Coloured pencils

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Coloured pencils

What is the difference between wax-based and oil-based coloured pencils?


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Question: What is the difference between wax-based and oil-based coloured pencils?



Wax is the most common base for coloured pencils and it covers a wide variety of grades, from hard to soft-core pencils. They are best for drawing techniques which require lots of layering, as they smudge less easily than oil-based pencils.

Oil-based coloured pencils can be a little more expensive than wax-based pencils. They are particularly easy to blend but, as a result, also more easily smudged than wax-based pencils which makes a fixative particularly important for a finished piece. Oil-based pencils are harder than most wax-based pencils, so they hold their points for longer and are easier to sharpen to a fine point, making them excellent for fine detail.

Many artists use a combination of wax and oil-based pencils in their work depending on the techniques they need. For example, they might use wax-based pencils for building layers of colour, and oil-based pencils for adding finer details.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the differences between coloured pencils are more complex than an oil or a wax base, as each manufacturer will add their own unique combination of pigments and additives which determine how they behave. 









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