Coloring Pencils/Pens/Markers Product Reviews

Guanghui (Hero) Colored Pencil Review (plus comparison with Polychromos)

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Guanghui (Hero) Colouring Pencils Review

Guanghui are a lower priced color pencil that comes in an amazing array of color tones. Guanghui is the manufacturer name but this company appears to allow others to private label their product. This basically means that they are allowed to put their brand name on the marketing materials for the pencil. For this reason you may see them sold under different names like “Hero” for example. If the colored pencils are out of stock, an easy way to locate them is to search for “160 colored pencils” on Amazon. You will then find a number of brands. Zoom in on the close up of the pencil barrel for these pencils and you are likely to see the Guanghui name on the barrel.


According to this site, Guanghui have been creating pencils for over 20 years out of their China manufacturing plant. They make a range of pencils which are exported to the US and Europe.

The company motto is “Quality always comes first”. You can see a list of the certificates they have obtained for International export on their site here.


Although the company creates a range of colored pencils, most appear to be for younger student’s use.     The two products that are great for adult colorists are the pencils the subject of this review, which are oil based, and the watercolor pencils, created by the same company.     Both of these pencils,  I would class as high-end student’s pencils rather than artist’s pencils, as there is no information on lightfast, which is important for professional artists.

These oil-based pencils come in a range of pencil counts.    At the time,  I purchased the maximum count was 160 pencils.    Of course, a few days later they released a Christmas edition with 8 additional pencils.   The online information does not state what the additional 8 pencils are but I think ..with a Christmas theme it may be an expansion on the metallic range included in the set.  I could, of course, be entirely wrong.  If you wanted the Christmas set be sure and ask the seller about the additional pencils.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B0778DVF6Z” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mygamingweb-20″ width=”500″] [easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B0778DVF6Z” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mygamingweb-20″ width=”500″]

The pencil counts available are [easyazon_link identifier=”B06WWRWKB8″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”mygamingweb-20″]120[/easyazon_link], [easyazon_link identifier=”B0758W3653″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”mygamingweb-20″]160[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link identifier=”B0778DVF6Z” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”mygamingweb-20″]168 (Christmas Edition)[/easyazon_link].

The pencils are packaged in a light plastic box with a carry handle.  In the US this plastic box has a gorgeous cardboard sleeve around it.    I was impressed that none of the pencils had broken or were damaged on arrival, considering how flimsy the packaging and pencil trays are.

Pencil Specs

Each pencil measures approximately  17.5cm and are pre-sharpened.

You can see the core of the pencil and judge whether it has been centered well or not.  This is important for sharpening.   A core that is not centered could easily break when sharpening your pencil.

Guang Hui colored pencils compared to Prismacolor – similar barrel design and size

The Hero colored pencils resemble a Prismacolor pencil in design but they are said to be oil-based they perform similar to the Faber Castell polychromos.

Note:   Although these pencils are said to be oil-based – tests done show that they dissolve with water added.   

The pencils are coded by the number on the barrel written in silver.

Other than being oil-based,  I could not find any other information about pigment, lightfast, or filler used in the pencils.

User Experience

Although I have the full set of Faber Castell Polychromos, and a smaller set as well as a spare, I often do not use them.   Actually,  I often don’t use that many of my fancy pencils.    I find for the coloring that I do, that I am just as happy with my Colleen colored pencils as I am with my Holbeins.

Using the Guanghui colored pencils was very similar to the experience I have with my Polychromos.  My polychromos are however slightly better, and that is reflected in the price tag.

Laying down light layers of color was easy to achieve with the pencils as you will see from the video review.    In my example,  I used cheap copy paper and expect that the pencils would provide an even better layer on a toothier paper.   I will be experimenting with different types of paper in the coming weeks.

I am really impressed with the range of colors available in this set with so many graduated tones in each color family as well as metallics and neons.   Out of all my pencil sets, it is the largest range of colors that I have.

Guanghui barrel on the left and Prismacolor on the right. You will see the lead in the Prismacolor is a far larger core than the Hero pencils

Colour Swatch

My color swatch is below,  from left one layer, middle two layers, and on the right, three layers.  I used light pressure, holding the pencil well away from the point as you will see on screen.   The colors are quite vivid and many of the colors have a similar color pigment to the Polychromos so they are useful for supplementing a smaller set of colors.

