Comprehensive Guide: Costs of Colored Pencils
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. What are colored pencils?
  2. Factors affecting the cost of colored pencils
  3. Compare brand costs
  4. Price range of colored pencils
  5. Costs of colored pencils based on quality
  6. How much should you spend on colored pencils?
  7. Where to buy affordable colored pencils?
  8. How to save money on colored pencils?

Coloring can be a fun, creative outlet, especially when colored pencils are involved. Whether you're a seasoned artist, a parent buying for a child, or someone just starting to explore the world of coloring, you've probably asked yourself, "how much does colored pencils cost?" This comprehensive guide has got you covered. We'll take a simple yet in-depth look at the costs of colored pencils, what influences their price, and how to make the best decision for your coloring needs.

What are colored pencils?

If you've ever tried to create a colorful masterpiece, you've likely come across colored pencils. But what exactly are they? Put simply, colored pencils are drawing tools that contain a pigmented core encased in wood. Unlike regular graphite pencils, they can produce vibrant, multicolored artwork.

There are two main types of colored pencils — wax-based and oil-based. Wax-based colored pencils are the most common. They are easy to use, affordable, and great for blending colors. However, they often leave a waxy build-up on your paper, known as wax bloom. On the other hand, oil-based colored pencils have a smoother feel and offer rich, deep colors. They are less likely to create a bloom but can be slightly more expensive.

Now, you might think all colored pencils are the same. However, the quality, brand, and type of colored pencils can greatly influence how much colored pencils cost. We'll explore these factors in the next sections. So, whether you're doodling in your notebook or creating a gallery-worthy piece of art, understanding these aspects can help you choose the right set of colored pencils for your budget and needs.

Factors affecting the cost of colored pencils

So, what makes one set of colored pencils cost more than another? There are several factors at play here, and understanding them can help you answer the question of "how much does colored pencils cost?" Let's break it down:

Type of colored pencils: As mentioned earlier, there are two main types of colored pencils – wax-based and oil-based. Usually, oil-based pencils are more expensive because they offer a smoother experience and richer colors.

Brand: Just like with any product, the brand of colored pencils can greatly influence the price. Established brands with a reputation for quality tend to cost more. For example, Prismacolor or Faber-Castell colored pencils will usually have a higher price tag than a lesser-known brand.

Quality: The quality of colored pencils is determined by the pigmentation and hardness of the pencil lead. Higher-quality pencils have more pigment and less binder, resulting in brighter, more vivid colors. These will usually be more expensive.

Number of colors: Sets with a wide range of colors are typically more expensive than those with fewer options. So, a 24-pack of colored pencils will cost less than a 72-pack from the same brand.

Special features: Some colored pencils have special features, like being erasable or water-soluble. These added features can increase the cost of the pencils.

Understanding these factors can help you make an informed decision when buying colored pencils. It's not always about finding the cheapest set; it's about finding the set that offers the best value for your needs and budget.

Compare brand costs

Now that we've talked about the factors affecting the cost of colored pencils, let's get into the nitty-gritty: comparing the costs of different brands. Remember, each brand has its strengths and weaknesses, and the price can reflect that.

Prismacolor: Known for their high-quality and vibrant colors, Prismacolor is a favorite among artists. A set of 24 Prismacolor Premier colored pencils typically cost around $25. For a larger set of 150, you can expect to pay around $100.

Faber-Castell: Another top-notch brand, Faber-Castell, offers both oil-based and watercolor pencils. A set of 24 Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils can run you about $50, while a 60-set of their watercolor pencils may cost $115.

Crayola: Crayola is a well-known brand that's more budget-friendly. A 50-pack of their colored pencils could cost you as little as $10. Despite the lower price, Crayola offers a decent color variety and quality for hobbyists and beginners.

Arteza: Arteza is a newer brand that's gaining popularity for its balance between quality and affordability. A 48-set of Arteza colored pencils costs around $25, while a 72-set is priced at roughly $35.

When you're comparing costs, remember to consider the total count and the type of colored pencils in the set. And most importantly, keep in mind that the most expensive set isn't always the best for your needs. Your skill level, usage, and personal preferences should guide your choice.

Price range of colored pencils

So, how much does colored pencils cost across the board? Well, the price range of colored pencils can be pretty wide, depending on the factors we've discussed. Here's a quick breakdown:

Low-end: On the lower end of the spectrum, you can find basic colored pencils for as little as $5 to $10 for a set of 24. These are usually targeted towards children or beginners. They might not offer the widest range of colors or the highest quality, but they do the job for simple coloring tasks.

Mid-range: Mid-range colored pencils typically cost around $20 to $50 for a set. These pencils often have a higher pigment concentration for more vibrant colors and smoother application. They're great for hobbyists or intermediate artists.

High-end: At the top end, professional-grade colored pencils can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 for a set. These sets offer a wide color range, superior blendability, and high lightfastness (that means the colors don't fade over time). They're perfect for serious artists who want the best tools for their craft.

