The Best Colored Pencils for Coloring Mandalas

October 29, 2008 by  
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Mandalas can and have been created with about every artistic medium you could imagine, but in this article we focus on the colored pencil.

Colored pencils are good for people who want to have a very controlled expression whereas markers, paint and oil pastels are suitable for those who want to make a bold statement. If you are exploring the world of mandala coloring pages and coloring books, colored pencils are hard to beat. I prefer using colored pencils for coloring mandalas because:

  1. they can be erased if you make a mistake
  2. they  are much more precise, making detail easier to handle
  3. colors are easily layered and blended
  4. the colors don’t bleed like markers

Which Brand to Choose?

Finding the best colored pencil for your mandala coloring can sometimes be puzzling. Different brands vary in quality, color vibrancy and durability.  Lets take a look.

Colored pencils are pigmented pencils which use a wax-based pigment mixture for ‘lead’. Student grade colored pencils (such as Crayola, Rose Art, Prang, etc) are very different from artist quality pencils. They have very little pigment in the wax binder, and so the colors they lay down are very diffuse in comparison.

Watercolor pencils are very much like colored pencils and can be used just like colored pencils except their ‘lead’ is water-soluble. Watercolor pencils are more versatile than regular colored pencils. You have the option of creating colored pencil effects or, by brushing on water, watercolor painting effects.

Artist brands are more highly pigmented, which means a little goes a long ways. They are easier to use, easier to manipulate and easier to blend and mix.  I do find it is more difficult to erase them, so you will want to be sure and experiment with different types of artists’ erasers to find what works best with your pencil and paper selections. always has a great selection. and Derwent Coloursoft are the very softest wax-based colored pencils. Lyra Rembrandt are oil-based, there’s oil as well as wax in the binder, and they have a slippery oil feeling that’s a lot like painting.

Prismacolor Premier fine art water colored pencils are my favorite because they have thick, soft leads that are made from brilliant pigments. These Soft, thick cores create a smooth color lay down for superior blending and shading.  It is a little tougher to get and keep a fine sharp point, and you have somewhat more lead breakage because the lead is softer, but the brilliant colors make it worth the effort for me.

What do you prefer to use?