Colored Pencil Sets
Most colored pencils (a.k.a. crayons) are sold in sets. They usually come in two sizes, one small and one large. The small ones may be 3.5 inches long and the longer ones 7 inches. The diameter varies, but 7 mm, 7.2 mm and 7.4 mm are not uncommon. The lead may be 2 to 3 mm. Other diameter sizes are 5.0 or 45 x 90 mm,
Depending on the manufacturer, the sizes may be stated in centimeters (i.e. 45 x 31 x 39 cm). The number of pencils in a box varies as well. Common numbers are 12, 24 and 36 pieces. Aside from the colored pencils sizes, the shapes differ; some are round, while others are triangular or hexagonal.
The average #2 hexagonal pencil is ¼ in (6 mm). The largest pencil is 76 ft (24 m) long. It weighs 18,000 lbs (8,200 kg).
Types of Colored Pencils
There are three types of colored pencils; the watercolor based, wax based and the oil based pencils. All three types are available in the sizes indicated earlier.
The wax based pencils are very useful for the layering colors. This technique involves lightly glazing colors on the paper. This allows an artist to build up rich colors. Instead of just using a black color, you can layer colors, from light to dark.
The colored pencils sizes mentioned earlier apply to oil based pencils too. Application is the same as wax based pencils. The only difference is that turpentine should be used instead of a blender. These tools are used to mix colors. Watercolor based colored pencils are also popular. Used properly they can produce painterly effects.
Other Pencil Sizes and Types
There are many types of pencils with varying sizes. The softest is the 9B type. They go down to the 8B, 7B, 6B etc. Types B to HB are categorized as medium soft. Pencil sizes and types F, H, 2H and 9H are the hardest. These colored pencils sizes are sometimes used with crayons too.
For wooden artists, the 7 inch, 2 mm diameter is the most popular. Somewhat similar to the colored pencil is the graphite crayon. They measure 7 mm in diameter. Others come in at 8 or 12 mm.
Grades for office pencils are different. They are 1 (very soft), 2 (soft), 3 (medium soft), 2 ½ (medium soft), 3 (hard), 4 (very hard). Other pencil manufacturers have more extensive grades. For artists this can be important; grading determines the shades that a pencil can produce.
When layering, apply the colors lightly. Make sure the drawing is detailed and correct. No amount of coloring will help fix an incorrect drawing.
While colored pencils sizes are usually 3.5 to 7” there is no standard for colors. Manufacturers employ different names for the same color. For this reason you may need to compare brands before buying one.