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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: [log in to unmask]" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">Maia Sanders
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 5:53 PM
To: [log in to unmask]" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">[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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