A few of you have asked me: "If I'm just starting out, which should I choose: oil-based pencils or wax-based pencils?"
Really, both types of pencils work the same, and can be blended in the same ways. If you're planning to purchase from open stock, don't be afraid to buy a few from each brand you're considering, and see which one feels right to you. Also - don't feel like you have to limit yourself to one brand. Most brands work together well.
Consider which properties of the pencil brand are important to you.
- What's your budget? (Oil pencils do tend to be more expensive.)
- How many colors do you want?
- Will you buy a set, or open stock? Will you commit to one brand, or do you feel free to mix and match?
- What type of blending will you do? (Check the color swatches HERE and HERE for comparisons in your preferred technique.)
- What's your coloring style - lots of patient layering, shading, etc? (Oil pencils hold their points longer.) Bright, vibrant, solid blocks of color? (Check the laydown ratings below.)
- Will you be coloring on black or darker cardstock? (Check the brightness rating below, and see the comparison HERE).
I gave number ratings to each pencil property as I tested them, and did my best to be objective. Here's my comparison of all the types mentioned in a chart form so you can see more clearly how they compare to each other.
These are the pencils I used:
I love slow, layered coloring for the depth and texture it can express, and these pencils all worked so well together. I used Prismacolor, Polychromos, Holbein, Coloursoft, Blick, and Pablo pencils to color, just blending with the pencils themselves. Here's a closer look.
Hopefully this information is helpful to you! I'm happy to pass on my thoughts to help you make a more informed decision if you're wanting to start or expand your pencil collection - I know it can be daunting to find art supplies that are just right for you.