TOP 10 best pencil sets: differences, which one to choose, comparison with analogues


The pencil has a wide range of uses. It is used for creativity when creating a drawing, for drawings, writing, marking, and even for make-up. We use them from early childhood, when we get acquainted with flowers and try to embody our ideas about this world on a piece of paper. But few of us thought about the fact that the world of pencils is rich and diverse.

When visiting any stationery store, we see a large selection of pencil sets on the shelves. And they all differ in several parameters: color, softness, type and shape of the frame. In the rating, I will talk about popular brands and help you choose the best option for creativity, among which there will be not only color, but also black graphite.

Rating of pencil sets

Sonnet set

The set is positioned as extra soft and intended for professional artists. It has 36 pieces from dark to bright and light colors. The palette is not bad, but there are no gray shades in it. There is also a white pencil that works great on tinted paper and allows you to stretch other shades. Claimed softness is not quite top class. It is rather soft-hard. The lines are bold and dense. Do not rub them with your fingers, only with an eraser or a nag. The shape is round, which is not very convenient to use, and can also roll off the table, which means the rod breaks. Available in sets of 12, 24 and 36 colors. Rod diameter 2 mm. Sharpen easily.

Sonnet pencil set
Lead diameter (mm) 2
Number of colors 36
Frame round
Peculiarities soft
  • well-pigmented stylus;
  • a good palette with a white pencil;
  • mix well with each other.
  • the declared extra softness does not correspond to reality;
  • the color of the stylus does not match in tone with the body;
  • overpriced for this quality.

This Sonnet set is not extra soft at all. It’s more of a soft one. The colors don’t mix well with each other. Although the palette is pretty good. When sharpening, the stylus may crumble. Another disadvantage is the round body, which is not very comfortable. I will definitely not buy again.

BRAUBERG Butterflies (181286)

This set from the German brand Brauberg is made in China. Available in three variations: 6, 18 and 24 pieces. Pretty good palette for a budget series, but poorly pigmented. The impact-resistant lead is hard-soft, and the case is trihedral. Perfect for elementary school students. Lines without bald spots are even. But here the wood is slightly shaggy when sharpened, although the manufacturer claims that it is made of high-quality species, while not specifying which ones.

BRAUBERG Butterflies (181286)
Lead diameter (mm) 3
Number of colors eighteen
Frame trihedral
Peculiarities for kids
  • trihedral body reduces the load on the hand;
  • good palette;
  • affordable price.
  • not bright enough;
  • when sharpening, the wood peels off.

I bought it for my children on a trip to draw in coloring books. We were quite satisfied, because for such a price something special is not to be expected. The set is not bad in terms of color palette, but there are similar shades. The packaging says that they are soft, but in fact they are hard-soft and sometimes even scratch the paper. The stylus crumbles slightly.

Carioca BiColor (43031)

The set of double-sided pencils is designed for children from 3 years old and teenagers. The trihedral shape allows you to put your hand, or rather, to hold the pencil itself correctly and at the same time the brush does not get tired during work. The lead is soft and is 3.3 mm in diameter, that is, thin. Designed to work on cardboard and paper. The pigmentation is good and the colors are bright enough. The convenience is that each pencil is double-sided, which means that with a small package you get 24 pencils, but 48 colors. Many buyers noted that the set is convenient and it is a pleasure to draw with it. The brand is Italian, but the production is carried out in China.

Carioca BiColor (43031)
Lead diameter (mm) 3.3
Number of colors 48
Frame trihedral
Peculiarities bilateral
  • comfortable to hold and draw;
  • soft lead;
  • perfectly pigmented;
  • a large set with small dimensions;
  • are easily sharpened.
  • it is difficult for very young children to achieve brightness, since it takes effort.

I bought a child for school for art lessons. I liked the set very much, and immediately. It is comfortable, and the pencils are soft and it is a pleasure to draw with them. It is comfortable to hold in the hand and the brush does not get tired. The range is extensive and many bright shades. This is now our favorite set.

The trihedral section allows you to place your fingers correctly. However, it does not interfere with easy sharpening in conventional sharpeners.

Faber-Castell Lock with sharpener (120148)

The set is designed for children of primary preschool and school age. The rod is soft-hard (HB) and impact resistant, and the hexagonal “shirt” is painted with a water-based varnish, which is safe for children. When drawing, it practically does not give bald spots. The colors are rich and easy to mix with each other, and if necessary, there is always the opportunity to correct the sketch with an eraser. In addition, there is an ordinary sharpener. The wood is of good quality and can be sharpened easily without fringes. The brand is German, but this set is made in Turkey.

