Wax-based colored pencils: These are the most common type of colored pencils and are typically made with wax, pigments, and binders. They are known for their smooth and creamy texture and are easy to blend and layer. They come in a wide range of colors and are suitable for a variety of art applications.
Oil-based colored pencils: These colored pencils are made with oil as the binding agent, which makes them more resistant to breakage than wax-based pencils. They have a slightly harder texture and are ideal for fine details and precise lines.
Watercolor pencils: These are colored pencils that can be activated with water, giving them a watercolor-like effect. They can be used dry or wet, and are perfect for creating subtle washes and gradients.
Pastel pencils: These colored pencils are made with a soft pastel core, which gives them a powdery texture. They are ideal for creating soft, blended effects and can be used on a variety of surfaces.
In terms of hardness levels, colored pencils typically come in a range from soft to hard. Soft pencils are ideal for blending and shading, while hard pencils are better for creating fine details and crisp lines.
Color options can vary greatly depending on the brand and type of colored pencils. Some sets may offer a basic range of colors, while others may have a wide range of hues or specialty colors like metallics or fluorescents.
Blending: Colored pencils should blend smoothly and evenly when applied to paper. Some colored pencils are designed to be extra soft and blend easily, while others may require a bit more effort to blend. It's important to choose colored pencils that are appropriate for the level of blending you desire in your artwork.
Layering: Colored pencils should be able to layer without becoming waxy or streaky. High-quality colored pencils will allow you to layer multiple colors and achieve a rich, vibrant effect.
Shading: Colored pencils should be able to create a range of values, from light to dark, with smooth transitions in between. They should be able to produce fine lines for detail work, as well as broader strokes for larger areas.
Lightfastness: Lightfastness refers to the ability of colored pencils to resist fading or discoloration over time when exposed to light. High-quality colored pencils will have good lightfastness ratings, meaning that they will hold up well over time and maintain their vibrant colors.
Archival quality: Archival quality refers to the ability of colored pencils to resist deterioration over time. High-quality colored pencils will be acid-free and made with materials that do not yellow or degrade over time. They will also be resistant to smudging, fading, or cracking.
Beginner artists may benefit from using colored pencils as they are easy to use and offer precise control. They can help beginners learn how to layer and blend colors, which are essential skills in many art forms. Colored pencils are also relatively affordable compared to other art materials, which makes them a popular choice for those just starting out.
Professional artists may also use colored pencils for their artwork, as they offer excellent precision and control, allowing artists to create intricate details and fine lines. Some artists may also use colored pencils for mixed media pieces or to add fine details to their paintings or drawings.
Ultimately, the suitability of colored pencils depends on the individual artist's needs, preferences, and skill level. Different brands and products may also cater to different types of artists, so it's essential to research and compare different options to find the best fit for your artistic practice.