I love Prismacolor pencils and when I first thought of making a coloring kit to supplement my book, I assumed that Prismacolor would be the brand of colored pencil I would use. In the process of researching possibilities and counting costs, however, I have become less sure of this decision. First and foremost is the cost. Because professional art pencils cost many times more than common brands, and would greatly reduce the return on my kit, I wanted to see how much of a difference there really is for someone just wanting the pleasure of coloring and perhaps not intending to make a great work of art. So yesterday I bought several of the more common brands of coloring pencils, as well as a 12 count Prismacolor box, and began coloring for comparison.
The first things I noticed is that all other brands come pre-sharpened. Prismacolor does not, thus necessitating the inclusion of a sharpener in the kit. Also, I had forgotten how brittle Prismacolor is, and it took me a long time with several frustrating breaks before I had my P pencils sharpened. (I don't think about this much with my own set because I have an electric sharpener. )
Then came the palette comparisons. Cost would prohibit me from including more than the 12 color set if I use Prismacolor. Other sets are much less expensive and I could include 24 colors. I did an actual color comparison (shown here.) I liked the colors included in the Crayola 24 set the best, even over Prismacolor.
Most important was the coloring test: how well the pencil lays down color on the paper.
This is where Prismacolor shines. It is very pigment rich, soft, and waxy, and blends well. For the same reasons, it is messier than all the others, which was somewhat of a problem when coloring the intricate detailed designs I use.
Of the other brands I tested, Crayola was clearly the best. While not as heavy as Prismacolor, if you take your time, it does a nice job. The example shown here is colored completely with Crayola 24. I was able to accomplish some blending and shading. (I would bypass the garish packaging of Crayola and not include their box.)
Clearly, my choice is between these two brands (unless I want to test out more pro pencil brands.) I'm trying to think of what a customer of this book would want and not what I would use as an artist. I already have nearly every color Prismacolor makes and would have a blast using my set to play with this book. But what would a beginner want me to include in a gift set? Any opinions?