Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

The Best Pens and Pencils for Adult Coloring Books – July 2019

Unsharpen may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Adult coloring books have moved from being a quirky fad to being a real thing. A real, relaxing, nothing-to-be-embarassed about thing… and we fully endorse them. If you want to relax and do some art, with none of the stress of painting or figuring out what to draw, a coloring book can be the perfect way to zone out and destress.

So what are the best pens and pencils, and whatever else, for your coloring book?

The Best Pens for Adult Coloring Books

So, to be clear, pens aren’t typically used for coloring, but adult coloring books can get very details, so a pen is often a very good choice… if you get the right ones. Enough people ask for pen recommendations for this purpose that it’s worth delivering some recommendations through, so here goes! Obviously the big drawback of pens is that they cannot write over a crayon, so keep that limitation in mind if you plan on going the colored pencil route.

Stabilo 88 Fineliners

The Stabilo 88 is a fantastic set of fineliner pens. A fineliner means they have a felt (or felt-like) tip so some people might consider them markers, but in our book a fineliner is a pen, and the official name of this product is the Stabilo 88 Fineliner Pen. These are so good because they come in a wide range of colors, they write well, and the tip holds up nicely. Nothing is more disappointing than a fineliner with a messy, scratchy writing tip and that tends not to happen with the Stabilio 88. The only drawback is that these pens are quite thin, so writing with them for too long can lead to some discomfort.

Uni-Ball Signo Broad UM-153

You are going to want a Signo Broad UM-153 gel pen in white. This is a great gel pen that not only can act as a correction pen for ink, it’s wet enough to color in large sections of white area. It’s no fun to have to use White-out or correction tape, but mistakes do happen so the UM-153 is a great pen to have around.

Fiskars Gel Pens

The Fiskars Gel Pen 48-Piece-Set is a true bargain on a set of very good pens. 48 pens means every color you are going to need, and then they are high-quality gel pens from a name you trust — well, trusted for scissors at least — making this set a real win.

Uni-ball Signo UM-153

If you are looking for a gel pen with the best possible track record then the UM-153 is the way to go. This pen sells in big sets, has a reasonable price tag (not quite as affordable as the Fiskars), comes in great colors, has all sorts of metallics/glitters, and it is one of the most reliable gel pens sold today. It’s a bit of a no-brainer if you are OK with the price tag.

Frixion Colors

These are more marker than pen, but the Frixion Colors set of erasable markers are phenomenal. They are great at coloring and they are fully erasable, unlike like any marker you’ve ever used.

The Best Pencils for Adult Coloring Books

Sargent Art Colored Pencils

This super affordable ($10 for 50 pencils) is an ideal beginners set thanks to its low price and good quality. Honestly most people will never feel the need to move past this level as you have a nice array of colors and a good-enough quality colored pencil. The colors and textures aren’t what you’d get from a fancier set, but you can’t beat the value here. The pencil lead is an OK but not great 3.3 mm.

For more information read our Sargent Art Colored Pencil review.

Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils

If you want to make the step up to an artist-grade colored pencil set then the Polychromos from Faber-Castell  is a great option. Now you are getting a set with blendable colors, a nice storage tin, acid-free pigments for stable storage, lightfast colors, and water-resistant material. The pencil lead is snap-resistant 3.8 mm.

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

When it’s type for some serious coloring, you want series colored pencils — the Prismacolor Premier. This set has a serious price ($20 for 24) but the quality is top-notch. These are professional-grade, hide-them-from-the-kids good colored pencils.

Why are these pencils such standouts? You can an oil-based core (as opposed to being wax-based), the 3.8 mm soft core the is very blendable and chip-resistant, lightfast colors, and the best possible pigments that look amazing on their own but also shade and layer better than a typical colored pencil.

If the Premier soft-cored colored pencils are not ideal for you then Prismacolor also offers the Premier Verithin, which — as the name implies — has a thin, hard lead inside. These are generally recommended for outlining but not coloring in larger sections of color.

Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencil

If you want something a little quirky but still quite interesting, don’t miss this set of pastels. The Stabilo CarbOthello has a 4.4 mm lead and brilliant colors that will blend well and give you excellent colors. These are often a great option for fine details as you would find in a more advanced adult coloring book.

And with that, you should be all set to color your stress away! You might want to throw in a pencil sharper too, but with that you’ll be completely set. No more accessories needed.

Don’t Miss: Best Gel Pens Guide