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The Difference Between Wax Based and Oil Based Colored Pencils

Many artists still prefer wax-based colored pencils to oil-based colored pencils. Oil-based colored pencils cost more than wax-based colored pencils. This post looks at the differences between these two types of colored pencils.

Wax-based and Oil-based Colored Pencils

Colored pencils have a wooden (or synthetic) outer casing and a colored core. The core is a mixture of pigment and binder. The oil or wax is the binder that enables the Artist to spread the pigment on the paper.

Pros and Cons of Wax Pencils

Wax pencils are generally less expensive, but cheaper does not mean bad.

Wax based colored pencils offer a ‘buttery’ texture on the final piece. This is a soft and shiny appearance. Many expert artists love this texture as it adds some vibrancy and beauty to their work.

Wax based colored pencil cores are harder so may shatter if the pencil be dropped or struck. When sharpened, the core may break-off in lumps and you will have to continue sharpening to get the point. 

The main issues with wax-based colored pencils is that they may be depleted faster (such as due to the effects of sharpening) and over time the wax can ‘bloom’ through evaporation (though the bloom can easily be wiped off with a damp cloth).

Pros and Cons of Oil-Based Colored Pencils

The oil does not evaporate so there will not be a bloom on the finished work, which will last longer.

Premium oil-based colored pencils will last longer because they are softer and be less prone to the core shattering when the pencil is dropped or sharpened.  

But you don’t get the buttery texture and warm effects of wax-based colored pencils.  

Buy Your Wax Based Colored Pencils from Color Swell!

Have a look at the Color Swell wax-based colored pencils!