I just recently started a drawing class which will be using colored pencils in the next few weeks. I searched ASW for a set and was overwhelmed by the options. Should I settle for Prismacolor or is Faber-Castell really the best or Derwent or can I get just as good results with Cretacolor's much cheaper version.
Lori, hopefully Robin will see this. She has a lot of experience with colored pencils. You might want to look for her postings in the forums. You could also send a friend request.
Thanks Margo. How do you send a friend request? I looked up Robin and found 2 pages of them!
Robin11, she is a docent. If you find one of her postings, you can click on her avatar name Robin11. See if you can look up: Re: Introduction / Question. That should take you to one of her postings. Clicking on her avatar name will take you to her page where you can make a friend request.
I've been drawing with colored pencils for about 8 years now and have tried them all - for me, hands down the best choice is Prismacolor (the professional grade, not the student grade). I also use their Verithin pencils for detailing. The cheap pencils will give you a much lower quality result - not worth wasting your time with them if you wish to seriously give colored pencil a try. You'll note that almost every published colored pencil artist uses Prismacolor - there IS a reason....
I was leaning towards Faber-Castell. If you dont mind me asking, how are the Prismas better. Also, you mention, professional grade. Does it say so on the box ?
I would recommend starting with Prismacolor. Then you can branch out and explore some of the other brands by purchasing single pencils as a trial. You might find that you like some colors in one brand better than in the other brands. Prismacolor is a good place to start, though. Faber-Castell is a great brand, too. I prefer many colors in Faber over Prismacolor.
You might want to try asking some of the major internet retailers like Blick for some samples to help you make up your mind. Dick Blick also has a house brand that are supposed to be very good although I've not tried them.
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You know I hate to NOT answer your question, but I have to ask a quick question myself.
Does anybody use Derwent? They seem pretty good, could anybody give their opinion on them
Draw, draw, keep on drawing then draw some more to reach perfection
Prismacolors are very popular with colored pencil artists. Most of the instruction books for colored pencil refer to prismacolors when giving step-by-step instructions. I have used Prismacolor, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Derwent Coloursoft, and Lyra Rembrandt polycolor. Prismacolor pencils are waxy, and smooth to draw with and have rich colors. However many of their colors have poor lightfast ratings. And they tend to break easily, which can be really frustrating. My favorites are Faber-Castell polychromos and Derwent Coloursofts. Both have very good lightfast ratings and I have never had a lead break with either of these brands. They are oil based, so you don't get that wax bloom that can happen with Prismacolors after a few layers. The Faber-Castells are a little harder while the Coloursofts are very soft to draw with. I also like my set of Lyra Rembrandt, they are the most similar to Prismas in feel, yet these too are oil based pencils, so no wax bloom. They also have good lightfast ratings and a nice range of greens, but overall not as many colors available.
Having said all of that, which brand really is a matter of preference. If you can, purchase a few open stock pencils in a couple different brands to try out for yourself. I also think you would be fine getting a set of Prismacolors to start. I would get artists grade pencils though, as the cheaper sets just won't give you the quality of experience with color, and that would be discouraging. And pick up a good pencil sharpener while you are at it
I am part of another messageboard and alot of people have been complaining about recently purchased Prismacolor pencils. They're saying that since Sanford has moved their manufacturing to Mexico, the newer pencils do not blend well. Most of these ladies use odorless mineral spirits to blend. I can't say they're right or wrong since I've had my pencils for years and they're made in the USA. My use for the pencils is to color in stamped images. Not an artist by a longshot. Just thought I'd share the info I read this week.
How sad. They were one of the "hold outs" for quality.
Hi, I have worked with colored pencils for over 10 years and started out with Prismacolor. My support was museum board or Stonehenge paper. As I changed supports I found different brands were better suited. I still fall back on Prismacolor, but love Derwent Coloursoft and Faber Castel for sanded supports. I would definitedly recommend getting Artist grade pencils and experimenting with what works best with your support.
I'm a colored pencil artist and author of the book Masterful Color. I have used almost all pencil brands and keep coming back to Prismacolor. It depends on how you work. If like me, you're looking to completely cover the paper and mix colors almost like a painter, then Prismacolors are the best. However if you prefer to have paper showing through the pencil, then the oil based pencils are just as good. The oil based pencils are excellent but they do not blend as well as the Prismacolor. Prismacolor pencils have a buttery consistency which lends itself to layering and mixing colors that the others just are not able to do as well.
As to the pencils breaking, there are two very easy fixes for that. I rarely have a pencil break on me. The first is to be sure to use a pencil sharpener with a rotary cutting blade, not one that has a blade that looks like a hand sharpener blade. That will cut the breakage down to almost nothing. If you're still having a problem with a few of the pencils then all you need to do is to stick them in the microwave for 5 seconds. That will heat the wax in them so it will fuse together where there is a break. Pencils break because they are dropped somewhere along the way. :)
Thanks so much for the microwave hint!! I will be trying that.
I was also very interested to read your take on the Prismacolor.
I'm still relatively new to colored pencils - have only been working with them for one year - but I've found the opposite in my experiences. The oil based pencils cover much more easily than the wax based pencils. It is something about the softness that allows me to get it into the crevices of the paper better than the wax. As with paper and other art materials, it seems that personal preference has a lot to do with it.