Coloured pencils

Posted on

Coloured pencils

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


Ask Jacksons: 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. 

Browse the full range of coloured pencils available on Jackson's website.



Sometimes we may include links to online retailers, from which we might receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate links do not influence editorial coverage and will only be used when covering relevant products.



No comments