My understanding is that some of the pencils available to US residents come with a color swatch.   One was not included with my set, so I created my own.  Had I had more time available, I would have sorted the pencils into color families rather than swatched them based on each tray.

You will see that the pencils include two blacks as well as metallic and neon pencils.


You can download a blank color swatch here.


My favorite Staedtler sharpener was not appropriate for this sharpening job as the barrel was not the correct size.    This was easily solved by using my latest favorite sharpener – Bruynzeel twin hole.  I bought this sharpener on a whim,  basically, so I could get free shipping for memory lol.    The sharpener is the heaviest sharpener that I have and just feels like well-made quality in your hand.  The twin holes are perfect for most size pencils.  It comes in a little tiny box with two replacement blades as well.  More importantly, it sharpens like a dream producing a beautiful point with minimal pigment wastage.       This sharpener is not readily available and you may need to go to an art store to locate it and give it a test.   I purchased mine in Australia from here.

sharpening the guangjui colored pencils

Easy to get a point in one turn with the Bruynzeel twin hole sharpener


I tested three erasers to remove pigment from cheap copy paper.   With thin paper like this, I didn’t want to press too hard and risk tearing the paper.    The Lyra and plastic eraser were a much of a muchness.   My [easyazon_link identifier=”B006CQWCUM” locale=”US” tag=”mygamingweb-20″]Tombow eraser[/easyazon_link] is, of course, a beast and is likely to tear the paper if too much pressure is applied.

Layering & Blending

These pencils layer very well without the wax bloom of Prismacolors.     Due to the number of tonal shades available in the color range you may not need to do as much blending as you usually would.  However, blending was very easy with these pencils on copy paper.   I did not need to use a blender pencil, pen or solvent to blend any of the colors.     Of course,  I plan on using these pencils as my everyday pencils, so I will be testing them further with how many layers they can take and what types of paper they tend to perform best with.

Colouring With Guanghui (Hero) Colored Pencils

The illustration I colored was a free page by C L Aldridge.    This illustration was selected because Christine Aldridge always creates wonderfully symmetrical pieces of art which can show the Guanghui on one side and the Faber Castell Polychromos on the other.

You can see from the page that the two products are incredibly similar (bear in mind that I tested with my small set of  36 Polychromos for color selection)

test showing guanghui colored pencils compared to Hero brand

On the left I tested the Hero (Guanghui) pencils and on the right similar colors from the Faber Castell Polychromos

Buy Guanghui (Hero) Colored Pencils at Amazon here

 120 Hero Colored Pencils 160 Colored Pencils (out of stock) 168 – Colored Pencils 

Countries outside of the US should search their local Amazon or Ebay for “160 pencils” as you will find these pencils under a number of different brand names.   As of November 2017 Hero is shipping these to Australia from the Amazon US marketplace.


Happy coloring x

About the author


I'm Lea and I love everything to do with coloring! If it is a coloring book, a poster or even a bookmark that you can color in, I'm all over it. Of course, a girl has to have some pencils, markers, gelly rolls, pastels and what not to make those pictures pretty and I love those as well.

Whilst my coloring style lacks skill, I am enthusiastic and focused on enjoying the moment and having fun.

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  • Well you did it this time. You should see my right a3rm from where you were twisting it. These are on their way. I AM A COLORED PENCIL ADDICTED. I WILL BUY NO MORE TILL 2 018 ( unless Lea makes me)…lol
    Have a great week dear


    • I knew that 🙂 mmm trying to think but you are not really a watercolor girl are you? I can’t think of a picture that you’ve done with watercolors. You’ll have to remind me!

  • The “Christmas 168” is 12 metallic and 8 neon colors. I must say their metallic colors are better than all I tried so far.

  • I do have the Guang Hui 168 pencils set. Mine is from vendor Wanshui. I agree with your review, they are very, very nice pencils. Might not be artist quality, but they are close. Definitively will be my regular pencils for most of my coloring.

  • Thank you for your review! I bought a 168 set that included metallic & 8 neon pencils under the name wanshui. The case was flimsy so I had to buy a cloth case to put them in. They lay with a nice smooth shine that was relative to the cost: $25.99 on amazon, here in the US. I feel they were a good purchase to compliment my other pencils.

    • The cases are terrible! I had to buy a case as well …I still haven’t transferred them yet though! There are a lot of pencils that are very close in tones within the set which is useful for some colorists. I think they are really good value for the number of pencils in the pack. Enjoy your pencils!

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