Review: Holbein Artists Pastel Pencils

I have been dreaming of buying some lovely pastel coloured pencil for a while. There are a few brands on the market that make a range of pastels but the ones that I really wanted were the Holbein Artists Pastel Tone Colored Pencils 50 Colors. For Valentines wonderful Marco ordered me a set. I received them about a month after and only recently took them out to try recently. So I thought I would give my thoughts on this Holbein set, in case you too have had these pencils on your wish list.

First Impressions:

When I first received these pencils I was very impressed by the packaging. The cardboard box is sturdy and colourful and the pencil fit nice and snug in the plastic tray. I would have preferred the paper slip was stuck on the box as it slips of easily. However I have noticed more Japanese colour books have theses slips too.

The pencils come in a range of beautiful shades and the barrels look and feel of good quality wood. All the pencils are named by colour (in English) and are numbered. The pencils are only semi sharpened with a flat tip.

The inside of the box lists all the pencils in the range and notes which colours comes in each set.

A colour printed booklet is also included and is written in English and Japanese. When you open it out the inside page has pictures of each set available, 5 features (in Japanese) and a colour chart of each colour in 150 set. The back side of the booklet included more Japanese writing, a few examples of coloured pictures and another colour coded chart denoting which colours come in each set. There is a warning printed in English, to wash hands after use and not to lick pencils. I have read this brand hasn’t been approved for safety testing, which maybe why this caution is included.



Trying the pencils:

First I made my colour chart using Word, then I coloured it in. I found the pencils came out a little scratchy unless I sharpened them well enough. The pencils are very lovely are creamy, yet firm enough to not cause breakage or splitting, even when sharpened to a fine point. I was very impressed by the vibrancy of the colours and the ease of use. On my colour chart the shades don’t look as pretty as the pencils do side-by-side though.


Colouring with pencils:

This picture is from the Japanese colouring book, Princess girl Coloring World by Makoto Takahashi. For the colour scheme, I stuck to the colours that the artists used in the original work. The original coloured picture and many others are included at the beginning of this book. At some stage, I will do a few more pictures from this book and do a book review and flip through for you. 

Since I did need to use some colours outside of the Holbein Pastel range, I used Prismacolor Premier Pencils. These two brands complemented each other very nicely, as they are both soft and blend beautifully. 

I am quite happy with how these pencils performed and they blend really lovely together and with the Prismacolor pencils. The colours are very delicate and fair, but they do give good coverage to the paper and don’t need a heavy hand to put down the colours. I did have a couple issues with some streaky when blending some colours with darker colours. I recommend trying them first to see what combination you should use and what to put down first.


I’m very happy with my new pencils and will utilise them in my Japanese colouring books for softer shades. Perhaps one day I will by the full set. My only issue other then the high price is that I can’t buy open stock. However I do have friends in Japan, so perhaps they will help me out.

I hope you enjoyed my review and would love to hear your thoughts and experience of Holbein pencils.

9 thoughts on “Review: Holbein Artists Pastel Pencils

    1. Thanks Carolyn 🙂 🙏 Colour charts are great to know what you have to pick the colour you need. I’m always using them because the pencil barrels are sometimes hard to tell. Yes these ones are very expensive. My partner bought these ones on Ebay for me and since they were just the pastels they weren’t as expensive as the other cases. If I had been colouring so long these ones wouldn’t be my first choice, especially since I go through pencils and need to replace them as I used them. But I was really wanting pastel, instead of blending my pencils with white all the time. If your just getting started but want to get a large pack, I have heard that Marco Renoir and Guanghui (Hero) Colored Pencils are pretty good and cheap. Otherwise if you wanting artist quality I do like the Prismacolor pencils. Derwent Inktense are also fun to activate with water.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So far I just use Prismacolor. I really love coloring but don’t have a lot of time for it, I really enjoy seeing what you do!! One of these days I’ll make more time for it and post on my blog what I have done!! Thank you for sharing your expertise:)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No problem Carolyn. Prismacolor are great. When you have time there are plenty of youtube video tutorials. I found these really helpful to get better results. But yes its a hobby that takes alot of time and money if you get addicted like me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I like your chart which is a good idea and I plan do it myself I’ve just bought a 12 set of Holbein pastel coloured pencils to start with (was hoping to buy open stock for the others that I’d like. ). They look and perform just like you said in your review Thank you.


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