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The two brands - FC and Prisma - seem to handle very differently to me. Derwent Colorsoft seems to be somewhere in the middle, a nice compromise. On the one hand, I love how soft and easy to blend the Prismacolors are, the wide range, and certain very useful colors I just haven't found in the other brands. On the other hand, the waxy bloom has to be dealt with. At certain points there are layering issues with both brands when I try to develop very deep colors over a broad area (argument for underpainting, I suppose! : )). I like the Prismacolor Verithins for crisp detail -- they're not as good as they used to be, for sure, but there's a bit of a wider range. 

In the process of teaching some colored pencil classes  the past two years I've tried to explore most major brands including student-grade materials. 

Once you're past Crayola the field opens up into oily, waxy and gritty. I don't care much for the gritty ones (Soho, etc.) but I'm sure they have their place. The Japanese pencils have a bit of grit to them, similar to Soho and Kohi-noor.

After killing a pencil sharpener at work, trying to be expedient in my work flow, I've been a bit shy of touching one again. What current market electric sharpeners would people recommend? I will probably be offering these classes again and an electric would be something nice to have on hand!

It would be nice for Prismacolor to increase quality - they have a great market presence and a good price point for students, especially if you catch them on sale at DB, etc. 

Kathy G

On Feb 18, 2015, at 10:04 AM, B Fenenga wrote:

> I noticed the change as well, but I haven't had problems since I switched to an electric (cord) pencil sharpener.  Since then, the breaking has been rare.  I tried to give the F-C a chance, but I just don't like them.  I know I am in the minority with that.
> 
> On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 7:19 PM, Jane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Maia,
> This has been an on going problem for years now.  Three years ago I grew disgusted and had my students change to Faber-Castell.  That semester they really did not know the difference, but I did.  For me, they just did not blend as well.  The following semester I went back to Prisma Color, with a difference.  Every time a student had problems with a pencil (you listed them all!) I called Dick Blick (from whom we get our supplies) and they replaced the pencil-s free of charge.  I hoped that might encourage Sanford to do something about quality control.  No luck yet. 
>  
> Jane
>  
> From: Maia Sanders
> Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 5:53 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [SCIART] Time to abandon prismacolor?
>  
> I recently restocked my prismacolors to prepare for a series of CP illustrations, and in refreshing my color pencil skills I notice a significant reduction in quality, with many breakages, lead slipping from the casing, wood splintering when sharpening, etc- the only thing that hasn't changed for the worse is the working quality of the pencil. 
>  
> Researching for five minutes leads me to believe the quality has gone to the dogs ( no offense to dogs of quality!) since the product was sold and manufacturing moved to Mexico.
>  
> Question is: what are people using for colored pencil these days? Are they just putting up with prismacolor or is there some better alternative? I know prismacolor are fairly inexpensive and able to restock easily. But the good price goes away when you have to sharpen a new pencil to 3" long to get a point on it.
>  
> Thanks all,
>  
> Maia
>  
>  
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Kathleen Garness

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