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Cheap vs Expensive Coloured Pencils?

What’s the difference between Cezanne and Luminance coloured pencils?

This question was asked recently and it’s a good question to answer for someone starting with coloured pencils. Here are my thoughts on the difference between the two brands and the difference between cheap and expensive coloured pencils.


The first difference is the price. A set of 120 Cezanne pencils is currently $110 from Amazon and a set of 76 Luminance is $440 from an art shop. Straight away that tells you there is a difference in quality and like most products, and art supplies are no different, the better the quality, the better the result you will have.

Current price of a set of Cezanne coloured pencils on Amazon
Cezanne coloured pencils on Amazon

Current price of a set of Luminance
Luminance coloured pencils


Luminance pencils are manufactured using superior pigment with high quantities in each pencil which makes the colour lay down richly and vibrantly and is one of the reasons for the more expensive price tag.

The Cezanne set uses a lower quality, and much less pigment in each pencil and uses much more binder and this causes a wax build-up when layering which then has to be dealt with.


The lightfast rating, which is how much the pencil will fade over time, is high on the Luminance, the whole set is lightfast whereas the Cezanne set has no clear rating specified and it is known that less than half would be lightfast. Just because the advertising says they are ‘professional pencils’, doesn’t mean that they are.


A major drawback with the Cezanne set and with any cheaper brand of pencils is that you have a problem once your most used colours wear down, you have no option to buy single pencils whereas with the Luminance or any higher quality brand you do have the option to replace individual colours, a huge bonus especially if you are an animal artist like myself and mainly use greys, ochres and browns.

The wood casing on the Luminance is ethically grown and sourced for the pencils and again is of a high quality that gives consistency and great sharpening results and little to no breakage. To sum up the difference, I would say if you want to draw or colour in just a few drawings to try coloured pencils then the Cezanne set would be fine but if you are even slightly serious about using coloured pencils then invest in a quality brand.


I recommend Polychromos as a great starting point as most of the set is lightest, the pigment is high and they blend and mix beautifully. Individual pencils are easy to source in most countries and they are slightly cheaper to purchase than Luminance.

In my view, it is false economy to buy the cheaper brands as the $110 would be far better spent on buying quality single pencils to start your collection in the colours that you need.


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