• Nienke Vletter

Can Winsor & Newton do colored pencils just as good as watercolours?

For most creatives Winsor & Newton is best known for their beautiful watercolors. But did you know they also have sets of colored pencils in their product range? I got to try these Studio Collection sets when I hosted several online workshops for them. Curious to find out if Winsor & Newton do colored pencils just as good as watercolours? I’ll share my thoughts with you in this review!


Remember the quality scale I talked about in my last blog?

Yes? Karma points for you! If not: here’s a small recap. In general art materials are rated from hobby (nice for your kids) to student (good quality for a good price) to artist quality (best quality, lightfast, higher price). With the Winsor & Newton Studio Collection I feel like they are at the top of the student quality range.


And although these aren’t artist quality, you can be sure Winsor & Newton will not deliver poor quality. The pigments are really nice, the pencils have a good color application and they’re packed in stylish minimalistic looking metal tins, embossed with the Winsor & Newton logo. The pencils in the 24 and 48 sets are stacked on top of each other in plastic trays, making it a pretty compact set to carry with you.


More pencils, nicer colors

Like many colored pencil sets, the color range in the smaller sets is pretty standard. You’ve got your yellows, orange/reds, pinks, blues, greens, browns, black and a white. The 24 set already has better color choices, the 48 set is where it get’s really interesting for me. With more original colors like dusky rose, bright magenta, soft blues like china - and sky blue and a range of different grey tones. Also, there’s a soft turquoise called ‘duck egg’ (I seriously did NOT know ducks had pastel green eggs, but I Googled it and it's true).

A little downside of the Studio Collection pencils is that the color on the bottom of the barrel doesn’t always match the pigment color of the pencil. This is especially the case with the brown tones. So you definitely want to swatch these colors before taking off coloring with them. Luckily I LOVE swatching, but it would be easy if you could tell the color right from the barrel.

Speaking of the barrel: the Winsor & Newton Studio Collection have a kinda small barrel (comparable to the Tombow Irojiten). Personally I’d prefer a somewhat bigger barrel like the Polychromos for a better grip. But if this is the only set you’re working with, you won’t notice the difference that much.


Do you like ‘em hard or soft?

When it comes to the hard-/softness, the Winsor & Newton pencils lean more to the harder side. Which comes with the advantage of keeping a sharp point longer and that’s something I really like! It gives you the ability to draw thin lines and details. Be aware though: if you give the sharp tip too much pressure, the top of the tip might break off.

Sets and prices of the Winsor & Newton Studio Collection

The pencils are only available in 3 sets of 12, 24 and 48 colors. Not having open stock is a disadvantage for me, because you can’t stock up on your favorite colors once they’re gone. And if you’ve been following me for a while, you know my blue pencils will outrun the other colors. (Oliver Jeffers illustrated a cool book about it, which could be considered my life’s story.)

The sets have a pretty decent price, especially for the quality you get with these. On average the pencils costs less than 1 euro per pencil and even less when you buy the 48 set for around 40 euros.

Look out for the twin sister: Winsor & Newton watercolour pencil

Within the Studio Collection product range there also is a nice series of watercolour pencils. The colors are the same and they look pretty similar, so pay attention when you purchase the pencils. How to spot the difference? Besides stating it on the packaging, you can tell them apart by the color of the barrel. The watercolour pencils have a white barrel, the regular colored pencils light grey.

So, in conclusion, the final verdict?

If you’re looking for a good quality pencil with an affordable price, then I’d definitely recommend the Winsor & Newton Studio Collection. Especially if this is your first proper set of pencils, you won’t regret is. You will have a lot of fun with these. Are you already more experienced and ready to step up your game? Then I recommend looking into artist quality pencils like (my current favorite pencils) Faber-Castell Polychromos or Caran D’ache Luminance.

Want more reviews on art supplies?

This is definitely not the end of my colored pencils reviews. But to color with them, you also need paper.


And because it’s also nice switch things up from time to time, next week I’ll start with the review of some sketchbooks. Want to see when I post a new blog? Come follow me on Instagram!


Do you have any more questions about the Winsor & Newton pencils? Drop me a comment below!

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