Colored Pencil Info
Prismacolor Premier Pencil Review- Artist quality water resistant colored pencils 150 colors. Wax Based. Soft, with thick cores. A lot of the colors are unique, and very beautiful. When you get a good pencil, they have creamy, smooth lay-down of color. If you really do love grey, there are 6 each of Warm, Cool, and French Grey, as well as other greys. Cool greys have a Bluish tint. Warm greys have a reddish tint. And French greys have a yellowish tint.
 
Prismacolor Premiers are available in open stock, in boxes, and in beautiful tins. The new 150 box is very sturdy, the pencils are arranged somewhat in color order, and are now presharpened. Sometimes the wrong end (the one with the name) has been sharpened by mistake. They are usually not sharpened evenly. Once opened, the top can fold back to make an easel stand that props the box up slightly. There are three layers, each with two plastic trays that lift out. The plastic trays are flimsy and you end up juggling the layers around to get to the ones that are not on top. If the top two layers were put in firm cardboard that lifted out, they would be easier to place on your desk without spilling them. The cover art is by Ester Roi, who uses her Icarus Heated Board with Prismacolors and other colored pencils.
 
Prismacolors used to be owned by a comany called Berol, and older pencils have this name on them. The Berol pencils were of much higher quality than the new ones. It is very sad that this pencil has the potential to be a really great colored pencil, and in fact artists have done beautiful work with them. But the company no longer seems to care at about their quality. Or the fact that long time artists have complained about them. We first started using these in the early 1980's, so it is not like we haven't hung in there and keep trying to use them. Here are some of the issues:
 
When sharp, the tips tend to snap off and break.
Trying to sharpen them often is impossible, since the cores sometimes crumble up and break apart.
Many of the pencils, not just a few, have off-centered cores. This makes them impossible to sharpen evenly, and that pencil is basically worthless.
You often have to use up 3 pencils to achieve the same amount of coverege as a higher quality pencil. So the fact that they are initially less expensive really is rather meaningless.
Cores are not glued in. Often, 2 or more inches of your pencil core just 'slides out' of the pencil.
You really do need to hand-sharpen Prismacolors.
Most of the early instructional books were made based on Prismacolors. Some of the best teachers are heavily invested in this product, so they teach students only about this type of colored pencil. If you are trying to use instructions based on Prismacolor to learn how to best use colored pencils, you really need to use the Prismacolors.
 
3-Star Rating
Why?
Most are of poor quality.
Excellent Color Selection, and widely available in the US.
Layers very well.
Blends very well.
No line of matching water-soluble pencils (which can give you a fast base layer, and get rid of the white dots on the paper very quickly).
No Lightfastness ratings.
No Pigment Information.
Difficult to Sharpen.
 
  Prismacolor Premiers are available in open stock, in boxes, and in beautiful tins. The new 150 box is very sturdy, the pencils are arranged in color order, and are now presharpened. Once opened, the top can fold back to make an easel stand that props the box up slightly. There are three layers, each with two plastic trays that lift out. The plastic trays are flimsy and you end up juggling the layers around to get to the ones that are not on top. If the top two layers were put in firm cardboard that lifted out, they would be easier to place on your desk without spilling them. The cover art is by Ester Roi, who uses her Icarus Heated Board with Prismacolors and other colored pencils.
 
There are 18 'new' colors; some are new, and there are some decos and neons that had been discontinued and are now being brought back.
 
18 New Colors:
140 Eggshell
1011 Deco Yellow
118 Cadmium Orange Hue
122 Permanent Red
195 Pomegranate
1014 Deco Pink
1013 Deco Peach
132 Dioxazine Purple Hue
208 Indanthrone Blue
133 Cobalt Blue Hue
103 Cerulean Blue
105 Cobalt Turquoise
289 Grey Green Light
120 Sap Green Light
109 Prussian Green
1035 Neon Yellow
1036 Neon Orange
1038 Neon Pink
 
 
 
 
 
The older tins, make no attempt to arrange the pencils in color order at all, and the flimsy plastic layers do not hold the pencils securely. If you carry your set around, they are sure to roll around in the tin. They are also difficult to lay out on your desk. The company does seem to be arranging their pencils in color order now in newer sets, and sharpening the pencils. The company did however, introduce one of the best wooden boxes ever made for their 132 colors (as long as you leave it sitting on your desk), because it has 3 shelves that allow all of the pencils to be seen and taken out easily. You don't have a removeable tray that you have to find a place to put somewhere. The other pencil lines come in cardboard boxes.
 
When Prismacolor was trying to market their pencils in Europe, they made a pencil called Karisma, which was absolutely gorgeous on the outside, and had the same cores on the inside.
 

  Pencils
A few years ago, when Prismacolor introduced their new, attractive on the outside tins, the thin plastic layers that held the pencils in place allowed the pencils to rattle around in the tin. We recently found some brand new tins of Prismacolors, that have shrunk dramatically in size, while actually allowing more pencils to be stored. The old tin is on the left, the new one on the right.
 
 
Once you open the new tin, you see that the pencils are now stacked in the tin, one on top of the other, much tighter than the old tins. However, the pencils still manage to roll around a bit in the tin!
 
Inside the old tin:
 
 
Inside the new tin:
 
The top plastic tray has no pencil sharpener, but room for extra pencils and colorless blenders:
 
You might notice something else about the new tins.....First of all, there is a large notice which says 'Notice! New improved look in progress! Same Prismacolor Quality!' Well, darn about the same quality, we had hoped for improvement!
 
