IROJITEN color pencils

Experience the elegant color pencils with their special colors

The first IROJITEN color pencil was sold in Japan as early as 1988. For a long time, only the eponymous sets had been available in Europe. Now, the color pencils are also for individual sale.  You can acquire the IROJITEN color pencils in 100 colors, including extraordinary pastel and neon shades. They are wax-based so you can create precise lines and details. The word "IROJITEN" is Japanese and means color encyclopedia. It is the perfect name for a pencil that is released in nine beautiful hardcover-like volumes . All pens come in a stylish creamy white finish and their end piece corresponds with the lead color.



Detailed product features:

Large color assortment: 100 colors

Elegant design

Wax-based lead with consistency ideal for fine lines and details

Can be optimally sharpened

Ideal for hobby artists



Details and soft gradients for your illustrations.

Mandala/ Adult Coloring

Colorful relaxation time with the special colors of IROJITEN colored pencils.

Bullet Journaling

Extraordinary colors for your bullet journal - perfect in combination with thin paper.

Urban Sketching:

Take a break from stressful everyday life. Experience the special lead consistency and color variety of IROJITEN color pencils.

Single pencils and sets

If you need an overview of all our IROJITEN colors, you can just print out the Color Selector and choose your next color.

If you want to keep track of your IROJITEN colors, you can print out the Color Tracker and mark the colors you own.

About color pencils

What exactly is a color pencil?

Color pencils are often confused with standard crayons for kids. But there are big differences between crayons and  color pencils for hobby artists. Color pencils are geared toward the needs and requirements of hobby artists - although this does not mean that only professional artists may use them. Their exceptional quality features like high color brilliance and break resistance make them stand out. Color pencils are available in various designs.

What are the differences between wax-based and oil-based color pencils?

Color pencils with a wax-based lead are softer and therefore give off color more quickly. Even light pressure is sufficient to release color pigments. This is particularly advantageous on dark backgrounds because the pencils are very opaque. Different colors can also be blended very nicely. Those who have enjoyed creating beautiful color transitions with our ABT Dual Brush Pens or our ABT PRO Markers can now do the same with our IROJITEN. They are very suitable for beginners because they are easy to use and color intensive. The only disadvantage of wax-based color pencils is the so-called "Wax Bloom". "Wax Bloom" refers to a natural oxidation process where wax rises to the surface and leaves a pale haze. This often occurs in artwork that has been painted with many dark layers of paint. It can simply be wiped off with a clean, dry cloth. The affected area is colored again and sealed with a fixative.

Oil-based color pencils have a harder lead and therefore only have a slight ink abrasion. The harder lead also ensures that colors cannot accidentally be smudged . They are only suitable on light backgrounds because they are more transparent. Dark backgrounds shine through. Compared to wax-based color pencils, oil-based pencils are less glossy.  Additionally, you can apply several layers of color on top of one other without changing the texture of the surface. It is more difficult to create smooth color transitions with oil-based color pencils.

Why do pencils break?

There is nothing worse than when you are working on your artwork and the pencil lead breaks. Unsightly bits of broken lead spread across the paper and must carefully be removed without damaging the artwork. A line that you wanted to draw  in one sweep has to be restarted and, of course, the pencil has to be sharpened again.

There are many reasons why color pencils may break. In addition to aspects such as the correct pressure, the material and the production are of particular importance.

So you can work on your artwork without having to worry: The leads of our IROJITEN are glued in, so they are better protected against shocks and are less prone to breakage.

Tips & tricks for drawing with color pencils


Use a sharp object to score fine grooves into the paper. These grooves will remain white after painting. Perfect for fine details such as leaf veins.


Shave some of your colored pencil lead onto your paper. Spread the lead shavings in a circular motion with your finger. Works very well for backgrounds and soft shadows.


Use a textured surface for exciting effects on the paper. Place the paper on a surface such as wood, fabric or stone and draw over the paper with your colored pencil.


Use either a darker shade or a complementary color to render your shadows more interesting. Tip: Multiple layers or additional pressure will give you more color-intensive results.


Color pencils cannot be completely erased, but they can be lightened! Likewise, you can draw over a darker area with a lighter colored pencil to add accents.



Primary colors: red, blue, yellow
Secondary colors: orange, violet, green
Complementary colors: red and green, blue and orange, yellow and violet


First, apply a layer of color to your paper. Add several more layers of color to one part of your color layer. Now repeat the same process with another color. When you mix primary colors, you get secondary colors. When you mix complementary colors, the result is a brownish tone because all three primary colors are being mixed.


IROJITEN are wax-based color pencils.

“IROJITEN” is the Japanese word for "dictionary of colors“. This is also reflected in the design of the three sets. They look like a dictionary.

IROJITEN are color pencils intended for hobby artists from the age of 14 years and older. They are not intended to be used by children. The comparably high price and high-quality design and packaging clearly attract consumers over the age of 14.

IROJITEN are available in 100 different colors. 90 of those are available in three different sets, with 30 colors each. These colors are also available individually. The ten remaining are only available individually.

All 100 colors were inspired by nature and were named accordingly. There are colors such as “King Fisher“, “Shell Pink”, and “Dandelion” named after pretty animals and plants in nature.

The IROJITEN included in the sets are already sharpened. Single colors for individual sale are unsharpened. When sharpening, we recommend to avoid pushing the colored pencil to much against the sharpener or making the tip too sharp to prevent the core from breaking.

IROJITEN are not waterproof.