How to choose the right Pencil Set for your art practice

Author: Dana McGorlick-Appelman  Date Posted:5 January 2022 

How to choose the right pencil set for you


There are so many different types of pencils out there, so it can be hard to know which set is right for you. Keep reading to discover our curated guide to the different types of pencil sets available.


Pencil sets for the complete beginner

Mont Marte Signature Sketching Set In Wooden Box 21pc

Whether you're creating your next masterpiece, or just doodling a quick sketch, the Mont Marte Signature Sketching set comes with everything you need... Literally!

Though it may look compact, this fantastic set contains 21 pieces of premium sketching tools to get you drawing, in the studio or on the go! 

Enclosed in the high-quality solid pine box are a diverse mix of graphite pencils and sticks, charcoal pencils and sticks plus loads of accessories for funky effects. This signature set makes the perfect gift or well-deserved treat for yourself. 

  • 6 graphite pencils
  • 3 charcoal pencils (soft, medium, hard)
  • 3 compressed charcoal sticks (soft, medium, hard)
  • 3 graphite sticks
  • Paper stump 10mm
  • Sand block
  • Sharpener
  • Eraser
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Solid pine box with magnetic closure

Mont Marte Signature Drawing Set 24pc

Get drawing and sketching with the Mont Marte Signature 24 piece Drawing Set, featuring a wonderful range of pencils and essential drawing tools.

Including pastel pencils, charcoal pencils and graphite pencils - this great range of drawing equipment is everything someone needs to get started with drawing.

Also included in this set are some essential drawing tools such as a twin barrel sharpener and putty eraser.

  • 24 piece drawing set: 4 x graphite pencils, 6 x coloured charcoal pencils, 12 x pastel pencils, 1 x twin barrel sharpener, 1 x putty eraser
  • Graphite pencils: HB, 2B, 4B, 6B
  • Pastel pencils: White, Cadmium Yellow, Orange, Scarlet, Pink, Purple, Ultramarine, Sky Blue, Light Green, Sap Green, Umber, Black
  • Colour charcoal pencils: White, Sanguine, Sepia, Black Soft, Black Medium, Black Hard



Pencil Sets For The Watercolour Enthusiast

Mont Marte Premium Watercolour Pencils 72 Piece In Wooden Box

The Mont Marte premium watercolour pencil set provides a perfectly curated spectrum of colour for artists.

Use it for sketching, drawing or detailing designs, then apply water with a brush to soften colours and add watercolour effects. The elegantly designed, lacquered wooden box isn't all about looks.

This practical case features a magnetic close and internal magnet strip to keep your watercolour pencils secure during transport. Keeping your pencils in place allows you to stay organised and also protects them from damage to extend their life.

Explore your potential and create beautiful artworks with our premium watercolour set.


  • Artist quality pencils
  • 72 brilliant water-soluble colours
  • High-quality pigments ensure lightfastness
  • Soft, even colour application
  • Perfect for gifting to the artist in your life


Faber Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolour Pencil

Albrecht Dürer artists' watercolour pencils provide artists with great versatility of expression when drawing, shading and painting in watercolours.

High-quality materials, combined with over 250 years of experience, have resulted in watercolour pencils that produce unsurpassed watercolour effects and vibrancy.

The coloured surface can be transformed with only a few fine or broad-brush strokes to reveal the full and unique power of the colours. Depending on the paper being used, the pigments can be completely dissolved, and will then behave in the same way as classic watercolour paints.

  • High-quality acid-free pigments in bright colours, unsurpassed lightfastness
  • Soft, vibrant colour laydown
  • Fully water-soluble lead
  • Thick 3.8 mm lead
  • High break resistance due to secural bonding process (SV)

Derwent Watercolour Pencil

Pencils are easy and convenient to use, paints a little less so.

But there's a high-quality colour pencil that you can paint with as well, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Derwent Watercolour can be used wet or dry, on wet or dry paper, to achieve a wide variety of effects.

Soft in texture so easy to blend and layer. 

Derwent Watercolour Pencils retain their full intensity however you use them.

For sheer versatility, Derwent Watercolour is unmatched.


Mont Marte Premium Pencil Set - Watercolour Pencils In Tin 36pc

With high-quality pigments and a range of vibrant colours, this premium watercolour set is bound to become your favourite. It even comes with a brush so that you have everything you need to start creating.

