This it Part Two. Click here to go to Part One
My colorful history.
I've been coloring long before I was stamping. I bought my first Prismacolor pencil in 1979 for 40 cents each in the art department at Gimble's Department Store. I think I started with 3 or 4 and added to my collection as often as a jobless teenager could. Actually there were two brands for sale. Eagle Prismacolor and Venus Spectracolor. I tried them both, but even then I preferred the Prismacolor brand. Finding those pencils changed my opinion of coloring. I never liked to color before then. I hated crayons and coloring books. The only color pencils I knew of had two colors in each barrel, one on either end. Does anyone else remember pencils like this? and they had very hard core were difficult to color with. I think they were made for drawing or labeling maps or something like that.
Colored with Prismacolor Premier Color Pencils (Stamps by smARTworks)
printed background paper( Thomas Kincaidcollection)
I was genuinely impartial on my fact finding mission, because I did it for my own curiosity. But, I was excited to prove that Prismacolor Premier Pencils ranked among the best-- in my opinion! Knowing that the Blick "store brand" was equal to Prismacolor in every test, gives me permission to try more colors of other brands, something I hadn't even considered before. I also I am also happy to say that I discovered a whole new "different" love.
colored with Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor Oil-Based Colored Pencils
(rose leaf stamp by Rubber Stampede,rose and saying by smARTworks)
The Lyra pencil is quality pencil at a comparable price. They are not quite as soft as Prismacolor, but even that has it's benefits. The points don't break as easily, so it's easy to maintain for detailed coloring. They too have a colorless blender made specifically for their pencils. The only problem I have with them is there was no purple in the 24 set. How can you not have a best secondary color in a whole pack of 24 pencils? You know what that means don't you? I have to buy the bigger set*! I also like the quality of Faber-Castell. But, at some point, I'm going to have to stop buying pencils.
*I did check out the larger set and there are no purples in it either. I wonder if purple isn't a color that they can achieve that light fastness standard. The Lyra brand has a higher light fast rating on some of the colors. The Light Fast line of the Prismacolor pencils only had one color even remotely close to purple in the entire 48 color set. I would also like to know where the Stampin' Up color pencils rate among the "artist quality" brands. But, I'll have to save that curiosity for another day.
Prices and Availability
Another observation from my quest. Shop around because prices vary tremendously sometimes even within one store or chain. I went to several Hobby Lobby stores in the course of this search. Because they don't have bar codes and scanners, everything has a price sticker. Evidently there was a price increase because there were pencils on the shelves with different prices. For instance, that pack of 24 Lyra pencils was marked 24.99. The one behind it was 21.99. Of course I picked up the cheaper one and used my coupon. I also purchased a set of water soluble ink pencils in one store at $15.99 and another store the same set was $19.99.
Again, I love it that Prismacolors has the most colors and are available everywhere, from Office Depot to Staples to Michaels and Hobby Lobby. (by the way, Hobby Lobby has an online store now, Crafts Etc.) Hobby Lobby and Michaels have 48 colors open stock. Dick Blick sells all the colors open stock and sets and their prices are significantly less than the big stores. There are other online art supply sites, but I cannot recommend them personally. If you have a personal recommendation post a link in the comment section and I'll add the links to the bottom of this post.
My conclusion: Use what you have. The pencils I tried for the most part are all good. For some it was like comparing oranges to tangerines. While there are some differences, either would get the job done. If you're looking for a recommendation because you don't have any good color pencils, I would definitely recommend Prismacolor, for the quality, availability, color selection, and price.
Different Colors Available
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils ~132,
Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils ~120
Caran d'Ache Pablo Colored Pencils ~120
Blick Studio Artists' Colored Pencils ~ 72
Derwent Coloursoft Pencils ~72
Derwent Artist Pencils ~72
Prismacolor Premier Lightfast Colored Pencils~ 48
Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor Premium Oil-Based Colored Pencils ~ 36
I don't know what I'm going to do when I start teaching the Water Coloring for Stampers class.....