Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Pencils Review

After sitting on these for a couple of months, I am sharing a Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Pencils Review. In this review, I share my thoughts and experience with these pencils. I also do a comparison to the Derwent Watercolor Pencils and have a video you can check out over on my channel. This post is not sponsored and I bought these with my own money. I do love the Distress line so I am super excited to share my thoughts on these.

Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Pencils

Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Pencils

Distress Line Products

These watercolor pencils are part of the Distress line and the colors match up with the existing Distress colors. The pencils come in 3 sets of 12 pencils each. They are woodless, meaning it’s just the watercolor pigment. A thin sticker with the name of the color surrounds the barrel of the pencil. The sticker has notches all along the barrel to tear off as you use the pencil. The sets retail for $25 USD and come in a protective tin. The top of the tin has a clear insert so that you can see the colors. The pencils are nestled in a tray to hold them in place, but is completely removable so you have the option to keep the pencils just in the tin. The Distress watercolor pencils are labelled for adult use only. My guess would be because of the delicate nature of the pencil.

How They Work

The Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Pencils fit right in with the Distress Oxide and Distress Inks. The color matching was very close. The pigment reacts amazingly well to water. With enough water, the watercolor pencil pigment completely dissolves. Some watercolor pencils leave marks where you first put the color down, but not these. The dissolve completely.

I also found that the colors blended beautifully together! It was so easy and quick to blend and the gradient was great. The container mentions blending them together with the Inks, Oxides, sprays, etc. Important to note is that the Oxides and Distress Inks are also water soluble so they will react to water too. So, lots of opportunity to have fun with them.

When adding more pigment on top of the watercolored pencil, I found it was difficult to build up color. Once watercolored, it seemed a bit waxy and, instead of building color, the added color disappeared into the existing color. Plus, the first layer of watercolor reactivated. So it was really hard to achieve a layered, shadowed color.

Blending watercolor pencils

Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Pencils – Pros and Cons


  • • Easy to blend
  • • Beautiful to blend together
  • • Great color range
  • • Each set has a variety of colors so you can slowly build your collection


  • • Difficult to build up color for shadows
  • • Need to add a lot of pigment to get the vibrant color
  • • The pencils are hard to get very sharp
  • • The plastic piece in the tin isn’t very strong and bends and dents easily
Details on the label

Overall Impressions

My personal experience with watercolor pencils is limited. I did find myself getting more comfortable with watercolors in general once I started playing with watercolor pencils more. My first set of watercolor pencils were Derwent Watercolors pencils. I have loved using them and learning with them, so that is why I jumped on the Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Pencils. I love the Distress line so this was a must buy.

I am excited to spend more time learning and playing with this product. I’ve already created some art journal layouts with them but I will be sharing more tutorials and using them in my bullet journal as well. For more ideas on using the Distress Inks and Oxides, you can check out some of my previous bullet journal layouts.

If you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Thank you so much for your time today.

Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Pencils

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