Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils

Top 10 Tips For Using Polychromos Pencils

What Are Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils?

Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils are professional artist’s quality colour pencils.  They come in a wide range of 120 colours which are made with pure pigments giving you a high level of covering power and light-fastness.  Each lead is encased in California cedar wood by the Secural bonding method which strengthens the lead to resist breakage and provides a very sharp point.  The oil based lead is water resistant, smudge proof and can be easily blended and layered.

Polychromos Pencils give a creamy smooth soft stroke with excellent covering power.  They can be used on paper, card, wood, fabric and more.

Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils

Top 10 Tips For Using Polychromos Pencils:

Artist Chris Woodfield uses Polychromos Pencils to create vibrant, detailed Marvel comic characters on paper, fabric and walls.


Chris Woodfield's 'Iron Man' Polychromos Pencils
Chris Woodfield’s ‘Iron Man’ Drawn With Polychromos Pencils


We asked Chris for his top 10 tips and techniques for using Polychromos Pencils:

1.  I use a Scalpel for sharpening my Polychromos Pencils.  The strong lead allows for a very fine point and incredible detail.

2.  A Faber Castell Perfection Pencil is a brilliant tool for erasing small mistakes or creating soft highlights.  I find it better than putty erasers due to increased grip and accuracy.

3.  Always keep your Polychromos Pencils sharp!  Whether shading or cross hatching, a sharp pencil yields better colour results.

4.  Temperature can affect pencils and you can use this to your advantage.  A warmer pencil will blend more easily which is ideal when covering large areas.

5.  When blending colours, for example, a light flesh and brown ochre, I use the light flesh colour as a blender to take off the hard edges.  This works for all light and dark blending.   Experiment for some unique shades!

6.  I find Polychromos Pencils perfect for using over the top of Acrylic Paints.  The fact that they don’t smudge makes them easy to work with and produces brilliant effects and textures.

7.  When using your Polychromos Pencils on fabrics, remember to spray on some Fixative once you’ve finished a colour layer and repeat the process often to let the previous colour layer show through in your work.

8.  Keep a spare piece of paper or card next to you whilst drawing.  It becomes invaluable for testing out colour combinations, without ruining your work.

9.  Zest It Pencil Blend is ideal for blending oil based coloured pencils.  Use this medium to blend colours together, soften hard edges and to lay down large areas of smooth colour.  Zest-it leaves no residue on or in the paper and it smells lovely!

10.  Don’t limit yourself!  Polychromos Pencils are beautiful on paper, card and fabrics and with the right cleaning and preparation can be used to create murals on walls and designs on pretty much any surface you can imagine!


Chris Woodfield Uses Polychromos Pencils On Lampshades
Chris Woodfield Uses Polychromos Pencils On Lampshades

What Are The Key Features Of Polychromos Pencils?

–  Polychromos Pencils have excellent covering power.

–  Oil based leads are harder than wax based leads, allowing them to sharpen really well and retain their sharp point throughout.  They are deal for achieving fine detail.

–  Polychromos Pencils have a smooth buttery colour that can be layered and blended repeatedly with the use of a blending medium.

–  The leads are break resistant due to the SV bonding method.  Secural bonding is where the lead is glued to the wood on both sides and down the full length of the pencil.  This strengthens the lead, prevents breakage and allows for better sharpening.  If the lead were to break it would not fall out of the pencil.

–  Smudge proof and water resistant oil based lead can be used on paper, card, fabric, wood, walls, vellum and more.

–  Only the highest quality lightfast pigments are used by Faber Castell in the range of 120 Polychromos Pencils.


Chris Woodfield Uses Polychromos Pencils
Chris Woodfield Uses Polychromos Pencils

What Colours Are Available In Polychromos Pencils?

There are 120 colours available in the Faber Castell Polychromos Pencil range.

You can buy Polychromos Pencils In Single Colours or in sets of 12, 24, 36, 60 or a Set Of The Full Range Of 120 Polychromos Pencils.  Polychromos Pencils are part of the Faber-Castell colour matching system.  If you decide to use other products from Faber-Castell ranges the colours will match.


Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils Tin Of 120 Colours


Faber Castell’s Polychromos pencils are used worldwide by professional artists and amateurs alike.  Unsurpassed lightfastness and high pigment quality have ensured their appeal.  Whether you plan to use them for drawing, rendering or on fabric, you will love using Polychromos Pencils and the sets make an ideal gift for artists and students.

