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PRISMACOLOR


Manufactured in the USA by Sanford, part of a major US conglomerate,

the website is at http://www.prismacolor.com

I 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 a few years ago.


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 purepencils.co.uk).  However if you are looking just for sets of pencils,

In 2015 (January),  my research tells me that Amazon UK do stock sets of Prismacolor, as do Homecrafts UK


They are much cheaper to buy mail order from the USA, if despatched to an address in the USA,  but VAT and import Duty as well as high shipping costs make direct import to the UK and Europe uneconomic.

For this reason I recommend you try the stockists listed above or check for an Internet supplier in your local country in Europe.

The lady who runs www.1buy1pencils.co.uk (who have provided an excellent service in the past) had medical problems in 2011 so service has been intermittent. A new 1buy1 website is now running (Jan 2015) and shows stock levels.  

An alternative web site - Refuelled.com - offers some Prismacolor sets but not individual pencils. They do ship across Europe, however.


The PRISMACOLOR range includes several different categories with some lightfast to ASTMS 6901.  The standard 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.


Since early in 2010, Sanford are reported to have 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 appear to be lower than the 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 available


In 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/


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WARNING !!    FAULTY GOODS ON SALE

We still get reports of Prismacolor pencils being shipped for retail sale which consistently break, are bent , and have cores which slide out when used ( October and early November 2011 ).  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 around £1.50p each for pencils, you need to be sure they are going to be useable,

and if they prove to be faulty, you have 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.


UPDATE AUGUST 2012

I have made enquires of a number of contacts to see if the problem relating to poor quality open stock pencils has 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 reports from Australia as recently as last month.

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 they sell.

The advice is always to buy from sources where faulty stock can be returned for replacement


February 2013

I posted a request to the 500 or so monthly readers of this Prismacolor page asking if they could now confirm that Prismacolor could be regarded as a quality pencil again, after the difficulties seen, following the move of manufacture to Mexico in 2011 / 12.

Although I get regular correspondence from readers, No one replied on this point, so I left the warning in place.


APRIL 2014

Over a year on, and I was reading the Colored Pencil Art Lovers forum this evening on Facebook and see that there is a lively debate about the continuing poor manufacture of Prismacolor pencils with loose cores needing various ‘cures’ to keep them working.

Frankly, I think that if you are buying pencils from a major manufacturer, you deserve to get a quality product. Obviously Sanford are taking no notice of complaints. I make no further comment.


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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 2016 ) is the 55 page set produced by Australian CP artist Karen Hull.

http://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



























HOWEVER -  IF YOU WISH TO COMPARE COLOURS from the Prismacolor range with those of other manufacturers, there are also the old sets of charts available in the section of this site titled ‘Colour comparisons’ where charts can be downloaded that enable you to get an approximate colour match.  The colour range in Prismacolor is shown in the Karisma/Prismacolor colour set

These charts are the most up to date free system I have for comparing Prismacolor with other brands

Be aware, though, that the charts published here are based on working the colours with a set of the old Karisma coloured pencils.

The colour range is the same for those colours that match by name and number, but since the close down of the Karisma factory in the UK, there have been a number of new colours brought into the Prismacolor selection and those have not been included as I haven’t sent off for a new set of the pencils from the USA just to do the charts !


Latest revision Sept 2016

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