Caran d'Ache

About the company

Caran d'Ache is a Swiss company, that was officially established in 1924. When they were formed, a leading Russian artist was very popular, and in his native tongue “Karandash” means a pencil. In Turkish, “kara tash” means “black stone”, which is a great discription for graphite.


Caran d'Ache are one of the most expensive colored pencils on the US market, but they have a reputation for very high quality that makes the extra cost worth it to most artists. Caran d'Ache is known for bright, juicy, vivid color. Their watersoluble products are nothing short of magic when water is added. They came out with the first water-soluble colored pencil in 1931.

Caran d'Ache keeps their core product lines stable for decades, so artists can depend on being able to find their favorite colors when they need them. The Pablo (dry) colored pencils and Supracolor II (aquarelle) colored pencils come in the same 120 colors.

Caran d'Ache has long been known as a leader in artist quality water-soluble products. We first discovered their water-soluble pencils in 1986, and it was love at the first stroke of the pencil, not to mention pure rapture when water was added.

The Neocolor II crayons are fine-art quality, but can make you feel the joy of color and discovery that you felt as a kid. They are beautiful when used dry, but simply explode with color when wet.

Caran d'Ache is now a leader in producing pencils with the highest lightfast rating on the market. Luminance (dry) pencils have unique colors and are extremely lightfast. The Museum Aquarell line of water-soluble pencils are also at the top of the lightfast rating scale (the Blue Wool Scale), and certain colors will remain unaltered for up to 100 years when exposed to light.

Caran d'Ache colored pencils lay down color really well, and blend beautifully. The Supracolor II leave perhaps a bit more color on the page once water is added than Faber-Castell's do, but we like this, since it leaves a bit more texture behind. The Museum Aquarelle pencils easily dissolve 100%, since they are really watercolor in pencil form.

Both the dry and wet lines have the same look on the exterior. You have to read the label to see if you have a dry pencil, or a wet one. The water-soluble ones have a little paintbrush on them, but still it is easy to grab the wrong sort when you are using both kinds on a painting.

  • Pablo- Artist quality water resistant colored pencils 120 colors 
  • Supracolor II Soft Water-soluble Artist quality water-soluble (watercolor) pencils 120 colors Oil Based
  • Luminance 6901- Artist quality water resistant colored pencils all with extremely high lightfast ratings 76 colors Wax Based
  • Caran d’Ache Museum Artist Watercolour Leads- Set includes 18 colored leads, 2 watersoluble graphites, and three Fixpencil lead holders. This is an extremely concentrated , purely-dissolving, portable, woodless type of colored pencil.
  • Museum Aquarelle pencils- Pencils are hexagonal, with a flat matt finish and color on the end cap. Available in 76 extremely lightfast colors, they are 100% watersoluble and very highly pigmented.
  • Prismalo Aquarell- The first water-soluble colored pencil in the world, released in 1931. Comes in a range of 80 colors.
  • Neocolor II- Artist quality water-soluble crayons 126 colors Wax Based
  • NeoArt- Densely pigmented Swiss chunky watercolour sticks, available in 60 colors. Draw or paint with them and the pigment dissolves smoothly, with rich, semi-opaque intensity.
  • Luminance pencils are round on the outside
  • Pablo, Supracolor II, and Museum pencils are hexagonal on the outside
  • Lightfast ratings on each pencil
  • Pencils are pre-sharpened
  • Sets come arranged in color order


Pablos and Supracolors have the same color range and exterior.

Pablo Color Chart

Supracolor Color Chart

  • Available in 120 matching colors

  • Available open-stock

  • Available in sets

Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle Pencils

Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle Color Charts

The Museum line of Aquarelle pencils is an extension of line of water-soluble artist leads that Caran d'Ache created, known as the Museum line for their unmatched water solubility, color concentration, and lightfastness.

Introduction Assortment of 12 Colors, that features 2 shades for each primary in order to obtain the best result for color-mixing. The colors are based on the Adolf Holzel Double-Primary System. 11 of the 12 colors in this set have a 5-star lightfast rating.

Landscape Assortment of 20 Colors, that features Blues and Violets for Sky and water, Red-Orange for Flowers, Green for Fields and Forest, Brown for Land and Rocks, Bright colors for Light, and Grey-Black for Shading.

Marine Assortment of 20 Colors, which features Blue-Green for Azure Water, Blue for Deep water, Light colors for Foam and Reflections, Gray-Brown for Shading, Light Blue for Sky, Red and Orange for Sunset, and Dark Blue-Green for Agitated Waves.

Wood Box Set consists of all 76 colors, plus 4 extra colored pencils of colors that are frequently used, 3 water-soluble Technalo drawing pencils (HB, B, 3B), and 1 Grafwood 2B pencil.

  • All pencils have 3-5 Star Lightfast Ratings
  • 3.8 mm thick lead
  • 100% Water Soluble immediately
  • Strong Point
  • Cedar Wood Exterior
  • Color Cap matches lead
  • Available in 76 colors
  • Available open-stock
  • Available in sets

Luminance 6901

The Luminance line of pencils is available in 76 colors, in accordance with the highest international lightfast standard, known as  ASTM D-6901. The pencils have very concentrated pigment that goes on the paper very smoothly. They have natural wood exteriors that are a joy to hold. Having the hightest lightfast rating in your media is a must for the serious professional, whose work is sold and hung in galleries, homes, and businesses.

Luminance Color Chart

Caran d'Ache won the

Innovative Prize 2010 

of the SMAC Fair of the creative

professionals for their

Luminance pencils.

Caran d'Ache Museum

Museum is a line of water-soluble artist leads, that can be used directly on paper or dissolved in water to create watercolor paint. The set comes with a lead holder.

Prismalo Aquarelle

These were THE first water-soluble colored pencils on the market, and have been out since 1931. If you find a tin of these with the Matterhorn, they are vintage Caran d'Ache pencils! If whoever stole my set of these as well as most of my other Caran d'Ache pencils from my studio near Llano would kindly return them, I could show you a picture and even color charts!

Neocolor II

Neocolor II Color Chart

Neocolor II Aquarelle Artist's Crayons have excellent lightfastness, and are high in pigment concentration. They are softer than colored pencils, but denser than children's crayons. When you wet the color with a brush, they dissolve easily and are beautiful when used both wet and dry. The light colors can cover darker colors, and they can be scraped off to use with sgraffito techniques.

Neocolor II's are a unique product on the market, and they come in an amazing 126 different colors. They bring out the kid in all of us, and remind us of most kid's first love with art- the use of crayons.

Kristy Kutch painted the painting to the left almost entirely in Neocolor II's.

Neocolor II tools


NeoArt Color Chart

NeoArts are large water-soluble wax pastels. They are useful for large works of art, and have bright colors, with very high pigment concentration.

Comparison picture to show the large size of the NeoArts.


Kristy Kutch, artist, teacher, and author, painted this picture of a Peony entirely in Caran d'Ache NeoArts.