Cretacolor Artist Studio Watercolour Pencil 24pc

The Artist Studio Line Set of 24 Watercolour Pencils are brilliantly coloured with high pigmentation to bring your art to life.

Non-toxic and made of the highest quality this set is perfect for artists of any skill level.

  • Rich, vibrant, highly pigmented pencils. 
  • Pre Sharpened
  • Non-Toxic
  • Water Soluble
  • Made in Austria


Prismacolor Watercolour Pencil

Prismacolor Watercolour pencils can be used either wet or dry for varying effects. These artist-quality pencils are perfect for every level of expertise and are made from high-quality pigments for rich colour saturation. 


Pencil Sets for those who LOVE colour

Posca Colouring Pencil Set Of 36

Introducing Posca’s 36pc Colouring Pencil set! Their unique formula contains more oil than wax, producing vibrant and exciting colours. With a smooth finish, Posca colour pencils sharpen perfectly and don’t crumble or break with heavy pressure.

The pencils work on light and dark papers and can be used with both water and turpentine to achieve a range of effects. 

  • Artist quality pencils
  • Pencils do not crumble or break under heavy pressure.
  • Intense, ultra-vivid colours
  • Works on light and dark papers, as well as canvas
  • Can be used with both water and turpentine to achieve a range of effects
  • Pencils are made from Wax, Talc, Pigment & Resin

Colours included: White, Yellow, Bright Yellow, Orange, Green, Khaki Green, Light Blue, Navy Blue, Prussian Blue, Fuchsia, Dark Red, Red, Vermillion, Dark Olive, Ochre, Brown, Dark Brown, Light Gray, Black, Lemon Yellow, Ash Brown, Emerald Green, Blue, Lilac, Mauve, Gray, Blue Green, Ivory, Light Pink, Fresh Green, Light Orange, Dark Gray, Coral Pink, Green Tea, Pine Green, and Light Ochre.

Derwent Coloursoft Colouring Pencil

The soft textured strip in Coloursoft pencils is perfect for quick, easy lay-down of large blocks of colour.
The large, 4mm colour strip is housed in a strong and durable 8mm Cedarwood barrel.
Coloursoft pencils are acid-free, do not bloom easily and have superior lightfast ratings to similar brands of soft textured pencils.



Prismacolor Premier Colouring Pencil

Artist-quality coloured pencils for every level of expertise.

These coloured pencils contain high-quality pigments for rich colour saturation with soft, thick cores create a smooth colour laydown for superior blending and shading.

The thick leads resist breakage and are light resistant and waterproof so you can enjoy your drawings and sketches for years.

Each pencil has a 3.8 mm core.

The lacquered casing is designed to match the lead so you can easily find the right colour.


This product is also FSC certified, so you can be sure your purchase supports healthy forests and protects wildlife.


Pencil Sets for the Graphite Traditionalist

Derwent Graphic Pencil 

A good graphite drawing starts with a good graphite pencil!

With Derwent Graphic you’ve got a wide choice of degrees from a fine and crisp 9H to soft and smudgy 9B, so whether you are doing fine detailed illustrations or adding shading and texture to your drawing we’ve got the right pencil for you.

  • Made from the finest quality materials
  • Strips sharpen to a good long-lasting point
  • Highly lightfast

Faber Castell 9000 Graphite Pencil

Castell 9000 - a genuinely classic pencil - was launched by Count Alexander von Faber-Castell in 1905. Its quality and finely graduated degrees of hardness have made it a firm favourite with artists and illustrators.

The lead is fully bonded with the wood surround and is therefore particularly break-resistant. The Castell 9000 is available in 16 different degrees of hardness, making it the ideal pencil for all technical and artistic applications.

  • 12 graphite pencils of superior quality with finely graded degrees of hardness 8B - 2H
  • Ideal for artistic work, demanding studies and sketches
  • Extra break-resistant, easy to sharpen and erase
  • Environmentally-friendly water-based varnish
  • Available individually and in various assorted sets


Faber Castell Pitt Mixed Media Set - Graphite 11pc

Faber-Castell's Pitt Graphic range provides all creative artists with an extensive range of pencils and crayons in different grades of hardness for sketching, graphic design and shading work.