As always, remember that price doesn't always equate to the value. It's all about finding the right fit for your needs and budget. And who knows? With practice and the right techniques, you might create a masterpiece with just a basic set!

Costs of colored pencils based on quality

Now that we've covered the general price range, let's focus on how quality affects how much colored pencils cost.

Student Quality: These are the types you'd typically find in a school supplies aisle. They're cost-friendly and a great starting point for beginners. A pack can range anywhere from $5 to $15. They may not offer the same richness of color or blendability as higher-grade pencils, but they're a good starting point for those dipping their toes into the world of colored pencils.

Artist Quality: These come with a higher price tag, usually between $20 and $100. What sets artist quality pencils apart is their high pigment concentration, providing richer and more vibrant colors. Their leads are also more robust, resisting breakage better than their student-grade counterparts. If you're serious about your colored pencil work, investing in artist-grade pencils could be a savvy move.

Professional Quality: These are the cream of the crop, often costing between $100 and $300. They offer the highest quality pigments, exceptional blendability, and excellent lightfastness. Many professional artists swear by these pencils, and for good reason. The colors are vibrant and consistent, and they make a real difference in your work.

But remember — while the quality of your tools can make a difference, the real magic happens in the hands of the artist. Whether you're using student or professional-grade pencils, what matters most is your creativity and passion.

How much should you spend on colored pencils?

So, you're now probably wondering: "How much should I really spend on colored pencils?" Well, it depends on a few factors:

Your experience level: If you're a beginner, it might not make sense to splurge on professional-grade pencils right away. You can start with student-quality pencils to learn the basics and then gradually upgrade as your skills improve.

Your budget: Obviously, how much money you can or want to spend on colored pencils plays a huge role. If you have a tight budget, don't worry — there are plenty of affordable options out there that offer decent quality. On the other hand, if you can afford it and truly enjoy using colored pencils, investing in a good set can enhance your coloring experience.

Your usage: How frequently you use colored pencils is another factor to consider. If you're using them daily, it might make sense to invest in higher-quality pencils which can withstand heavy use. But, if you're only using them occasionally, a budget-friendly set might be more than enough.

In the end, only you can decide how much to spend on colored pencils. It's a balance between your needs, your budget, and your love for coloring. And remember, the best colored pencils are the ones that feel right for you — not necessarily the most expensive ones!

Where to buy affordable colored pencils?

Now that we've explored how much colored pencils might cost and what you should consider when deciding your budget, let's discuss where you can buy affordable colored pencils.

Local Art Stores: These stores are dedicated to art supplies and often carry a wide range of colored pencils. You can find both high-end and affordable options here. One advantage of shopping in-person at art stores is that you can feel the pencils and sometimes even test them out before buying.

Supermarkets and Department Stores: Stores like Walmart or Target often have art sections where you can find a variety of affordable colored pencils. These are great options if you're on a tight budget or just starting out.

Online Marketplaces: Websites like Amazon and eBay offer a vast selection of colored pencils from different brands at various price points. You can often find great deals and discounts here, but remember to check reviews before making a purchase.

Discount Stores: Stores like Dollar General or Family Dollar might have colored pencils at very low prices. While the quality might not be as high, these can be perfect for those just beginning their coloring journey or needing pencils for casual use.

There you have it — a variety of places where you can find affordable colored pencils. No matter what your budget is, there are options available for you. Happy shopping!

How to save money on colored pencils?

So, you've figured out where to buy your colored pencils, but how do you make sure you're not spending more than necessary? Here are a few tips to help you save money on colored pencils:

Buy in Sets: More often than not, buying colored pencils in sets rather than individually ends up being more cost-effective. Sets can range from basic 12-color packs to extensive collections of 150 colors or more. The larger the set, the lower the cost per pencil typically is.

Wait for Sales: Sales and discounts can significantly reduce how much colored pencils cost. Back-to-school season and holidays like Black Friday or Cyber Monday are great times to look for deals.

Start Small: If you're just starting out, you don’t need the biggest set with every color under the sun. Begin with a basic set and as you develop your skills and preferences, you can add more colors as needed.

Take Care of Your Pencils: Proper care can extend the life of your colored pencils. Tip breakage can be minimized by gentle handling and careful sharpening. Also, storing your pencils in a protective case can prevent damage.

Recycle and Reuse: If you have old colored pencils that are too short to use, don’t throw them away. You can buy pencil extenders which allow you to use pencils down to the very end, saving you money in the long run.

Remember, saving money doesn’t imply compromising on quality. By being savvy and making smart choices, you can enjoy the vibrant world of colored pencils without breaking the bank.

If you enjoyed this comprehensive guide on the costs of colored pencils and are looking to take your illustrations to the next level, we highly recommend checking out the workshop 'Illustration Tips: Creative Storytelling with Colour palettes' by Carolina Vázquez. This workshop will help you enhance your illustrations by teaching you how to create captivating stories using different color palettes.