Faber-Castell Lock with sharpener (120148)
Lead diameter (mm) 3
Number of colors 48
Frame hexagonal
Peculiarities impact-resistant lead
  • excellent pigmentation;
  • practically no bald spots;
  • soft and impact-resistant stylus;
  • safe for children.
  • some buyers have encountered fakes;
  • high price.

I believe that a child should not only be taught to draw, but also provided with quality materials. When I was in art school, I used Faber-Castell sets. That is why the choice fell on these pencils. I like them in all respects: brightness, ease of use, quality of materials. Consumption is quite economical.

Faber-Castell has three lines: green (professional), student (blue) and children’s (red). The highest quality and most expensive of course the first. Her “shirt” is painted exactly according to the tone with the lead.

BRAUBERG (180635)

Black lead pencils from the German company BRAUBERG with a shock-resistant core. The set contains 12 pieces of the same hardness HB and a lead diameter of 2.05 mm, which belongs to the “thin” category. Designed for drawing and design work. The section is hexagonal. There is an eraser at the end of each pencil. The set is convenient to use for creating a light sketch, drawing or design work. Belong to the professional series.

BRAUBERG (180635)
Lead diameter (mm) 2.05
Number of colors 12
Frame hexagonal
Peculiarities black graphite
  • sharpened;
  • with an elastic band at the end;
  • big set;
  • high-quality wood and impact-resistant stylus.
  • one hardness.

Bought for work. It is very comfortable and will last for a long time, as it contains 12 pieces and all of the same hardness. They write well and without blots. Pencils are thin and easy to draw lines. It is easy to sharpen without peeling the wood. If it falls, then the rod inside does not break.

If the case has the designation SV, then this is a shock-resistant rod. And a drop on the box indicates that you have a set of watercolor pencils in front of you.

Derwent Coloursoft Skin Tones (2300217)

When creating portraits, it is important to choose the right skin tones and the Derwent Coloursoft set, consisting of 6 pencils of different shades, will help you with this, consisting of 6 pencils of different shades: cream, ocher, pink blush, pink, terracotta dark and brown earth. They are lightfast and easy to mix with each other, as well as overlap each other. More textured lay down on textured paper. For better safety and convenience, the set has a metal package and additionally contains a sharpener. The texture is soft, providing bold lines and easy blending. The 4 mm diameter lead with a double-glued body is resistant to breakage, which ensures better preservation of the core. Produced in the UK.

Derwent Coloursoft Skin Tones (2300217)
Lead diameter (mm) four
Number of colors 6
Frame round
Peculiarities skin tones
  • good performance in layering and mixing tones;
  • cream shades for portraiture;
  • affordable price;
  • can be purchased as an addition to the main set.
  • the metal case does not close tightly.

In the portrait series, I already have a set from Koh-i-noor, but I decided to try a new brand, and the choice was Derwent. The reason lies in the fact that the colors in this set do not intersect with Kohinoor. The pencils are soft and the pigmentation is just right. It lays down without bald spots, in an even layer and the colors can be stretched. Of the minuses, I noted only a metal pencil case, which sometimes opens in my handbag.

KOH-I-NOOR Magic (3408013001KS)

The Magic series from the Czech company Kohinoor is intended not only for children, but also for artists. Often we mistakenly believe that multi-colored pencils are akin to pampering. In fact, they need to be used correctly and then magical, multi-ton and unusually beautiful paintings are obtained. The set consists of 12 colored pencils and one blender (white) for mixing colors. The shirt is thickened and trihedral. The rod is 5.6 mm, which is thick, but it is he who allows you to properly distribute different shades and use them when hatching.

KOH-I-NOOR Magic (3408013001KS)
Lead diameter 5.6
Number of colors 12+1
Frame trihedral
Peculiarities multicolor
  • soft rod;
  • several shades of the same color in one pencil;
  • safe materials;
  • easy to sharpen;
  • highly pigmented, which means the picture is bright and without bald spots.

I just love this set. I bought it in Prague when I was vacationing there. It is magnificent and not in vain is called «Magic». My daughter just loves to draw with them in coloring books, and I use pencils for drawing. The palette is very well matched and the lines are soft and vibrant.

When working with multi-color or as they are also called “tri-color” pencils, the main thing is to get used to them. When hatching slowly or as needed, rotate it and you will get a different tone of the line or gradient.

Lists of the best

The best set for kids

A young artist needs to choose a set according to several parameters: safety, ease of use, a full-fledged palette for getting to know colors. Therefore, the choice is sometimes difficult, given how many goods can be seen on store shelves. Pay attention to the Junlandia Baby Pencils set (181376), which meets all the requirements of mothers and their young artists.

