Hi all!

What's your favorite brand of colored pencils?  I've been using Prismacolors since high school and LOVE them, but I was recently given a set of Derwent Studio pencils, so it's been eye-opening to explore another brand.  The Derwent Studios are harder than the Prismas, so the colors don't seem to come out as dark, deep or vibrant, but I do like them for certain things - mainly abstract work, as opposed to realist stuff.

I've heard good things about the Faber Castell Polychromos but haven't tried them yet.

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Prismacolors are my favorites for toothy papers or when I want a painterly look.  For smoother paper, or when I want crisp detail and smooth blending, I like either Caran d'Ache Pablos for FC Polychromos.  I also have a set of Derwent Inktense that are great for backgrounds and underpainting, and for playing around with in general.  The colors are crazy vibrant after you wet them.

The pencils I've been wanting to try but haven't yet are the Caran d'Ache Luminance.  Has anyone been using those?

Hi Donna, thanks for the info on the other brands.  I'm thinking of getting a few colors of each and testing them out.  I've been soooo in love with my Prismas that I never thought of trying other brands til recently.  But now I realize it might be worthwhile to explore what else is on offer. 

The Derwent Inktense sound interesting.  Are they like watercolor pencils?  I'll look more into them.

Hi Thaneeya, Inktense pencils are indeed similar to watercolor pencils in that you can use them wet or dry.  The big differences are that the colors are so much more vibrant after wetting, and unlike watercolors, they are fairly permanent once they dry.  They really act more like ink than watercolor, hence the name.  If you can, get a few to play with...the blues and greens are gorgeous!  BTW, I used them on my Art Deco Windows ATC series.

Wow, the Derwent Inktense pencils sound really awesome. I'll see if I can get my hands on some. I like that they are fairly permanent once dry.  I just read reviews of the Inktense on DickBlick.com and people are raving about them!

It was also handy to see the work you made with them. They go really well with the pen. Now I know what my next toy will be ;)

I think it depends so much on the support you are using. I am very blessed to have quite a few brands of pencils and I know many artists favour the Prismacolors on papers such as Stonehenge, and especially because they respond well to the use of solvents. When working on drafting film, I prefer the oil based pencils such as the Faber Castell Polychromos or Lyra. The Derwent Drawing pencils are fantastic on any support for blending over other layers of pencils - they  seem to merge all the colours together and fill in any gaps. When working on wood I use the Derwent studio/artist pencils, the Polychromos and the Caran D'ache Pablos. No matter what support I'm using, I love the Prismacolor Verithins for adding in all those tiny details.

 

Thanks for your input, Karen - that is very handy.  I've never worked on draft film before so it is good to note that oil based pencils work best on that surface.  Also good to hear what you use on wood.  This thread is giving me so many ideas!
Thanks for that info, Martina.  I think if I decide I just have to give them a try I'll buy a couple of greens to play with.  You can never have too many greens in your collection.  :)

Martina Alberts said:
Yes, I tried the Luminance, I bought a small set and if I'm honest my hands told me they are not as good as Coloursofts or Prismas - and muuuuuch too expensive!

Donna Duquette said:

Prismacolors are my favorites for toothy papers or when I want a painterly look.  For smoother paper, or when I want crisp detail and smooth blending, I like either Caran d'Ache Pablos for FC Polychromos.  I also have a set of Derwent Inktense that are great for backgrounds and underpainting, and for playing around with in general.  The colors are crazy vibrant after you wet them.

The pencils I've been wanting to try but haven't yet are the Caran d'Ache Luminance.  Has anyone been using those?

HELLO THERE I BEEN USING PRISMACOLOR PENCILS TOO  FOR A FEW YEARS..... BUT I DECECIDE TO TRY DICK BLICK'S COLOR PENCIL'S I LOVE THEM I LIKE THEM BRECAUSE THEY HAVE NICE PRETTY COLOR'S TO CHOOSE FROM LIKE PRISMACOLOR'S DO BUT I DONT CARE FOR THEM ANYMORE EVERY TIME YOU GO TO USE THEM THEY BREAK THE POINT'S THEM YOU HAVE TO SHARPEN THEM AGAIN AND ALSO THEY ARE TOO SOFT .......
I'm just learning the whole drawing thing and tried various colored pencils but didn't like the results, sooooooo,I decided to treat myself to a box of Prismacolors.

Even with the 50% off coupon at Michael's, I paid over $40 for them. Every one I tried to sharpen broke and kept on breaking. I had to use my "don't mess with me" stare, but the manager at Michael's did give me a refund.

I notice that with all the pencils I try, if the pencil seems to catch in the sharpener, for sure the lead will break. I don't think the pencils break from being dropped, I think there are flaws in the wood or the glue and when the flaw catches in the sharpener, you give it an extra hard twist and that force is what causes the breaks.

I've had the same experience with pencils from the dollar store and the ones I paid $3 each for at the high end art supply.

If the pencils broke from being dropped, every pencil ordered from Dick Blick would be broken. Remember that Fedex employees THROW those parcels.

You would think that with all the complaints, the big names would be searching for a solution instead of publishing articles about putting broken pencils in the microwave.

My current favorite pencils are Crayola Short Colored Pencils, $8.99 at WalMart. In a box of 64, only two have broken, the colors are bright, the go down smoothly, blend well and respond to solvent. I use them while I weep over the hundreds of dollars I spent trying to find better pencils.
I use a variety of handheld sharpeners. I'm disappointed in the Prismacolors because they were very expensive and because every one I tried broke. My handheld sharpeners make nice sharp points on other pencils, but failed the prismas.

I also had breakage problems with some Derwent pencils, so I tried the microwave method to fix them. I stood the broken pencil in a cup of water and put it in the microwave for about a minute. The water got to nearly boiling. I let it sit for awhile and sure enough I could sharpen that pencil with no problem.

There are a number of factors that could be causing the problem. I tend to think it's imperfect joining of the pencil wood, it could also be climate - maybe in a different part of the world the pencils perform better. Also if you buy from a local store that does high volume the boxes of pencils probably arrive on a tight pallet which means less chance of being jostled before you buy them.

For now I'll use the Crayola ones :)

Hi Margaret, that's a pain that your Prismacolors kept breaking. I know the feeling!  There was a period when I was experiencing a high percentage of breakage, but lately that hasn't been a problem at all, and I'm using mostly the same set as I was before.  So maybe it could be climate. My Prismas have been to Florida, the UK, France and now Australia.  No major breakage problems here! 

I use a handheld sharpener and I sharpen them super carefully, so that helps.  I had to learn through trial and error just the right pressure to use, how fast/slow to turn them, etc.  I've got sharpening down to a fine art, lol.

Anyway, glad to hear you are happy with your Crayolas!!  :)

For most of last year I worked almost exclusively with Prismacolors, although Portfolios seem to blend just as well.  The price kept me from trying Prismacolors until Job Lot had a 36-set for only $7.  Ordered the 132-set on line for a bit over $100 and am well pleased.  I use an electric sharpener and have had only one or two that broke.

I've found the Prismacolor sticks a good way to lay down a lot of color fast and use the 36-set, but these seem harder (more like the Verithins which I use rarely) although blending is no problem.

The worst problem I have with the Prismacolors is what I've heard called "wax blume."  Usually the fixative gets rid of it, but you have to be careful.  There was an art stick ... don't know what  brand.  The box says "half-hard pastel sticks" that I used on the "Knitted Hat" that I'll put up here if I haven't already.  I spent hours adding the "knit" lines only to have them dissapear when I sprayed them with fixative. 

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