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Interesting Facts About the Colored Pencil

Colored pencils are many artist's medium of choice.
colored pencil image by saied shahinkiya from Fotolia.com

Coloring isn't just for kids, and colored pencils aren't only used in school. Artists use colored pencils, too, thought the quality and price are different. This is one medium that is accessible to young children and adults, though they may not know much about this simple art tool.


There are two main categories that most colored pencils fit into, wax-based and non wax-based. The difference is in function. Wax-based colored pencils deliver great color and work great for layering color on color, though the wax buildup may be a problem. This buildup causes a white haze called wax bloom. Non wax-based colored pencils require harder pressure, though there will be no wax buildup. Some pencils don't really fit in either category, like the fine-art colored pencils that can end up looking like watercolor when painted with a wet paintbrush.


Different functions create different prices. In the school supply aisle, colored pencils can be purchased for under $10 for a set of 64. These are the wax-based pencils that children use. Artist pencils are much more expensive because of their ability to blend and shade. A high-quality set of artist pencils could run upwards of $150, as of 2010.


There are many societies entirely devoted to the love of the colored pencil; one such society is the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA). They report over 1,900 members in the US and other countries. Their mission is eduction about the "fine art of the colored pencil." There are district chapters of the CPSA in 20 states. The organization offers its members the opportunity to attend workshops, receive product information, and attend the annual CPSA exhibitions.

Longest Pencil Drawing

The longest color pencil drawing is 20 inches wide and 500 yards long. Jainthan Francis set this world record by creating his drawing in Sayreville, New Jersey in 2009. According to the World Record Academy, the artwork took Francis three months and includes tiles and footprints in 200 colors. Francis took inspiration from a local homeless man and used cardboard cutouts of his own feet for the job.

Biggest Pencil

The largest colored pencil (or coloured pencil, as it resides in England) is located at the Cumberland Pencil Museum in Cumbria. According to the museum, the pencil has been on display since 2001. It weighs 984.05 pounds and is almost 26 ft. long. It is a legitimate pencil, with lead running through the entire core, so it would actually write if anyone were strong enough to hold it. The pencil's lead is yellow.

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