Sunday, August 13, 2023

Review: Stabilo Woody 3 in 1 Duo Pencils


Stabilo Woody 3 in 1 Duo pencils

Readers of this blog know of my historically rooted affection for bicolor pencils, my spiritual penchant for rainbow pencils and, of course, my long-standing artistic passion for water-soluble colored pencils. It’s no wonder, then, that a set of Stabilo Woody 3 in 1 Duo Pencils fell easily into my CultPens shopping cart recently. (That link goes to CultPens, but I’ve also seen them on Amazon.)

These “multi-talented pencils” with stubby, chunky barrels are likely intended for young children, but obviously I have no qualms about embracing my inner 6-year-old. At the same time, my inner adult colored pencil geek stood at full attention. At the risk of sounding jaded, I’ve seen a lot of colored pencils in my time, and I thought I’d seen ‘em all. Yet the Woody 3 in 1 Duo could be entirely unique: Two colors on each pencil – not end-to-end but side-by-side like a rainbow pencil – and also water-soluble!


As I did, you may be wondering why dual-colored pencils are called “3 in 1 Duo” (and yes, the lack of hyphens in that name annoys me greatly). My guess is that water-solubility is their third talent.

The set came with a sharpener large enough to handle these chunky babies, which is essential unless you want to knife-sharpen. It takes the wood off, but the point remains blunt, which makes sense for this kid-friendly set.

A blunt tip from the sharpener

I knew from a few standard Stabilo Woody colored pencils that I had received as a gift (probably these) that they are delightfully soft – almost closer to crayons than pencils. Those are also water-soluble. Indeed, the 3 in 1 Duo pencils are the same in softness and water-solubility. Surprisingly, they are higher in pigment than I would have expected from any kids’ pencils.

Swatches made in Hahnemuhle sketchbook

For this Earthsworld portrait, I chose the warm/cool combo of red and green. Unlike with most rainbow pencils integrating four or five colors, it’s easy to segregate the individual colors because the core is so thick. The pigments dissolve easily; the texture you see in my sketch is the final layer I put on because I like the gritty look of the Hahnemühle paper’s tooth.

8/4/23 Stabilo Woody 3 in 1 Duo pencils in Hahnemuhle sketchbook

What fun pencils! My inner 6-year-old is gleeful, and my pencil geek self is also delighted to find what may be a unique colored pencil.


  1. They look like they blend nicely. I like the portrait in green and red with the added textural effect.

  2. Well...I can feel my resolve dissolving. I've had them in my online cart since your IG post, and just today I firmly told myself I don't need them. Or the book on designing tessellations. Sigh. If I'm going for one, might as well buy both! 😉 Anne


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