Botanical Artist Ann Swan recommends Polychromos Pencils and finds that the hardness of the lead and subsequent lack of breakage makes them very economical.


For great prices on Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils and other Art Supplies shop online with Pullingers Art Shop.


Do you have any tips on using Polychromos Pencils?

21 thoughts on “Top 10 Tips For Using Polychromos Pencils

  1. Polychromos are brilliant vibrant pencils and I wouldn’t use anything else. My one tip is to wipe with a tissue or piece of kitchen towel your coloured pencil points after sharpening.

  2. I would like some recommendations on the most suitable paper for using Faber Castell Polychromos pencils. I like fine detail finishes and normally work on A3 pads. Never used polychromos before but really looking forward on purchasing a tin of pencils and producing coloured pieces.Hope you can help.Thank you.

    1. Hello Graham, thanks for your question.

      Polychromos pencils can be used on a variety of surfaces (including wood and even some fabrics), and most cartridge papers would make an ideal surface for them. For your finer detailed work, may I recommend the Winsor & Newton Smooth Surface Heavyweight Cartridge Paper, as the smoothness will help you to achieve the details that you are looking for. You can find more information about this paper here: http://www.pullingers.com/c/1483/art-papers-card-and-boards/sketch-pads/winsor-newton-smooth-surface-heavyweight-cartridge-paper-220gsm/

      I hope you enjoy using Polychromos pencils, they are beautiful to work with and they are the pencil of choice for many coloured pencil artists.
      Kind regards,

      1. Hello Alex,

        Polychromos are the ideal pencil for drawing animals as they are fine enough to make the fur look very realistic. For paper, I would suggest something smooth if you are looking for fine details. The Winsor & Newton Smooth Surface Cartridge Pad is a great one to get started with. (http://www.pullingers.com/c/1483/art-papers-card-and-boards/sketch-pads/winsor-newton-smooth-surface-heavyweight-cartridge-paper-220gsm/ )
        Polychromos will work fine on coloured paper as well as white, and show up well even against a darker backdrop.
        You can find a list of all of the papers that we stock here: http://www.pullingers.com/categories/art-papers-card-and-boards/
        Thanks for your question,
        Kind regards,

  3. Is there a finishing spray that can be safely used on Polychromos pencil work? I would like to find some type of finish, similar to a varnish, that would make glazing unnecessary. I understand that ordinary varnishes would dissolve the pigment.


  4. Iam getting back into art from a 35 year break, one thing I cannot master is getting reflection on black, I’ve tried white and blue, but you can hardly see them, any advice would be greatly appreciated, oh I am using faber castell polychromos 120 set, would I be better using paint on top? Regards albi

    1. I use white gel pens, chalk, white pastel to achieve a reasonable reflection effect and layering too. Another method is simply using an eraser in areas where sunlight is needed as a reflection 🙂 Examples of my work are on my website if you need any help.

  5. I do pyrography ( burning on wood ) can I use Fabre castell polychromas pencils to colour in and then seal my finished burn with a water based varnish like I do when I use acrylic paints?

    1. Hi Bob,

      Faber Castell Polychromos pencils will work well on wood, but i couldn’t say for sure that they will work for the specific technique that you use.
      A water-based varnish will be fine for Polychromos, as they are oil-based pencils.
      Thanks for your query,
      Kind regards,

  6. Thanking you give advice top ten tips use for using Polychromos Pencils . I have some Polychromos Pencils i sketch and draw some picture with the help of Polychroms pencils this pictures are so nice and beautiful i also fell most comfortable to draw this pictures .. Everybody wants to buy Polychromos Pencils for drawing purpose.

  7. Hello, I am an artist and I am adding a new product to my business, I draw portraits with faber castell polychromos on paper and now want to start drawing on wood. Is there a varnish I can use over faber castell polychromos on wood such as plywood. I am desperately trying to find something that will protect the work for years to come. Thank you

  8. Hello,

    I have just bought a tin of 24 polychromos coloured pencils and wanted to buy an eraser and pencil sharpener from faber castell. There is a dark green eraser that is mentioned to work with coloured pencils. Would this one be ok and what pencil sharpener?

    Thank you so much.


  9. I want to colour on fabric with Polychromos. Do I need to finish with something else so that I can wash the fabric without losing colour?

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