Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pencil Comparison - new

Here's an updated version of my pencil comparisons... I've added a few more brands and put them all together in one chart. I was thinking I had a red in every line in my collection, which was true.... until I got down to the Pablos. Ha! Anyway, take a look - the swatch to the left is pure pencil, while the right swatch of each pencil is blended with odorless mineral spirits (the exceptions are the Inktense pencil, blended with water, and the Graphitint, blended with mineral spirits to the left of the swatch and water on the right. I was working on text weight paper, so the water blending didn't go so well, but it gives you an idea, anyway).

1. There has been talk about a drop in quality (specifically in blendability) since Prismacolor production moved to Mexico. I honestly didn't notice a difference. Prismacolor remains my 'go-to' favorite, though it's fun to fill in colors where their line is lacking!

2. IF money were no object... of the pencils above I would love to have more of the Pablos. So many great colors, and they blend so richly... sigh...

3. I still find the Derwent Studio pencils to be the poorest blenders. By the way, I learned that the Studio line and the Artist line have the same color cores, but the Artist pencils have a bigger diameter. I don't dislike these pencils, though, actually. I've been doing more pencil work without blending with mineral spirits, and the firm lead on these is nice for that technique.

4. I got a set of 24 Coloursoft pencils - they are very soft and blendable - nice pencils. I find the lead a little crumbly, but not overly so. Good value for the price.

5. The Creative Mark line (Raffine) is new to me, and I thought I'd try out a small set because the price was right. They covered well and blended fine, but lost some color in the blending. However, adding layers of color is always an option, so if you're looking for an inexpensive pencil, they're not a bad option. You can read an excellent review on the pencils at Rob's Art Supply Reviews.

6. As far as the best value for price, the Blick line is limited in its color range but the pencils are brilliant and also blend well.

If you click on the "FAQ" label over to the left, you can pull up all the pencil comparison posts at once.

I would be happy to answer questions if you have them - leave them in the comment section and I will answer them in a separate post. Hope this information is helpful to you!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


  1. Thanks for the comparison Dina. I recently bought some Derwent Coloursoft pencils and they blend beautifully, but the leads can be slightly crumbly. It's odd, but some of Prismacolor pencils (which are made in the USA and are about a year old) will NOT blend with OMS - specifically 2 of the reds and several of the blues and greys - the rest of the colours work beautifully - so I wonder if there is some difference with different Odourless Mineral Spirits (?). I don't use Gamsol - just Art Spectrum brand - thought they were all the same thing (?).

  2. Thanks so much for this. I'm planning to get my hands on some prisma pencils and have been wondering for ages, do i pick up individual pencils or should i buy a pack..Since I'm in India. it makes sense to get what I want at a go..

    Have you used the colorless blender pencil instead of OMS? I don't know if we get OMS in India..and those pencils could be an option..

  3. Hi Dina, thanks for testing and comparison! I have another question for you, as they sell Caran Dache here and the man in the art shop recommended Caran Dache Luminance as a better one than Derwent Colour soft and the 'previous'Karisma pencils. Have you ever used the 'Luminance'?

    Greetz, Miranda

  4. Dear Dina Thanks so mcuh for this page I am going to link it on to my side bar as dont want to ever lose it again.. very interesting and informative words I am a calligrapher/cardmaker and have been going to upgrade my pencils for ages as use them in both, since I do art quality Illuminated works am going for Caran D'Ache Supracolour like you have odds and sods of number of pencils but now getting hard to get them individually so going to buy a set these ones are just superior to all of the ones I have tried including my sisters Prismacolours..
    If you check my blog (see
    http://calligraphycards-shazinoz.blogspot.com/2011/03/fragility-of-life-challenge.html) the text at the top in turquoise and purple has been done in the Supracolour in my embossed style and you will see what I mean. My blog friend Jobear or Jocelyn from "Instead of ironing blogspot" sent me your link on my current post in the comments.. anyway must away. Being sent this info was so timely as still in the midst of deciding and you have answered a lots of questions here really and truly appreciated,
    Shaz in Oz.x