Prismacolor Pencils: An In-Depth Review and Comparison

Prismacolor Pencils: An In-Depth Review and Comparison

Learn the differences between the five types of Prismacolor colored pencils and determine which is the right fit for you.

Prismacolors are some of the best pencils for coloring. They are used by professional artists and illustrators all around the world. They are top-quality alcohol-based markers that are designed to last a lifetime. However, these benefits do not come without a price. It can be difficult to decide which type of Copic to buy since they are a larger investment than other art supplies.

Types of Prismacolors

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PremierVerithinScholarWatercolorCol-Erase

Prismacolor Premier Soft Core

Prismacolor Premier Blue Slate Pencil

Number of Colors
150
Available Colors
Pigment Type
Soft

Pros
  • Excellent for Blending / Shading
  • Largest Color Variety
Cons
  • Wear Down Quickly
  • Fragile

Premier Soft Cores are hands-down the best colored pencils for blending.

Prismacolor Premiers are some of the most popular pencils for coloring, and for good reason. They’re fantastic pencils. The soft core make them easy to blend with and let you lay down bolder colors faster.

The reason Prismacolors are so loved is the pigment core. It is soft and almost waxy, compared to the brittle lead of Crayola and other pencils. This lets is spread like butter! When you blend with Prismacolor Premiers, it’s almost like you’re mixing the two colors together rather than layering one over the other.

While they’re more expensive than Crayolas, Premier’s are cheaper than lots of professional pencils and are a great bang for the buck. You can often find them on sale on Amazon. Lots of shops also stock these pencils; I’ve seen them at Walmart, Target, and other places you wouldn’t expect.

Use the links below to view current Amazon prices:

Prismacolor Premier Verithin

Prismacolor Verithin Olive Green Pencil

Number of Colors
36
Available Colors
Pigment Type
Hard

Pros
  • Perfect for Details and Crisp Edges
  • Can be Sharpened to a Fine Point
  • Long-Lasting
Cons
  • Bad For Blending
  • Takes Time to Build Color

The Verithins are perfect for small spaces, fine details, and clean, crisp edges.

Prismacolor Verithins are the perfect complement to the Soft Cores. These are perfect for fine detail work and getting into tight spaces. Once you’ve filed in the big areas, the Verithins will add the details that bring your coloring to life.

These pencils have a much harder core. This means that you can sharpen them to a very fine point. A sharp tip helps you fill each nook and cranny and create clean, crisp lines and edges. It takes a little longer to build up colors, but the result is well worth it.

While Verithins are a bit more expensive than Soft Cores, they only come in 36 colors, so buying the full set isn’t too hard on your wallet. Since they are harder, they also last a bit longer, especially if you only use them for detail work.

Overall, the Verithins aren’t the best all around collection pencils, but are a great addition to your existing collection. They shine when used in combination with other pencil types.

Use the links below to view current Amazon prices:

Prismacolor Scholar

Prismacolor Scholar Orange Pencil

Number of Colors
60
Available Colors
Pigment Type
Medium-Soft

Pros
  • Very Versatile
  • Good Value
Cons
  • Jack-of-All-Trades, Master-of-None

If you’re looking for an affordable all-around pencil, the Scholars are a perfect match.

Prismacolor Scholars are the recommended pencils for student artists. They’re more affordable than some of the other Prismacolor lines, and they are great all around pencils. Their versatility make them a favorite alternative to Premiers.

Scholars are harder than Premiers but softer than Verithins. It’s a good middle ground which means you can use them for blending and shading as well as fine detailed work.

Since they’re meant for students, these pencils are a bit more affordable. However, they only come in 60 colors, so you may feel limited if you’re used to the 150 color count of the Premier Soft Cores.

Use the links below to view current Amazon prices:

Prismacolor Premier WaterColor

Prismacolor Watercolor Copenhagen Pencil

Number of Colors
36
Available Colors
Pigment Type
Water Soluble

Pros
  • Extremely Smooth Blends
  • Fun to Use and Experiment With
Cons
  • Specific Uses
  • Require Water
  • Watercolor Techniques Take Practice

Premier Watercolors aren’t for everyday coloring, but are great pencils that put a fun spin on blending.

Watercolor pencils aren’t for everybody, but when used correctly, the Premier Water Solubles are even more blendable than the Soft Cores. Unlike normal colored pencils, once you finish coloring with these, you can brush over your work with water to blend the pigment right on the page.

The core of these pencils are really unique. They remind me of the dry watercolor paints you would use as a kid. When the pigment gets wet, it dissolves and spreads evenly through the liquid. This can make for some amazing blends and coloring effects.