The "green pencil from Faber", which was already being mentioned with approval by Van Gogh and Goethe, has now become part of everyday life. The 16 different grades of hardness range from a delicate grey hue to a deep graphite black, and offer artists a wide range of possibilities.

The Pitt Graphite Pure leads are ideal for creating contrasts and shading extended areas. These pencils offer unparalleled possibilities for spontaneous expression, creating different effects based on the pressure applied and grade of hardness. The Pitt graphite crayons are an ideal and very economical medium for working on very large sketches and areas.

  • The professional quality starter set in a tin
  • A carefully selected range of Castell 9000, Castell 9000 Jumbo and Graphite Aquarelle pencils in hardness grades 2B and 8B
  • Pitt Graphite Pure pencils in hardness grades 3B and 6B
  • Pitt Graphite crayons in hardness grade 6B and accessories
  • Ideal for use on the move


Prismacolor Graphite Drawing Set 18pc

The Prismacolor Premier Turquoise Graphite Drawing Set contains an assortment of tools well-suited for a wide variety of projects.

This set of high-quality graphite pencils includes Premier Turquoise Graphite Pencils for drawing and shading, Premier Woodless Graphite Pencils for broad coverage, and Premier Water-Soluble Graphite Pencils for flowing textures. The set comes with one steel pencil sharpener, one sanding board and two erasers.

  • Graphite pencils in a range of values allow for technique variation from highlights to mid-tones and shadows
  • Woodless graphite pencils can deliver broad strokes or sharpened to a point for detailed work
  • Water-soluble pencils lay down rich dark marks that can be mixed with water to create a transparent wash
  • Steel sharpener and sanding board helps create a sharp pencil point
  • Vinyl Magic Rub eraser is ideal for delicate surfaces and versatile Kneaded Eraser moulds easily to erase fine details



Pencil Sets for the Charcoal Enthusiast

Derwent Tinted Charcoal Pencil

Derwent Tinted Charcoal offers the dramatic beauty of traditional charcoal with a gentle hint of colour.
Natural charcoal particles have been mixed with the finest clays then encased in wood to produce a wonderfully expressive drawing tool.
The unique deep and light colour tones of charcoal in pencil form make the medium clean and easy to use but provides all the drama and impact expected from charcoal. The colours smudge and blend beautifully to produce deep, rich and diverse tones, making Tinted Charcoal ideal for all type of portraiture and landscape studies

Mont Marte Charcoal Pencils - Coloured 12pc

Mont Marte Coloured Charcoal is available in 4 earthy colours that have been favoured by the masters for centuries. 

Originally sketches were produced as studies for paintings. 

Now drawing with these materials is recognised as a fine medium in its own right. 

These pencils will capture the warmth of a wide range of subject matter including still life, landscapes, and life drawing. 

Great set for beginners

Includes 2 x White Charcoal Pencil: Fantastic for creating highlights and may be used to blend with other colours to create midtones. 

Try using this on dark or tinted paper for dramatic effects.

2 x Sanguine Charcoal Pencil: Sanguine is a reddish-brown colour, very similar to Burnt Sienna. 

Create warm tones in your sketches and illustrations,

2 x Sepia Charcoal Pencil: Sepia is a brown colour, similar to Burnt Umber. 

Render shadows and make bold outlines with this deep rich brown.

6 x Black Charcoal: Black charcoal can be used alone or in conjunction with other colours in the set. 

Included are 2 each of soft, medium and hard pencils to suit your sketching needs.


Pencil Sets for those who love Pastels

Faber Castell Pitt Pastel Pencil

The Pitt pastel pencils contain a high level of pigment, but are wax and oil-free, and are perfectly suited for fine details in pastels. Just like the Polychromos pastel crayons they can be easily smudged to create fine colour transitions and perfectly complement the pastel crayons. Only minimal fixing is required, ensuring that the pastel drawings retain their vividness of colour. 

  • Artists pastel pencil
  • High-quality acid-free pigments in bright colours, unsurpassed lightfastness
  • Vibrant colour laydown
  • Perfect for smudging
  • Thick 4.3 mm lead
  • Suitable for use with fixatives

Derwent Pastel Pencil

Derwent Pastel Pencils have the same expressive qualities of Derwent hard pastels in a more controlled pencil. These professional-quality pencils are ideal for use as an individual medium or for detailing in combination with pastel work.

