These Cheap Watercolor Pencils Are Perfect for Beginners

Find out what we thought of Crayola’s 24-piece Watercolor Pencil set.

By Jasmine Lim

Crayola Watercolor Pencils

If you’re looking to create cool watercolor effects on your adult coloring pages but aren’t sure where to begin, let us introduce an affordable easy-to-use coloring tool perfect for getting started: Crayola Watercolor Pencils. While high-quality watercolor pencils are great, we’re here to tell you that you don’t need to break the bank to get quality pencils, especially if you’re just wanting to explore a new medium. We tested these adult coloring-friendly watercolor pencils to help you decide if you should add these to your toolkit. Read on for our complete review.

Crayola Watercolor Pencil SwatchesCrayola Watercolor Pencils come in sets of 12 and 24, each pack with a variety of hues to choose from. What’s super neat about these two-in-one tools is that you can use them to create two different looks: traditional colored pencil drawings and watercolor art. And, if you’re new to watercolor pencils, Crayola’s got you covered: The back of the box features a quick-and-dirty guide to getting started, including three different methods you can use with watercolor pencils!

Related: How to Use Watercolor Pencils on Coloring Pages

The Paper Test

Because watercolor pencils require, well, water to be used to their fullest extent, the paper you choose to use with them is key. We chose to test two heavier stock papers—28-pound digital copy paper and 90-pound watercolor paper by Canson— to see what will work, and what won’t. Here’s what we found:

Digital Copy Paper: 

Watercolor Pencils on 28lb Paper

Thanks to digital copy paper’s glossy finish, these pencils glided across the page quite smoothly. We did have to apply pressure to get the bold colors we wanted, but once we added several layers of pigment the colors were even and bright. To create a watercolor look, we used a paintbrush dipped in water but the results didn’t turn out exactly as we’d hoped. Though somewhat blendable, we had a hard time creating a watercolor effect and smoothing out the harsh pencil lines. Once dry, we also noticed significant paper warp-age with some slight bleed-through on the back. For future coloring, we think this type of paper is okay for beginners to practice different watercolor pencil techniques on—just make sure you don’t plan on using the other side and don’t mind a little warping!

Watercolor Paper:

Watercolor Pencils on Watercolor Paper

This thick and textured paper usually works best with any type of watercolor related tools. Here, we didn’t have to work as hard to get vibrant hues. The pencil pigment moved more freely and we were able to produce a decent gradient and blended out the pencil marks pretty easily. Plus, since watercolor paper is thicker, there was minimal paper warp-age and zero bleed through. Long story short: Invest in watercolor paper if you’re going to be using watercolor pencils on your coloring pages.

What About Other Tools?

Watercolor Pencil Brush vs. Blender
Right: Watercolor Brush & Water; Left: Tombow Dual Brush Colorless Blender

It’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to stick to a paintbrush and water when using these watercolor pencils. We experimented using a Tombow Dual Brush Colorless Blender and got surprisingly good results! Though the colorless blender marker won’t create a super watercolor-y effect, it did blend the colors together very well. Plus, there was far less paper warping. If you like a more traditional colored pencil look, consider using a colorless blender with your watercolor pencils.

Pros and Cons:

While the colors tend to lose some vibrancy after adding water (which, let’s face it, is typical of all watercolors in general), these watercolor pencils are easy to use and super budget-friendly—two qualities we can appreciate, especially for beginner colorists.


  • Affordable
  • Smooth application
  • Wide range of colors
  • Color name printed on pencil for easy identification
  • Durable
  • Easy to blend (on watercolor paper)


  • More muted colors
  • Requires pressure to get vibrant pigmentation
  • Only come in small sets of 12 or 24

Want to purchase a set? You’ll be able to find Crayola’s Watercolor Pencils on their website as well as through most major retailers like Michaels, Target, or Amazon. This set of 24 will only cost you about $7.

Buy It Now: Crayola 24 Ct Watercolor Colored Pencils — $6.90


So, What’s the Verdict?

Despite the slight lack of color intensity, we think these tools are a solid (and inexpensive!) pick perfect for any beginner colorist who wants to start creating beautiful watercolor effects on their designs.

Tags: Tips & Techniques