The Premier Watercolors can be hard to find and as such are on the more expensive side. You may want to try watercolor out to see if it’s for you before purchasing a set. However, if you decide you like it, these pencils are high-quality a great choice (like all Prismacolors).

Use the links below to view current Amazon prices:

Prismacolor Premier Col-Erase

Prismacolor Col-Erase Carmine Red Pencil

Number of Colors
24
Available Colors
Pigment Type
Medium-Hard

Pros
  • Artist-Quality Eraseable Pencils
Cons
  • Poor Color Variety

Col-Erase are perfect for perfectionists who want an artist-quality erasable colored pencil.

If you’ve ever planned a whole color scheme for a page, only to mess it up halfway through, then you need to try the Prismacolor Col-Erase pencils. While other erasable colored pencils often feel cheap or don’t color well, the Col-Erase bring the same high-quality you expect from the brand.

In order to stay erasable, the Col-Erase have to be on the harder side. Most people find these pencils most comparable to the Verithins. The harder lead means it takes longer to fill in large areas, but that’s the price you pay for an erasable colored pencil.

These are less popular and a bit harder to find than other Prismacolors. However, if you’re looking for them, you should be able to find a pack at a decent price. Since there are only 24 colors in this line, you won’t break the bank getting the full set.

Use the links below to view current Amazon prices:


Prismacolor Color Chart

With 229 colors in the entire Prismacolor color wheel, you should be able to find the shade or hue you are looking for. However, every color is not available for every type of pencil. If you want every color that Prismacolor offers, you’ll have to branch out from just one type of pencil.

Use the chart below to view Prismacolor’s entire color collection and see which pencils come in the shade you are looking for. Hover over a color swatch to view the name of the color.

Want to know which colors are available for each different pencil type?
Use the buttons at the bottom of your screen to filter the color chart based on each type of Prismacolor Pencil.