Naturally water-soluble, they complement the pastel blocks perfectly without the mess. They have a soft, powdery texture for a soft, velvety finish and are ideal for mixing and blending. Each pencil is tabbed with its colour and is pre-sharpened for immediate use.

Pastels are usually all about getting your hands dirty but not with Derwent Pastel Pencils. The wide colour strip is powdery and soft so mixing and blending is really easy and because it's encased in wood you get the pastel effect without the mess (if you can resist using your fingers to blend!)

The smooth, round barrels are 8.0 mm wide and made from California incense cedar wood which combines maximum control with ease of use to create the best drawings and sketches.


Mont Marte Signature Colour Pastel Illustration Set 37pc

Create vibrant artworks with our Colour Pastel Illustration Set 37pc!
Inside this mixed media art set is a range of pigmented drawing tools, including pastel pencils, charcoals and sketch pencils that offer a smooth application, making them a breeze to use across a variety of projects. 
You’ll also find other essentials like a sharpener, erasers and three different paper types so that you can draw straight away. 

This set is a great gift that has everything for those just getting into pastels or for experienced artists that want to add to their collection.

  • Suitable for a range of drawing, sketching and illustrating projects
  • Great gift set with all essential tools included
  • Non-toxic


Pencil Sets for the Seasoned Artist

Faber Castell Polychromos Colour Pencils

Polychromos artists' pencils are valued internationally by professionals for their unsurpassed quality. The high-quality standards of the Polychromos coloured pencils shine through, whether they are used for graphics, artistic free style or for the exact rendition of plans.

  • Unsurpassed Lightfastness - Each Polychromos pencil contains the highest quality pigments for permanent colour and unsurpassed lightfastness (resistance to fading).
  • Easy to blend - Buttery smooth colour laydown, Polychromos Pencils feature oil-based leads that can be easily blended for layered effects, highlights and transitions without the concern of waxy bloom that results with wax-based pencils
  • Break-resistant leads - Polychromos Pencils feature thick 3.8 mm leads that are break and water-resistant. 
  • Leads are SV-bonded the entire length of the barrel resulting in easy sharpening and longer-lasting art materials
  • High-quality acid-free pigments in bright colours, unsurpassed lightfastness
  • Soft, vibrant colour laydown
  • Water-resistant and smudge-proof
  • Thick 3.8 mm lead
  • High break resistance due to secural bonding process (SV)


Derwent Lightfast Colouring Pencil

Derwent Lightfast Colouring Pencils have been formulated with a revolutionary 100% lightfast make-up ensuring your colours will remain brilliant and bright without fading; keeping your artworks looking their best for years to come. This durable tin contains 24 Lightfast Pencils in a range of stunning and versatile colours.


Pencil Sets for Portrait Artists

Derwent Coloursoft Skintone 6pc

Derwent Colorsoft pencils are soft, smooth, and velvety. Comfortable in hand, they produce thick, soft lines. The Skintone line is ideal for bold contemporary still life to portraiture and more detailed work like fashion illustration and landscapes. Colors sharpen to a fine point and are highly blendable. And, the strong core glides smoothly over a wide variety of drawing surfaces. Due to their softness you’ll be able to work much faster. The hard 4mm core allows for a crisper edge and better control, which produces better results than most other skintone lines. Colorsoft pencils are acid-free and tested for lightfastness. A color tab at the top of the pencil matches the core color for easy identification. And, they’re pre-sharpened, so you can get to work right away!

Prismacolor Premier Colouring Pencil Tin Of 24 - Portrait

This Prismacolor Premier Colouring Pencil Tin Of 24 features an assortment of coloured pencils specifically designed for portrait artwork. They are artist quality and ideal for every level of expertise.

The pencils have high-quality pigment for rich colour saturation and the soft, thick cores create a smooth colour laydown.

Set includes 24 pencils and a metal tin - perfect for keeping your pencils safe and easy to travel with. 


Mont Marte Pastel Pencils - Skin Tints 12pc

Create amazing portrait drawings with these natural skin tone pastel pencils.

