PRISMACOLORManufactured in the USA by Sanford, part of a major US conglomerate, the website is at www.prismacolor.comI have had difficulty linking to the Sanford Prismacolor site in the past. The link seems to die on me quickly after being set up.If the link goes dead again, you will need to search Google under Prismacolor for information.PRISMACOLOR enjoy the position of the major American brand in the USA, which is the major worldwide market for Coloured Pencils. A large proportion of top USA pencil artists use them and virtually all the books published in the USA feature them. A Sanford subsidiary, Berol, used to make an identical pencil ( KARISMA ) in the UK until the plant was closed in an economy drive several years ago. Later Karisma pencils were all marked ‘ Made in the USA for Berol’.There are signs of the Prismacolor pencils appearing in UK specialist retailers and they are readily available through UK based Internet suppliers (such as www.1buy1pencils.co.uk and www.purepencils.co.uk). However if you are looking just for sets of pencils, In 2017 (July), my research tells me that Amazon UK do stock sets of Prismacolor, as do Homecrafts UK The UK Amazon Price for a full set of 150 colours in a tin with plastic layers, is around £90 ( July 2017 ) making them a very inexpensive pencil to buy.They are even cheaper to buy mail order in the USA, but it is uneconomic to buy from the USA for shipping to you in the UK, as VAT and import Duty as well as high shipping costs take the price way above the Amazon UK offer….For this reason I recommend you try the stockists listed above or check for an Internet supplier in your local country in Europe.You need to be sure that you have a local facility to return any faulty goods received from an Internet source ( see below )Suppliers of individual Prismacolor pencils in the UK are …….www.pencilkings.comwww.1buy1pencils.co.ukwww.refuelled.comThe PRISMACOLOR range includes several different categories. The standard ‘Premier’ line has the same core and many of the same colours as the old UK Karisma brand so Karisma users in the UK are not totally without their ‘fix’.The pencils are made with a wax binder and are soft in feel, working at their best on a softer surfaced paper such as are produced for making prints ( Stonehenge - made in the USA is an example). Until Caran d’Ache produced Luminance, and Derwent marketed Coloursoft, Prismacolor pencils were the softest made.In 2010, Sanford moved Prismacolor manufacture entirely to Mexico.Production problems sometimes result in pencil stock going out for sale with bent wooden outer sleeves, broken pigment cores and loose pigment cores, so that buyers in the USA report a number of methods to keep the pencils working - such as cooking them in microwaves to re-fix the cores. The quality standards from the Mexican factory appear to be lower than European makers.The Prismacolor Lightfast line ( all pencils manufactured to ASTMS 96901 ) has been discontinued and there is no indication when ( or if ) it will again be availableIn October/November 2011 Prismacolor in the USA announced the return of the Deco range of colours that had been previously discontinued and announced the addition of a number of new colours to their Premier range ( the main selection).This additional 18 colours makes the range up to 150 colours. The Prismacolor website gives details here :http://blog.prismacolor.com/2011/10/introducing-18-new-colors-revived-and-refreshed-for-2011/…..........................................................................................................................................................................WARNING !! FAULTY GOODS STILL ON SALEWe still get reports of Prismacolor pencils being shipped for retail sale which consistently break, are bent , and have cores which slide out when used. Quality control does not seem to have improved with the move of manufacturing to Mexico.My own feeling is that if you are going to spend between £1 and £1.50p each for pencils, you need to be sure they are going to be useable, and if they prove to be faulty, you need the ability to complain and return the faulty goods. In Europe, this is much easier with European manufacturers - and I have not come across similar complaints with any of the main European manufacturers.IN AUGUST 2012I made enquires of a number of contacts to see if the problem relating to poor quality open stock pencils had been sorted out.It would seem not.Manufacturers in Mexico of Prismacolor open stock ( single replacement pencils) seem still to be having trouble with stock going out to retailers which has loose cores. broken cores, bent and warped wooden covers and cores not centrally positioned ( so sharpening becomes a problem). Not only are there still USA reports coming through, but also recent reports from Australia.Clearly the manufacturers are not concerned that their good name is being wrecked by poor standards, and are relying on the sheer bulk of sales in the World’s largest Pencil market (USA) to carry them through. Fortunately there are no reports of problems from the UK, where the brand has only small exposure and that mainly through Internet sellers who clearly inspect the stock before they sell.The advice is always to buy from sources where stock found to be faulty can be returned for replacementOVER THE LAST 5 YEARS I HAVE MADE SEVERAL ENQUIRIES ABOUT THESE FAULTY PENCILSand had similar complaints so not a lot has changed………IN JULY 2017 when I started to put together this new set of notes for Topics, I looked again at this problem….From reviews from buyers of Prismacolor over the last 12 months, there are still complaints of breaking and broken cores and splintering wood, as well as loose cores falling out. It is clear the problem of poor quality manufacture is still present, although there are reports from some buyers that they have had no difficulties and that they were very happy with their purchases.Sanford seem to be happy to market a high volume, low quality product at a low price. If you are buying in the UK or Europe, make sure that your returns facility to the seller is good.…..........................................................................................................................................................................Readers of books published in the USA who need to match the colours described will find that several are unique to Prismacolor, and this can give rise to problems if you don’t have Prismacolor pencils.The old charts which were prepared over 10 years ago by UKCPS President Bob Ebdon were out of date as several new brands have been introduced and the stock of printed charts has now run out. Apart from the Topics system for comparing colours ( also now becoming out of date ) several other Coloured Pencil artists have produced varying types of chart.The most up to date ( as at September 2017 ) is the 55 page set produced by Australian CP artist Karen Hull.www.karenhullart.com/Coloured-Pencil-Conversion-and-Comparison-Charts.php These charts can be downloaded in PDF format for a modest cost and are very comprehensive
PLEASE NOTE1. Comments made here are personal and are not sponsored by the manufacturers2. The order of listing is entirely down to the date the initial reviews were done, and more recently reviewed brands appear towards the end of the list.3. The guide is designed to aid those who are new to the medium of coloured pencil, helping them select a brand and product that may be most suitable for their needs.4. Just because one brand suits one person does not automatically make it ideal for everyone.