Review: Faber-Castell Polychromos

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Review: Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils

Of all the dry drawing materials my favourite is the color pencil.

It’s such a versatile, ready to go tool. Artist grade pencils are a high quality must have drawing tool. In this review I am going to talk about one of my favourites the Polychromos by Faber-Castell. Usually,a colored pencil is pigments and or coloring agents mixed with a binder (wax, oil, water-soluble gum, or combinations) and other additives, encased in  wood.


Faber-Castell is a German company that creates fine art products, an art supplies for kids, students and professional artists. Production of pencils started as far back as 1861. The Polychromos were invented in 1908 and their name means “many colors”. Available in 120 colors.



Polychromos are a unique high quality tool. They are oil based that makes them stand out from the crowd, opposite the wax based version from other brands. This allows for solvent blending like if you’re working with oil colors. Working with Polychromos and their oil binder that holds and spreads the pigment like no other. There’s no chance for wax build up or bloom over time, and you can see difference right away.


They have a very vibrant color range. The high grade quality pigments are lightfast meaning they will last for years. The leads are hard and break resistant that makes them one of the most robust pencils a round. The manufacturing process ensures a standard of quality that’s applied consistently.


The quality of a color pencil depends on the amount of pigment and binder, and also the quality of the wood barrel. The most popular wood for pencils is cedar.


I bought the 120 ful set as gift for myself. Mesmerized by the colors and the beautiful tin box, couldn’t wait to explore the possibilities. All the pencils had names and information printed on the barrel. Even the lightfastness. That proved very useful information. Made my very own color chart and had fun sawtching them out. The Faber Castell Polychromos performance is outstanding from the start. I wanted to do a realistic portrait from the get go so decided on layering the pigment in many light layers, slowly building up the values and colors. Only used pencil on pencil, with no solvents added. Achieved beautiful vibrant colors.


The Polychromos made me passionate about colored pencil. And made me consider this as serious medium filled with possibility. It’s a robust, versatile pencil, a elegantly crafted tool that well deserves the price you pay. One of the great bonus is that they are sold open stock everywhere, so you can buy the specific color to refill your collection and keep the all range available. So even if you can affoard the 120, you build up from a smaller box (12,24,36,72). Hope you get the chance to try them someday

Thank you for reading!


If you like to commission me to do a piece in colored pencil, you can reach me with the contact form here.
Thank you for your interest!

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