Best Colored Charcoal Pencils In 2023

Three of the best colored charcoal pencils to try this 2021

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There's a subtleness to learning the intricate skill of charcoal drawing. It requires patience, a good eye, and vision. With the right hand for drawing and proper supplies like a set of the best colored charcoal pencils, finding your artistic style is more exciting. 

Those who enjoy experimenting with the traditional charcoal medium can play around with the best colored charcoal pencils for a better handle on deeper huesbeyond just black and white. Here are the best colored charcoal pencils to choose from.

1. Derwent's Tinted Colored Charcoal Pencils - Best Value for Money

A Set of 24 Derwent’s Tinted Colored Charcoal Pencils
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 Pros Cons
  • Wood encased set of 24
  • Good light-fastness
  • Stand-out earth colors
  • Made from the finest clays
  • Works well with water for promising wash effects
  • Pricey

What Customers Have To Say

Amazon shoppers love the Derwent's Tinted Colored Charcoal Pencils. "Great tinted charcoal," said one buyer who appreciated the natural colors that each stroke produced. Another customer said the whole set was "fun" and highlighted how easy it was to work with water using these charcoal pencils.

Derwent's Tinted Colored Charcoal Pencils review

Why We Think Its Great

A great contender for the best colored charcoal pencil, Derwent's come with wood encasing and a soft-core made from the finest clays with a soft application on any paper or canvas surface. Blending tricky parts of your drawing won't have to be done in a stretch, thanks to its good light-fastness and stand-out earth tones.

These colored charcoal pencils come in a set of 24 with earthy and natural colors that create darker pigments. For those who like to experiment with water and charcoal, these do an excellent job creating promising wash effects for a dramatic outline.

Who Should Buy It

Great for professionals and art students familiar with charcoal and colors. If you're practicing wash effects on charcoal, this is the set you should invest in, regardless of the steep price point. 

2. Mont Marte Colored Charcoal Pencils - Best Coverage

 A Set of 12 Mont Marte Colored Charcoal Pencils
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 Pros Cons
  • Set of 12
  • Comes in earthy color tones
  • Great for life drawings
  • 4mm core
  • Excellent coverage
  • Hard to sharpen

What Customers Have To Say

While customers like the vast selection of colors, other users were critical about the Mont Marte Colored Charcoal Pencils sharpening ability. One shopper said that these colored charcoal pencils crumbled when sharpened, but knowing how to sharpen them properly might do the trick. Nevertheless, these pencils perform exceptionally well on a canvas. 

Why We Think Its Great

We placed Mont Marte on our list of the best colored charcoal pencils for its versatility and variety. It comes in a set of 12 earthy colors which does a great job at capturing the warmth of a wide range of landscapes. This set is suitable for life portraits and drawings thanks to its 4mm soft-core lead and seamless strokes for excellent coverage. 

Who Should Buy It

Mont Marte colored charcoal pencils are recommended for professionals and art students working on their blending skills with earth colors. They also make a great gift to your friends who are getting into charcoal colored drawings.

3. Markart’s Professional Colored Charcoal Pencils - Best for Life Portraits

Markart’s Professional Charcoal Pencil Set
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 Pros Cons
  • Set of 10
  • Non-toxic and eco-friendly
  • Beautiful neutral shades
  • Smooth layers
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Not so durable

What Customers Have To Say

Amazon customers were happy with Markart's professional colored charcoal pencils. Great art tools for both beginners and professionals, they liked its versatility and white pencils that are excellent for highlighting. A user did point out that the pencils weren’t as durable, but generally, Markart’s colored charcoal pencil set is a plus for any aspiring artists.

Markart’s Professional Colored Charcoal Pencils

Why We Think Its Great

Creating life-like drawings with colored charcoal pencils can be a seamless experience with this set of 10. It is a combination of five blacks, three whites, one brown, and a suntan charcoal pencil. Each color comes in several shades, along with beautiful neutral brown hues that are perfect for life portraits and people-sketching.

Who Should Buy It

This colored charcoal pencil set is made of non-toxic and eco-friendly materials, making it easy to produce smooth layers. They’re also easy to sharpen and relatively affordable, which students will appreciate.

Best Colored Charcoal Pencils Buying Guide 

When you're new to the art of charcoal drawing, it can be frustrating to familiarize the medium's technicality at first. Apart from the messiness, you would also have to learn how to use it in-depth, which means you would have to consider several factors before getting your very first colored charcoal pencil set.

  • Softer Cores

These pencils have an inner core composed of colored powdered charcoal and a binder usually made of gum or wax. Most manufacturers who sell cheap and low-quality charcoal pencils tend to add more wax binder for mediocre coverage. However, pencils with softer cores have a higher ratio of powdered charcoal to the binder, making seamless strokes less challenging to achieve.

  • Convenience

Colored charcoal pencils are the least messy compared to other alternatives like a stick, willow, and vine. The wooden encasing of charcoal pencils makes it easier to grip on, similar to any other pencil type. The only difference, as well as a bonus, is that it can help you expose lengths of charcoal by peeling off or chipping off the wooden casing. Not to mention, it's safe and toxic-free.

  • Textured Colors

When using colored charcoal pencils, the pencils' quality dictates how your technique of the medium's style means finding the most suitable set is critical. Good quality colored charcoal pencils produce even tones when applying textured colors on whichever canvass or surface of the artist's choice.

The best colored charcoal pencils create textured colors that charcoal helps create. This generates a vast contrast among several tones, which is a plus if you're working on a more giant canvas. 

  • Sturdiness

It's no secret that buying colored charcoal pencils can be tricky if you're looking for highly durable and sturdy brands. The biggest frustration artists have with natural charcoal, apart from the messiness, is that they often break easily.

Colored charcoal pencils are made with a wooden encasing to protect the soft cores. This makes it easier to use without having to worry about dropping them and shattering the core.

Colored Charcoal Pencils FAQ

1. Do charcoal pencils come in colors?

Yes, some charcoal pencils are packaged in assorted sets and come in primary colors to several tones.

2. Are colored charcoal pencils erasable?

Yes, colored charcoal pencils can be erased using kneaded erasers just like black charcoal pencils.

3. How do you use colored charcoal pencils?

Similar to black charcoal pencils, colored charcoal pencils produce rich tones and high contrast in any canvas. This variation allows artists to experiment with brighter tones and make gradients for a bolder impact on their work.

4. Can charcoal pencils go over graphite pencils?

Yes, charcoal pencils can be applied over graphite pencils and produce deeper gradients for a more significant impact on an artist's canvas. Blending charcoal over graphite on paper is also more comfortable than blending graphite over charcoal. 

However, white charcoal pencils don't always work well over graphite, so many artists prefer white charcoal powder for mixing over graphite.

5. What are the best colored charcoal pencils?

The best colored charcoal pencils have soft-core leads, non-toxic, and have great coverage on any surface or canvas. Among them is the Derwent's Tinted Colored Charcoal Pencils which boasts a relatively soft application, excellent earth tones, and a durable hold since they're made from the finest clays.


Creating vibrant works of art is nothing short of a celebrated skill, so invest in the right colored charcoal pencils to find your style. Charcoal drawing is not easy to learn overnight, but having a set of the best colored charcoal pencils might just do the trick.

We highly recommend Derwent's Tinted Colored Charcoal Pencils to get a good start on experimenting with colored charcoal. They're great for blending and creating a wash effect on your canvas. For art students who want a budget-friendly option, check out Mont Marte Colored Charcoal Pencils for superb coverage and sturdy quality. 

Which set of colored charcoal pencils do you wish to add to your shopping cart? We would love to hear your thoughts.

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