Colored pencils are a very specific (and might I add, addictive) artistic choice. Many artists choose colored pencils because they allow for tight control and are exceptional tools for creating highly detailed work. In this post, we’ll be looking at mechanical pencils with colored leads- Yes! There’s such a thing!
The Advantages of Using Mechanical Colored Pencils
Mechanical colored pencils have four key advantages over regular colored pencils and all of them have to do with technique.
The first and most obvious advantage of using a mechanical pencil is that it does not need to be sharpened. While sharpening your colored pencils in itself is not necessarily an inconvenience, this feature contributes to a mechanical pencil’s ability to create a consistent line. This latter feature makes a mechanical pencil ideal for engineering and technical drawings since the width of the lead will always remain the same, producing precise, clean lines.
Mechanical pencils are also convenient because they are always balanced. When using traditional colored pencils, sharpening slowly but surely decreases the length of the pencil, forcing you to readjust your grip until you’re eventually left with a stub that’s a hassle to work with. A mechanical pencil is always the same length and the lead is always the same size.
The last advantage of using a mechanical pencil is that they are refillable and you can get many years’ worth of consistent performance from one original purchase. Many mechanical pencils are universal, meaning that as long as you choose the appropriate lead thickness, different brands are interchangeable.
The Top 4 Colored Mechanical Pencil Leads
Finding a good colored mechanical pencil can be a hassle, so we’ve done the research for you and rounded up four awesome choices. While many mechanical pencil manufacturers offer colored leads, these are often limited to red and blue because of their use in technical and engineering work. This list includes mechanical pencils designed for artistic use, featuring full ranges of colored leads. Let’s get started!
Pentel is an extremely successful company that produces some of the world’s most coveted writing instruments. Known for their innovative technology, including their Super Hi-Polymer Lead, Pentel manufactures some of the world’s highest quality pens, pencils, erasers, correction fluid, and today’s special, mechanical pencils and leads.
Quick Dock COLORS is a recent extension of the Quick Dock Mechanical Pencils line, featuring four different combinations of mechanical pencils with blue, violet, pink, and light green colored leads.
Each colored mechanical pencil comes individually packaged with one lead refill cartridge and three refill erasers. Each barrel is designed for grip without the use of latex and textured to allow for precision and control. Sliding Sleeve technology provides a continuous feed of lead for uninterrupted drawing. The lead itself is made with a 0.7 mm core of Pentel’s premium Super Hi-Polymer Lead with a hardness equivalent to a No. 2 graphite pencil.
Price per Pack: $6.79
Refill Cartridge: $2.60
Pilot’s line of colored mechanical pencils is more varied than most, offering eight different colors whereas others offer only four. Color Eno mechanical pencils are lightweight, yet very well constructed and the barrels perfectly match the colored lead within (although you don’t have to play match).
Available in blue, light blue (ideal for drafting work), pink, red, violet, green, orange, and yellow, and designed with a cushioned precision grip tip, these are excellent for detailed coloring or drawing projects.
While most refillable colored leads for mechanical pencils are quite basic as far as the formulation of the core goes, Pilot makes a softer lead that goes on easier with softer pressure. That being said, with a 0.7 mm core, the lead wears down faster and since each cartridge comes with 6-10 pieces, they are not ideal for coloring large areas.
Color ENO mechanical pencils are sold in separate units, meaning that you will have to purchase the mechanical pencil and lead cartridge separately.
Price per Pack: $2.75
Refill Cartridge: $1.65
Art Mechanical Pencils for Drawing
This is the novice-grade of the colored mechanical pencil brands, simply called “Art Mechanical Pencil”, and designed for children.
If you’ve used Color ENO or Quick Docks, you’ll notice very quickly that Art Mechanical Pencils are far less sophisticated with their plain black barrels and flat, chunky colored lead.
Similar to Crayola’s Twistable colored pencils, Art Mechanical Pencils are designed mainly for transportation and durability. Available in five different colors (black, red, blue, green, and yellow), and designed with a thick, rectangular lead, these are formulated with a hard wax core that resists breakage and is versatile in application.
Each pack comes with the complete set of 5 mechanical colored pencils; refillable lead cartridges must be purchased separately.
Price per Pack: $4.65
Refill Cartridge: $2.15
Marketed as a “lead holder”, the Pentel Multi 8 colored pencil is basically an all-in-one, multi-lead mechanical pencil. As its name suggests, it holds 8 different colored leads and dispenses them one by one via a simple switch mechanism.
Lead holders are different than mechanical pencils in that they utilize thick leads- these are 2.0 mm, which is more than twice the thickness of a regular mechanical pencil lead.
The Pentel Multi 8 lead holder is a convenient coloring tool not only because it holds eight different color options, but because its thick core is ideal for coloring large areas. Most colored mechanical pencils are only useful for drafting or detail work.
At 5.5 inches long and 0.5 inches in diameter, the barrel has a tapered design that makes it comfortable to hold, despite its capacity. Each pack contains one lead holder equipped with the eight different colored leads. Refillable lead cartridges are sold separately.
Price per Pack: $33.00
Refill Cartridge: $1.65