How Long Do Colored Pencils Last?

colored pencils sorted by color. How long do colored pencils last?

Colored pencils are incredibly versatile and popular among artists of all skill levels. They're portable, easy to use, and come in a fantastic array of colors.

But as with any art supply, understanding the lifespan of colored pencils is essential to make the most out of them.

So, how long can colored pencils last?

While it's difficult to provide a specific timeframe for how long colored pencils last due to varying factors like quality, usage, storage, and maintenance, I can give you a general estimate based on my experience.

High-quality, artist-grade colored pencils, when properly stored and cared for, can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years or even longer. However, student-grade colored pencils might have a shorter lifespan of about 2 to 5 years. Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and your colored pencils might last longer or shorter depending on your individual usage and care habits.

By investing in good-quality pencils, using them appropriately, and taking proper care of them, you can ensure that your colored pencils will serve you well for many years to come.

What Impacts the Lifespan of Colored Pencils and How to Maximize It?

1. Quality of Colored Pencils

First things first, let's talk about the factors that affect the quality of colored pencils. The lifespan of your pencils is directly tied to their quality, which can vary depending on:

  • Pigments used
  • Manufacturing process
  • Wood casing

Student-Grade vs. Artist-Grade

There's a significant difference between student-grade and artist-grade colored pencils. Student-grade pencils are more affordable but tend to have less pigment and lower lightfastness. Artist-grade pencils, on the other hand, are made with high-quality pigments and binders, resulting in a longer lifespan and better performance.

Some of my favorite high-quality colored pencil brands include:

  • Faber-Castell
  • Caran d'Ache
  • Derwent

Investing in good-quality pencils is a wise decision if you want them to last longer and perform better.

2. Frequency of Use

The frequency with which you use your colored pencils can also impact their lifespan. Using them often can cause the lead to wear down faster and potentially damage the wood casing. However, infrequent use can also have adverse effects, such as causing the pigment to dry out or the lead to become brittle.

To maximize the lifespan of your colored pencils, try these tips:

  • Rotate between different pencils to avoid overusing one
  • Use light pressure when coloring to prevent breaking the lead or wearing it down too quickly

3. Proper Storage

Improper storage can cause your colored pencils to deteriorate faster. Exposure to heat, moisture, or direct sunlight can have a negative impact on your pencils. To ensure they last as long as possible:

  • Store them in a cool, dry place
  • Avoid keeping them near windows or heat sources

When it comes to storing your colored pencils, a pencil case or airtight container is your best bet. This will protect them from external factors that could shorten their lifespan.

4. Maintenance and Care

Taking care of your colored pencils is crucial if you want to extend their lifespan. Here are some tips for maintaining and caring for your colored pencils:


  • Use a sharp blade to ensure a clean, precise point
  • Rotate the pencil as you sharpen, rather than rotating the sharpener, to prevent breakage

Pencil Extenders

  • Consider using pencil extenders to reduce waste and prolong the life of shorter pencils


  • Use a soft cloth or brush to gently remove any debris from your colored pencils

By following these maintenance and care tips, you can help your colored pencils last longer and perform better.

Articles You Might Also Like

How To Use Colored Pencils
All types of colored pencils explained and compared
11 Colored Pencil Tips for Beginners

Be the first to comment!

Adding comments is temporarily turned off...


There are no comments yet.