Ultimate Guide to the

Best Scholastic Grade Colored Pencils

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Scholastic-grade pencils are typically seen as the next step up from student-grade. It is intended for people who have some experience in using colored pencils on various mediums and applications.

For these pencils, the blending and color intensity are generally better, and the cores are typically made of wax or oil. Also, the core material is usually softer which allows for better color control and feel but can come at the cost of durability and ease-of-use.

On the other hand, these colored pencils are still user-friendly enough to not be too difficult. It won’t quite have the feel and blending ability of some of the premium, higher-end professional-grade lines but they do find a happy medium for you.

Additionally, this grade introduces more specialty offerings such as certain sets that hone in on earthy tones or pencils that might have smaller cores which are intended for detailed areas. There are also plenty of broad sets that dip into all areas of the color wheel, giving you more options when choosing a color.

When it comes to the packaging, it is usually a bit better, both in terms of the housing as well as the pencil itself when compared to the student-grade. The higher-quality materials are used to create the pencil and for someone with a bit of hands-on experience in colored pencils they might be able to appreciate it if that’s you.

Finally, from a cost-wise perspective, these are a step up from beginner lines, but you are paying for a higher-performing product. Often twenty to thirty percent higher. This is a great middle-of-the-road option for someone experienced in pencils that is ready to take that next step in their artistic journey without breaking the bank in the super ultra premium options that are available.

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Marco Renoir Watercolor Pencils

Our Rating: 

This set is the more expensive and older brother to the Marco Raffine/Ohuhu line. It competes with much more expensive brands while being reasonably priced. These pencils come with an oil-based core, round barrel, and 3.7mm lead. When it comes to the color is plenty vivid and you can enjoy good performance with these whether you use them dry or wet.

Pros: Good for wet and dry coloring, moderate deep color and price
Cons: Weaker storage case

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Derwent Inktense Watercolor

Our Rating: 

Right off the bat, you can see these colored pencils stand out. From the dark colored pencils to the name. The goal is to have the intense colors of a traditional ink and pen while still having the ability to blend easily and apply over a large area, which they achieved. These pencils have a wax-based 4mm core and 8mm round barrel and are available in singles all the way up to 72 packs.

Pros: Rich and vibrant colors, good price
Cons: Low number of lighter colors

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Staedtler Ergo Soft

Our Rating:

Staedtler has a good brand name for a good reason. As for these pencils, the triangular-shaped makes it stand out and they come with an A.B.S. protective coating that reinforces the wax-based core. These pencils can go through a lot of wear and tear and still hold up. These are available in sets ranging from 12 to 36 pieces. Overall the colors from the Ergo Soft lay down color quite well and show pretty good pigmentation. When it comes to the color options, it could be better considering there are significantly more expensive than most other Staedtler offerings.

Pros: Durable, Color Saturation, and Price
Cons: Difficult to blend, grip hurts after some time

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Caran d’Ache Fancolor

Our Rating:

If you’re an aspiring artist and you’re are still learning pencil techniques, then this pencil set might be for you. They are designed to allow for easier use and stability while still adhering to the high standards of other Caran d’Ache products. The challenge is the color selection is a bit lacking, with sizes from 12 to 40, and the pencils come in a hexagonal barrel. These wax-based pencils blend well enough by themselves but are also water-soluble which opens up many more possibilities.

Pros: Durable and good blending
Cons: Somewhat expensive and limited color options

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Spectrum Noir

Our Rating:

You might have heard about the Spectrum Noir brand, it’s because they’re somewhat common at most art stores. These wax and oil hybrid pencils are the primary blendable colored pencil line offered by Spectrum Noir. But if you’re looking for full range of colors, then you’ll have to buy different sets. That’s why a full star got knocked off in our review of it. Overall they have a decent combination of blendability and utilization while still being durable enough to be used on a regular basis and sharpened.

Pros: Quite vivid, durable and good blending
Cons: Somewhat expensive to get all the color options

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