French Grey 20%

White

French Grey 10%

Deco Peach

Poppy Red

Chestnut

Cadmium Orange Hue

Peach

Light Peach

Orange

Neon Orange

Salmon

Seashell Pink

Terracotta

Pumpkin Orange

Mineral Orange

Burnt Ochre

Peach Beige

French Grey 30%

Pale Vermillon

Nectar

Chocolate

Sunburst Yellow

Sienna Brown

Beige

Sand

Putty Beige

Espresso

Light Umber

Eggshell

Goldenrod

Spanish Orange

Sandbar Brown

Yellow Ochre

Bronze

Ginger Root

Green Ochre

Metallic Gold

Jasmine

Artichoke

Deco Yellow

Neon Yellow

Lemon Yellow

Cream

Chartreuse

Yellow Chartreuse

Limepeel

Dark Umber

Moss Green

Pale Sage

Spring Green

Kelp Green

Dark Brown

Apple Green

Kelley Green

Marine Green

Grass Green

Grey Green Light

True Green

Sepia

Dark Green

Olive Green

Light Green

Parrot Green

Prussian Green

Celadon Green

Sap Green Light

Light Aqua

Aquamarine

Jade Green

Peacock Green

Muted Turquoise

Non Photo Blue

Black

Cool Grey 50

Cool Grey 10

Cool Grey 30

Sky Blue Light

Electric Blue

Cloud Blue

Cobalt Turquoise

Slate Gray

Cool Grey 70

Light Cerulean Blue

Blue Slate

Cool Grey 90

Mediterranean Blue

Peacock Blue

True Blue

Caribbean Sea

Powder Blue

Metallic Silver

Cerulean Blue

Periwinkle

Cobalt Blue Hue

Indanthrone Blue

Dioxazine Purple Hue

Copenhagen Blue

French Grey 70%

Blue Lake

Indigo Blue

Ultramarine

Imperial Violet

Violet Blue

China Blue

Warm Grey 70

Denim Blue

French Grey 90%

Blue Violet Lake

Parma Violet

Violet

Black Grape

Warm Grey 90

Greyed Lavender

Warm Grey 30

Warm Grey 50

Dahlia Purple

Lilac

Warm Grey 20

Mulberry

French Grey 50%

Cool Grey 20

Lavender

Dark Purple

Process Red

Beige Sienna

Magenta

Mahogany Red

Raspberry

Warm Grey 10

Rosy Beige

Hot Pink

Black Cherry

Pink

Pink Rose

Neon Pink

Crimson Lake

Pomegranate

Tuscan Red

Henna

Blush Pink

Black Raspberry

Carmine Red

Deco Pink

Permanent Red

Scarlett Lake

Crimson Red

Apple Green

Cool Grey 70%

Violet Blue

Deco Pink

Cream

Scarlet Red

Light Peach

Orange

Terra Cotta

Peach

Vermilion Red

Deep Orange

Sienna

Neon Orange

Dark Brown

Orange Ochre

Raw Umber

Yellow Ochre

Lemon Yellow

Neon Yellow

Orange Yellow

Cream

Yellow Chartreuse

Pale Warm Grey

Pale Green

Avocado Green

Neon Green

Grass Green

Permanent Green

Olive Green

Dark Green

Peacock Green

Light Green

Aquamarine

Sky Blue

Pale Cold Grey

Light Blue

Dark Grey

Medium Cold Grey

Permanent Blue

Silver

Cloud Blue

Copenhagen Blue

Indigo Blue

Black

Porcelaine Blue

Violet

Light Violet

Orchid

Lavender

Purple

Mauve

Magenta

Neon Pink

Pink

Fuchsia

Crimson Lake

Light Pink

Tuscan Red

Carmine Red

Crimson Red

Terra Cotta

Vermilion

Brown

Light Peach

Orange

Canary Yellow

Grass Green

Light Green

Green

Light Grey

Light Blue

Black

Indigo Blue

Violet

Purple

Lavender

Rose

Pink

Tuscan Red

Carmine Red

Scarlet Red

Differences Between Prismacolors

Each type of Prismacolor has a specific use, and unique strengths and weaknesses. Some are versatile and do a lot of things well. Others are more specialized and are some of the best pencils for what they do. Whatever your style, there's a pencil for you.


Color Variety

You should always consider color variety when adding new colored pencils to your collection. You might like the way a certain pencil colors, only to find out that it only comes in a few colors.

Most people agree that more color options are better. Knowing that, it's pretty easy to pick a best and worst Prismacolor line when it comes to color choice:

Most Color Options
Premier Soft Core Set of 72

Prismacolor Premier Soft Core
150 Colors

Fewest Color Options
Col-Erase Set of 12

Prismacolor Col-Erase
24 Colors


Pigment Type

The term "pigment" refers to the colored core of the pencil. The makeup of the pigment determines how the pencil colors, and defines its strengths and weaknesses.

The reason Premier Soft Cores blend so well is in the name. The softer pigment used in these pencil spreads, whereas harder pigments crumble. The soft, spreadable pigment makes it easier to mix different color pigments on the page.

Harder pigments are more resistant and don't wear down as quickly. This means that you can sharpen them to a finer point, and they'll keep that point for longer. This is especially useful when coloring fine details or in tight spaces.

Using our knowledge of pigments, we've selected the best Prismacolors for specific coloring techniques:

Best For Blending and Shading
Premier Soft Core Set of 72

Prismacolor Premier Soft Core
Soft Pigment for Great Blending

Honorable Mention
Watercolor Set of 24

Prismacolor Watercolor
Unique Blending Effects


Best For Details
Premier Verithin Set of 12

Prismacolor Verithin
Hardest Pigment For The Sharpest Point

Honorable Mention
Scholar Set of 48

Prismacolor Scholar
Slightly Softer, But More Versatile


Most Versatile
Scholar Set of 48

Prismacolor Scholar
Hard Enough For Detailing, Soft Enough For Blending

Honorable Mention
Col-Erase Set of 12

Prismacolor Col-Erase
A Surprisingly Versatile Erasable Colored Pencil


Prismacolor Resources

Alternatives to Prismacolor Pencils

Not everything lives up to the hype. Prismacolors are popular, but some colorists still like other pencils better. Below you'll find our recommendations if you decide these pencils aren't for you.


A tin of Faber Castell Polychromos pencils, an altenative to Prismacolor pencils
Faber Castell Polychromos

The Rolls Royce of colored pencils. These are serious, artist-grade tools. The pigment is harder than Prismacolor Soft-Cores, which some people prefer. This means blending will take a bit more effort. Still, Polychromos are prized for their rich colors and their smooth feel. They are top of the line pencils, with a top of the line price tag; you'll be lucky to find a them for less than a dollar apiece.


A set of Marco Raffine pencils
Marco Raffine

If you want an easy-to-blend soft-core pencil but can't afford Prismacolors, try the Marco Raffines out. They're a bit cheaper, and like the Premier Soft-Cores, they have a waxier pigment that is easier to blend that other colored pencils. You can get essentially the same feel at a lower price tag. Some people even prefer the Marcos!