What is this NEW LOOK? First of all the pencils are already sharpened. Which is really nice if you have 132 new pencils that need to be sharpened! But take a closer look....these pencils were all lined up evenly on the bottom....and look at how unevenly they are sharpened! Some are very blunt, some more pointed...every other major colored pencil maker manages to get all of their pencils sharpened to the same degree!! Not to mention that some are sharpened from the wrong end- so the numbers and names are the first things to disappear. After this photo, We tried to get a sharp point on ours- even using the Prismacolor hand-held sharpener, and some of the pencils had breaking and crumbling leads that caused at least 1/3 of the pencil to disappear- before it had ever been used once!
 
 
The other difference is that the lettering is changing from Gold font to Silver font, with the color names also being printed in French. The new pencils bear the stamp of Mexico for the country of origin, the older ones say USA. Our tin had the pencils mixed- some old, some new. The new (silver font) pencils at least in our tin do not seem to have a bar scan code, so we still might be finding those nasty gummy labels on the pencils at some stores. Unless they make totally seperate pencils for open stock, which we doubt.
 
At the top of this picture is an old pencil, and at the bottom a new one.
 
 
If Prismacolor is actually trying to improve their pencils, they might try replacing the fugitive colors with more lightfast ones, and putting lightfast ratings on the pencils. And they could try sharpening them the same amount, printing the pencils with a much more readable black lettering rather than metallic. Oh, and arranging them in color order, gluing the core to the pencil better and coating the core with a break-resistant coating, which companies like Faber-Castell do. Most importantly though, would be to make sure the cores are centered in the wood. And while we are dreaming they could throw in a colorless blender with each set so new colored pencil artists know that they exist, and get used to using them. A little 'how to' booklet would be nice too.
 
The smaller tins are much nicer in our opinion, and making a stab at sharpening them is appreciated. If Prismacolors cannot be made in the USA, then making them in Mexico will help out our close neighbors and save a lot of fuel, as opposed to making them in China. But the success of the many German, UK, Swiss, and Japanese companies at making quality art pencils shows that the USA deserves to have a least one art-quality pencil manufactuer.
 
 
 
 
  Prismacolor Premier Pencils
 
 
Prismacolor 150 Color Chart
Please note that the NEON colors did NOT show up well on our scans. They are too reflective! Please help support our efforts by buying your own copy of this chart HERE.
 
 
  Prismacolor Premier Color Chart- 132 Color Set
 
#
Name
#
Name
938
White
920
Light Green
914
Cream
1021
Jade Green
915
Lemon Yellow
1020
Celadon Green
940
Sand
910
True Green
1012
Jasmine
1005
Limepeel
916
Canary Yellow
912
Apple Green
942
Yellow Ochre
1096
Kelly Green
1003
Spanish Orange
992
Light Aqua
917
Sunburst Yellow
1006
Parrot Green
1034
Goldenrod
905
Aquamarine
1002
Yellowed Orange
909
Grass Green
939
Peach
911
Olive Green
1001
Salmon Pink
1097
Moss Green
1033
Mineral Orange
1098
Artichoke
1032
Pumpkin Orange
907
Peacock Green
918
Orange
908
Dark Green
921
Pale Vermilion
988
Marine Green
1018
Pink Rose
1090
Kelp Green
928
Blush Pink
1091
Green Ochre
1092
Nectar
997
Beige
1018
Pink Rose
927
Light Peach
928
Hot Pink
1093
Seashell Pink
994
Process Red
1083
Putty Beige
926
Carmine Red
1085
Peach Beige
922
Poppy Red
1080
Beige Sienna
923
Scarlet lake
1019
Rosy Beige
930
Magenta
1017
Clay Rose
924
Crimson Red
1084
Ginger Root
925
Crimson Lake
945
Sienna Brown
1030
Raspberry
943
Burnt Ochre
1026
Greyed Lavender
944
Terra Cotta
934
Lavender
1031
Henna
956
Lilac
1081
Chestnut
1008
Parma Violet
1029
Mahogany Red
1009
Dahlia Purple
937
Tuscan Red
931
Dark Purple
1078
Black Cherry
995
Mulberry
1095
Black Raspberry
996
Black Grape
941
Light Umber
1007
Imperial Violet
1094
Sandbar Brown
932
Violet
1082
Chocolate
1086
Sky Blue Light
946
Dark Brown
1023
Cloud Blue
947
Dark Umber
1087
Powder Blue
948
Sepia
1103
Caribbean Sea
1099
Espresso
1024
Blue Slate
1068
10% French Grey
1102
Blue Lake
1069
20% French Grey
1079
Blue Violet Lake
1070
30% French Grey
919
Non-Photo Blue
1072
50% French Grey
1088
Muted Turquoise
1074
70% French Grey
1040
Electric Blue
1076
90% French Grey
1022
Mediterranean Blue
1059
10% Cool Grey
1025
Periwinkle
1060
20% Cool Grey
936
Slate Grey
1061
30% Cool Grey
904
Light Cerulean Blue
1063
50% Cool Grey
903
True Blue
1065
70% Cool Grey
1027
Peacock Blue
1067
90% Cool Grey
1101
Denim Blue
1050
10% Warm Grey
902
Ultramarine
1051
20% Warm Grey
1100
China Blue
1052
30% Warm Grey
906
Copenhagen Blue
1054
50% Warm Grey
933
Violet Blue
1056
70% Warm Grey
901
Indigo Blue
1058
90% Warm Grey
1089
Pale Sage
935
Black
1004
Yellow Chartreuse
1028
Bronze
989
Chartreuse
949
Silver
913
Spring Green
950
Metallic Gold
 
Note that some of the neons and decos have been discontinued. Some have been added back into the 150 sets. Why add the neons back and NOT add the Neon Green?? Lime green was one of the most popular neon colors in the 1960's.