Small pencils thickened in diameter and having a hexagonal section are very convenient for kids, as they easily fit into their hands and they do not get tired of drawing. The lead is thick and very soft, so the lines are easy and effortless. The package contains 12 pieces of different colors from dark to light. The palette is quite sufficient to get acquainted with the main and auxiliary colors, and also makes it possible to mix them in a drawing.

The rod is impact-resistant and non-toxic, so it is safe to chew. Artwork can be easily cleaned with soapy water from floors and wooden furniture. Can be used for the first acquaintance with the palette and pencils.

The best pencil set for professional artists

For professional artists, it is important that the set allows not only to translate pictures from the imagination into reality, but also to work in different techniques. The best in this category, I would include KOH-I-NOOR Mondeluz (3714072001KZ). The Czech manufacturer has been on the world market for more than 230 years and its products are valued in all countries.

A set for professionals, but, of course, amateurs can use it too. The peculiarity lies in the fact that the drawing made by these pencils can be blurred with a wet brush and a watercolor effect will be obtained.

There are 72 colors in the package, including dark, light and juicy, as well as different tones. This allows you to work in several techniques and create truly soulful drawings. Pigmentation is excellent and good indicators of mixing, shading, making it possible to make soft transitions. The shell is cedar hexagonal. Lead diameter 3.8 mm. The composition does not contain toxic substances.

The color of the body matches the stylus in tone, which makes it easier to find and select the right scale to create a drawing. Beginners will need to get used to such a set first, but it will truly give a positive mood and provide an opportunity to discover their talents. For convenience, the package also includes a sharpener and brushes No. 3, 8 and 9.

The best set of pencils for drawing and graphics

For graphics and drawing, you need to have a good set of pencils of different hardness and softness. This includes KOH-I-NOOR Art series 1500 (1502012008PL). The company is distinguished by impeccable quality, proven for decades.

Black lead pencils are designed for students of art schools and professionals and are intended for drawing and design work. The shape is hexagonal, which is convenient to use and will not allow you to roll on the table.

Additional protection is provided by a metal box. The rod diameter is 2.0 — 2.5 mm. Different softness allows not only to display clear lines, but also to create shadows, penumbra and 3D drawings. The box contains the following markings 2H, H, F, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B. Wood does not crumble when sharpened.

Features of Pencil Sets

At first glance, it seems that you can improve in a pencil? But manufacturers do not stand still and constantly offer innovations. Therefore, today we can buy in stores not just a pencil, but a convenient one that allows you to create masterpieces. Conventionally, all of them can be divided into three large groups: children’s, amateur and professional. But each of them has its own characteristics.

The juiciness and quality of the drawing depends on the type of lead. They are:

  1. Classic made of white clay with the addition of pigment.
  2. Wax blades are not encased and do not require sharpening. As the name suggests, they are made from wax.
  3. Watercolor pencils look like regular pencils. But they have one feature. If you run a wet brush over such a pattern, then it comes to life, or rather, a watercolor effect is created.
  4. Pastels are made on the basis of pigment with the addition of linseed oil. Soft and their strokes can be blurred with a finger.

All leads have a certain rigidity, which affects the accuracy of the pattern and lines, the saturation of tones and shades. The designation of numbers and letters is applied to the body of the pencil, where the number is the degree of hardness or softness. Most often in stores you can find the following markings:

  • very soft 2V, 4V, 6V, which is perfect for babies or creating dark places, placing accents;
  • soft B or M;
  • hard-soft HB is the main one for creating drawings;
  • hard H to create thin lines.

What to look for when choosing a set of pencils?

Immediately I want to say about the main mistake of buyers. Never be guided by the price, as there is a high probability of overpaying for a brand. Not always cheap means poor quality.

So, you came to the stationery store and saw a wide variety of pencil sets on the counter. Of course, you can get lost. But I will tell you how to make the right choice.

First, you need to decide for whom the purchase is being made. If for a preschooler, then you should pay attention to soft pencils with a trihedral base and a stylus of at least 1 cm. And also check the composition so that there are no toxic ingredients in it. Usually the age is always indicated on the box. But for a first-grader, the thickness of the lead is from 2.5 to 5 mm, and the pencil itself should lie comfortably in the hand. Here, the value of the edges on the shirt does not really matter.

Secondly, decide on the purpose of use. For home arts and school, sets of 12 colors are quite suitable. This is the best option to introduce the child to flowers and give him the opportunity to draw anything. But for an art school it is better to consider from 24 colors. They have different shades, more variations for developing talent.

Thirdly, pay attention to the body, that is, the back of the pencil. Most often it is made from wood. In this case, make sure that both parts fit snugly against each other and the lead itself. Top quality shirt made from pine, cedar and jelutong. But for kids it is better to choose a case made of plastic. It fits snugly to the lead, does not break, is shockproof and does not hit the inside of the pencil when dropped.

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