For beginners I would suggest either the Staedtler or Faber Castell brand of pencils. These produce significantly better results than bargain bin pencils, provide good colors and allow you to try some simple shading and blending techniques. With practice the best coloring results can even be achieved with the most modest tools!
Crayon Tinting. Using crayons for tinting embroidery is the most common technique. It's easy to learn and most people have at least a few crayons around. Crayons produce a bold color, but you can also work more gently with them, resulting in a lighter tint. Just like coloring on paper with crayons, varying the amount of pressure and layering your coloring creates some very cool shading. That shading gives your embroidery texture and dimension, and it's fun to use with modern or vintage designs.