Some compromises are made for this lower price point, but the overall quality is still acceptable.

Pros and Cons of Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor

Affordable compared to other oil-based linesHeavier application needed for vivid colors
Good color output and intensityScratchier feel compared to high-end brands
Easy layering and blendingProne to tip breakage and frequent sharpening
Smaller diameter for better hand controlColor variances between label and output

View on Amazon

Articles You Might Also Like

Top 4 Best Paper for Oil-Based Colored Pencils
4 Best Wax-Based Colored Pencils in 2024
Wax-based pencils vs oil-based pencils - Which is better?

Add a comment

Adding comments is temporarily turned off...


Derwent Chromaflow is a wax-based pencil.

Julia Kaiser - Jan. 14, 2024, 6:16 p.m.