The Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencil range holds 120 pencils. Do you want to know more about the colours included in this range?
You have limited time and energy, yet you want to thoroughly know your coloured pencils. You know it will take time to make colour charts and to sort your pencils according to lightfastness and type.
This post will help you save your time and your energy. It will show you what colour family colours and neutral colours are included in the Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencil range. Use this post together with our post on colour harmonies to help you choose the colours of your next artwork.
Or you can save hours of time and use a handy document we created that shows you 91 colour harmonies, 91 colour temperatures, and 960 colour combinations. Just click on the image below to purchase. Find more information about this product here.
An earlier blog post explored the question, which are the better coloured pencils and looked at four artist coloured pencil sets. Two were wax-based and two were oil-based. However, the analysis was limited to looking at four pencils in each colour wheel colour family.
It was further limited in that some coloured brands and fewer – or more – than four pencils in a colour family when grouped by lightfastness.
We have explored each of the sets.
These are the wax-based Caran d’Ache Luminance 76 and Prismacolor Premier 150 (by lightfast and non-lightfast), the oil-based Faber-Castell Polychromos 120 and Caran d’Ache Pablo 120.
Also, further to this analysis, we have had closer looks at other oil-based and wax-based pencils. The oil-based are the Derwent Procolour range of coloured pencils, and 100 Derwent Lightfast coloured pencils. The wax-based pencils we have analysed are the Derwent Drawing pencils and Prismacolor Art Stix woodless coloured pencils.
We have explored other media, such as water-based coloured pencils – these being Caran d’Ache Museum and Caran d’Ache Supracolor; Derwent Inktense blocks water soluble ink; Caran d’Ache Neopastel oil pastels, Caran d’Ache Neocolor II water soluble art crayons, and Caran d’Ache Neocolor I wax crayons..
You can read this disclaimer about the colour analysis.
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Faber Castell Polychromos Coloured Pencils
This post has images of hand drawn colour swatches for each pencil in the range.
The Faber Castell Polychromos range consists of 120 oil-based coloured pencils
Now to get a closer look, let’s separate these colours into two groups – the colour wheel colours, and the neutral colours.
The Polychromos coloured pencil colour wheel colours
The Colour Wheel Clock
The colour wheel moves clock-wise around the wheel. The image below shows the colour family positions on the clock.
Of the colour wheel colours, the make up of each colour family is outlined below. While the colours are of varying shades and tones, the predominant base colour belongs to the colour wheel colour family in which it has been placed.
Red – 12 o’clock
Starting with red at the 12.00 o’clock position, the image below shows the coloured pencils in the set of 120 includes that belong to the red colour family.
To help you see this colour family, we created a short video that shows how you can use Polychromos monochromatic red using a printable pdf we have available for purchase – PPP1010-11 Number 12 and Polychromos.
Red-Orange – 1.00 o’clock
The next colour family group is red-orange at 1.00 o’clock.
Orange – 2.00 o’clock
Next colour is orange at 2.00 o’clock.
Orange-Yellow – 3.00 o’clock
Orange-Yellow sits at the 3.00 o’clock position.
Yellow – 4.00 o’clock
At 4.00 o’clock sits Yellow.
Yellow-Green – 5.00 o’clock
Yellow-Green sits at 5.00 o’clock.
Green – 6.00 o’clock
The colour family of green sits at 6.00 o’clock.
Green-blue – 7.00 o’clock
Green-blue sits at 7.00 o’clock.
Blue – 8.00 o’clock
Blue is at the 8.00 o’clock position.
Blue-Violet – 9.00 o’clock
Blue-violet sits at the 9.00 o’clock position.
Violet – 10.00 o’clock
Violet sits at the 10.00 o’clock position.
Violet-Red – 11.00 o’clock
Violet-Red sits at the 11.00 o’clock position.
Colour wheel colour family – Summary
As you can see from the above images, the Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencil range has pencil in all the colour family colours.
If you want to know how to mix and match these colour wheel family groups. Check out our post about colour relationships.
Let’s now look at the neutral and metallic colours included in the Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencil range.
The set of 120 coloured pencils also includes neutral and metallic colours. These are shown clockwise in the image below.
First, there are the metallic pencils.
Next are the neutral-black pencils.
Next is neutral-brown.
Next is neutral-cool beige.
Neutral-Cool Grey follows.
Warm-beige follows next.
Next up is neutral-warm-grey.
White is the final neutral colour.
As you can see, the Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencil set and range is made up of a variety of colours and neutrals.
As noted above, the selection of colour is subjective and the reviewer has chosen colour by looking at the actual coloured pencil swatches. Nevertheless, you may find that particular colours belong in different groups or families.
An almost complete lightfast set of pencils
Of the 120 set of coloured pencils, two pencils have the lowest lightfast rating of *, 16 coloured pencils have a lightfast rating of **, and 102 have the highest lightfast rating of ***.
Only have a few pencils?
If you’d like to try this range of pencils, you can try a basic set of 12. We have analysed this set of pencils, and provide colour swatches, and the colour recipes of 144 colours that you can make from this set of pencils. You can see the 144 Polychromos colour recipes here.
Make your own colour chart
For your knowledge, it’s advisable to draw up your own colour chart so you can get to know the actual colours of your coloured pencils. You will then be able to see how your pencil performs on the papers that you use for your drawings.
Polychromos interactive colour chart
To help you with this, the colour charts used in this post were rearranged into a sortable and searchable format in an interactive colour chart. You can access the slim interactive colour chart where you can search and sort the pencils by name, number, and lightfast rating. See hand drawn colour swatches.
This post was originally published in 2019, updated on 18 November 2019, February 1 2021, 16 August 2021, 1 September 2021, and 22 December 2021. It was last updated on 4 January 2023.