  • 12 colours
  • Natural Wood Pencils
  • Traditional Portrait Colours
  • High-Quality Pigments

Cretacolor Studio Pastel Pencil Set - Portrait 8pc

Cretacolor’s products are internationally recognised as being of very high quality, with high colour intensity, rich colour laydown and superior lightfastness. 

The ideal complement to the other Cretacolor Studio Line pastel pencil sets, Cretacolor Artists' Studio Line Pastel Pencil Set contains the basic colours needed for figure drawing. Each pastel pencil is enveloped in a protective case of cedar.

Rich pigmentation and high lightfastness guarantee brilliant results. Fixing is required. Pencils are pre-sharpened. Each pencil set is conveniently packaged in cardboard boxes. This pastel pencil set of 8 Coloured Pencils.

  • These highly pigmented, oil-free pastel pencils are rated LFII on the lightfast scale and are ideal for studies in nature, still life and portraits.
  • Fixing is recommended upon completion of work.
  • Non-toxic and conform to ASTMD-4236.


Pencil Sets for the Mixed Media Explorer

Faber Castell Pitt Mixed Media Set - Monochrome 12pc

The monochrome colours of black, white, sanguine and sepia can be found in life drawing classes at almost every art school. They bring pictures to life with vitality and expression. This is an old tradition of figure drawing that dates back to the Renaissance, enhanced with white and with shadows deepened with black. Faber-Castell's Pitt monochrome crayons hark back to this long tradition of figure drawing, which is why the crayons designed for sketching are harder than conventional pastel crayons. For this reason, the lines do not disappear completely when smudged. The sanguine and sepia crayons are supplemented by oil-free and oil-based drawing pencils for sketching and details.

  • Set includes 1 Castell 9000 2B graphite pencil, 1 Pitt Graphite Pure pencil 6B, 1 Pitt artists' natural charcoal pencil medium, 2 Pitt Oil Base artists' pencils (black medium, sanguine), 2 Pitt Pastel pencils (walnut brown, white soft), 4 Pitt Pastel crayons and 1 kneadable eraser


Prismacolor Deluxe Sketching Set 13pc

This premium sketching set is designed for advanced artists, beginners, and professionals.

It features a range of products, ideal for a variety of sketching styles and experimentation with different techniques. 

The set includes:

3x Prismacolor Premier Turquoise Graphite Pencils: Ideal for rough layouts or technical drawings. The 4H & 2H pencils are ideal for creating easily erasable initial layouts and the HB pencil is ideal for all types of sketching

2x Prismacolor Premier Col-Erase Pencils: The high-quality Carmine Red & Non-Photo Blue are great for design or illustration work, and feature a built-in eraser

1x Prismacolor Premier Ebony Pencil: Perfect for portrait work, sketching and illustrations. It features a smooth, dark graphite lead that blends easily and can produce light and dark lines

1x Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencil: Soft, thick cores create a smooth colour laydown for excellent blending and shading

1x Prismacolor Premier Dual-Ended Chisel Marker: High-quality marker provides rich colour saturation with smooth ink laydown. Chisel tip creates broad, medium or fine lines. The fine tip is perfect for precise, detailed work

1x Prismacolor Premier Magic Rub Eraser: Soft, sturdy vinyl erasers gently and the edges are perfect for erasing intricate details 

1x Prismacolor Premier Kneaded Eraser: Malleable eraser can be kneaded into any shape for easy removal of small details or large areas

1x Prismacolor Premier Mini Sharpener

1x Prismacolor Premier Blending stump

1x Prismacolor Premier Sketching Tips & Tricks Booklet


Metallic Pencils for those who love all things shiny

Derwent Metallic Colouring Pencil

Introduce a little sparkle to your sketches and drawings with these bright, highly reflective pencils.

They work best on a dark background (try Mont Marte's Black Page Sketch Books) and can be used on their own or with other media to add brilliant definition and glowing highlights.

Derwent Metallic pencils are water-soluble, so you can also create interesting line and wash effects.

Great for all kinds of creative projects.


What’s your go-to pencil set? Share your sets and work on Instagram and tag us at @artshedonline for your chance to be featured!

Got questions? Email us at and our friendly team will do their best to assist you!

Happy creating!



Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up