The Best Pencils for Drawing Details - Faber-Castell Polychromos Review

faber castell polychromos review. drawing of a lamborghini aventador svj in purple/magenta made with faber castell polychromos

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Review of: Faber-Castell Polychromos


Really good pencils for the price


Blending is quite difficult and takes a lot of patience


Can handle many layers


Extremely good for details

What I like

  • Point lasts long which makes it really good for drawing small details
  • Very vibrant colors
  • Relatively cheap compared to other professional colored pencils
  • Fade resistant for at least 25 years or longer

What I don't like

  • Difficult to blend
  • The core is a little brittle

Summary: Polychromos are kind of a you really like them or you don't kind of pencil. They have a very hard core which makes them ideal for drawing tiny details and the pigment is the most vibrant of all colored pencils.

But as they're hard they don't blend easily. You'll need to have a lot of patience and control over the pressure. But when you do you can create amazing drawings with these colored pencils.

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About 5 years ago I started watching videos about colored pencils and someone said that the Faber Castell Polychromos were the most vibrant colored pencils they'd ever used and as they were not expensive I decided to buy them, the 60 piece set to be specific. And 5 years later they still are my most used colored pencils.

My experience with the Faber Castell Polychromos

Good for details but difficult to blend

Faber Castell Polychromos are the hardest pencils I know. That's why they are so good for drawing the tiniest details. When you sharpen them to a fine point you can easily draw really small details and as the core is quite hard you don't need to sharpen that often too.

However having such a hard core is also a bit of a disadvantage. While it's good for details it's not the best for blending. Polychromos are quite difficult to blend compared to softer pencils like the Prismacolor Premier and the Caran d'Ache Luminance. You'll need a lot of patience and a lot of control over the pressure on the paper otherwise you'll get a streaky blending.

Having such a hard core also doesn't make them good for glazing.

Work best on medium grain paper

Polychromos work best on paper that has a slight texture. The core is too hard to give off its pigment on smooth paper, but when it's textured you get the most vibrant colors.

Medium grained paper also allows the Polychromos to layer very well as it can handle a lot of pigment. But when the grain of the paper is fully filled with pigment the Polychromos won't give of any pigment anymore, so you can't use them to glaze.

And in my experience it can be a pain to fill in every white spot in the grain of the paper. You'll either need lots of layers or you'll need to press very hard. And when you think you're done you see another tiny white spot. It could also just be that I'm slightly too perfectionistic...

The lead is a bit brittle

Lately I've noticed that it's quite difficult to sharpen the Polychromos to a very fine point. It always breaks just before it nice and sharp. A good sharpener will definitely prevent this from happening, but when using just a normal one you'll need to be a little careful.

Vibrant pigment and great color range

Faber Castell Polychromos are available in 120 colors plus a gold and a silver and they are one of the most vibrant colored pencils in the world. That was actually the sole reason why I bought them as my first colored pencils 5 years ago. And to this day the colors are more vibrant and pigmented than all other brands I've tried.

faber castell polychromos color chart
All 120 Polychromos colors that are available excluding the gold and the silver. Image by Faber-Castell

The Faber Castell Polychromos have a lot of disadvantages, but when you want to create very details artwork without too much color transitions these are the best pencils you can get in my opinion. They have worked really well over the past 5 years and they are still one of my favorites.


Overall score:





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