Hi everyone!! I'm sorry it's been such a long time since I posted here. I've been doing a lot of other projects! If you haven't yet, please check out my Instagram to see all the art I've been working on, and be sure to check out my stories as I'm very active there, and I actually just started Livestreaming!
You can check out my Instagram Streams on Fridays + Saturdays at 10:30pm, EST.
As for today, I'm talking about colored pencils! I started this blog by doing an Alcohol Marker review: Copics VS Ohuhus. Both are good markers, but with huge price differences. It's the same for our pencils today:
We're Reviewing the Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils (Soft Core), VS the Cezanne Colored Pencils! Like before, we've got a very well known and more expensive brand, Prismacolor, against a lesser known and cheaper competitor, Cezanne! We'll determine if the price of Prismacolor is worth it, or if Cezanne can do the trick!
To start, here are the images I made to compare the two pencils, and the art I'll be referencing throughout the review:
I did Isabelle with Prismacolors:
I am really happy with the results of this art!!
I don't have many complaints with the way the Prismacolor pencils worked for this art. I would say the only frustration was how the pencils did not really want to layer the white gel pen over it unless I was using a new and very full pen. I also noticed that some of the wax from the pencil sort of weakened my lineart, and I had to reline the piece. Unfortunately, I meant to record a video of my process for coloring these two pieces, but I forgot!
I did Daisy Mae with Cezannes:
I actually don't really spot much of a difference between the pencil quality in these two!! I think both pieces turned out nicely! I maybe struggled more WHILE creating art with the Cezannes, but the overall results of the art seem almost identical. I think that speaks a lot about how I feel with these pencisl.
Now onto the full review:
We're judging both sets of pencils on the following 5 criteria:
We'll rate these pencils out of 40 points, 10 points for each category. The fifth category will not include a points system. (Please don't take my scoring system too seriously - its all based on personal preference!)
Let's get onto the review!
There are a few different specific types of Prismacolor colored pencils, so to avoid confusion, I want to clarify I'm only discussing the PREMIER SOFT CORE pencils. This review does not refer to Prismacolor's watercolor, col-erase, verithin, or scholar colored pencils. These are all different types of Prismacolor brand pencils with varying qualities. Soft Core has the most color options at 150 colors.
Prismacolor pencils come in a wide range of sizes, so here they are below. All prices mentioned in this review are taken from Amazon and may be subject to change.
12 Pack - $10
24 Pack - $19
36 Pack - $40
48 Pack $50
72 Pack - $70 (My pack)
132 Pack - $ 95
150 Pack - $230 (This price seems a bit off for the rest of these prices and may currently be marked up.)
Score: 8/10 - I actually expected a wider range of colors!
Again to clarify, I am not referring to Cezanne's watercolor pencils for this review.
Cezanne pencils come in much less of a size range, but are also cheaper. Cezanne pencils come in 120 colors. A little less than Prismacolor, but not really a huge difference.
24 Pack - $20
72 Pack - $30 (My pack)
120 Pack - $50
Score: 7/20 - A pretty small range of variations, but cheap!
The quality of Prismacolor Pencils essentially can't be beat - the only brand I've ever heard of as a direct comparison is Faber Castell. A lot of this is based on personal preference, as both pencils have very different textures, Prismacolor bring wax based and Faber Castell oil based. I chose Prismacolor when buying my pencils because I knew I would prefer the chalky, opaqueness of Prismacolors. If you're into the waxiness, then these pencils are as good as it gets. They have great pigment with super vibrant colors, in a huge range of shades. They're very smooth, and soft which results in nice flat layers of color. And due to the thicker waxiness of these pencils, there is very little "pencil texture" left over, basically, when you lay down a color it looks smooth and not full of little bumps where the paper shows through.
Even the pencil barrel itself is very nice, I love how the color of the pencil wraps the whole thing and how sturdy they feel. I love the quality of these pencils! The only downside I've ever had happen to me, is a few select pencils in my pack tend to break much easier than others. It's due to the soft Core being, well, too soft, and causing the pencil to be so soft it can't withstand being sharpened well. I've also heard they break very easily from being dropped on hard surfaces but I've never experienced this.
Score: 9/10 - A point deducted for the breaking issues.
The quality of these in comparison was very good! I'd say I prefer Cezanne's performance as the cheap competitors than Ohuhus. While not as soft, they still have a nice smooth texture to them that is very nice to work with. I also thought the quality of the pigment seemed very nice, the colors were bright and fun to use! Though not quite as smooth of a flat layer of color can be achieved. My least favorite part is actually the barrel, which is kind of good because it's not too important of a factor. But they don't show the color anywhere which makes it a tad easier to find the color your looking for at a glance, you have to look at the tip of the pencil.
And I know I didn't comment on the packaging for the Prismacolors, but I find it very easy to lift the pencils out of the Prismacolor box and extremely difficult to lift them from the Cezanne box. In the Prismacolor box, there is a gap between the tip of the pencil and the end of the package. Cezanne pencils JUST fit into their package, so there is no place to really pull them up, so you sort of have to press down on one side of the pencil to get it to pop up. It's just overall a bad design, and something I've never had a problem with with my Prismacolor pencils.
Score: 7/10 - Very close to the prismacolors, but the box issue was pretty irritating.
Decided this time it would be fun to show my swatches of my sets of the pencils, so here's my swatch page from my Prismacolor Pencils (72 Pack's colors) -
I really love all the colors included in this set, and feel that the pigment quality is always on point. Similar to Copics, Prismacolor pencils are both intensely pigmented and capable of producing light colors. The colors in this set are all unique to each other, making every pencil "worth it". Though I only have the 72 set, I feel as though Prismacolor is really good at giving you the most important colors first in each pack, and adding non essential ones as the packs grow bigger.
They also have a wonderful numbering system to help you find the colors your looking for, AND fun names! The codes aren't just random numbers to match to your swatch sheet either, they have a real code system which explains what type of color it is. This makes it really easy to find the color you're seeing on your swatch page.
Score: 10/10 - This is Prismacolor's best section, no complaints!
Here are my swatches -
So as you can see, the colors are still very nice! I'd say they still have a good range of vibrancy and an ability to produce light colors as well. I do have a few issues though. First of all, you can see that the variation in my 72 Pack has a lot of colors that look EXTREMELY similar. I don't feel like every pencil is worth it here as so many are nearly identical, and not a good use of the full 72 pencils. Probably my biggest issue us that they have NO way of categorizing the pencils, no codes, numbers, names, anything!
I swatched the pencils, but without some sort of system, a Swatch sheet does nothing, because I have no real way of knowing which pencil I used to create a certain swatch. I tried my best to swatch these in the exact order they came in the package and place them back in the exact order as well, because that would be my only way of referencing the swatches. Meaning I would literally have to count each swatch and then count each pencil to match it to the right swatch each time. That is very annoying to me and a huge downside to these pencils. If you have time and tape, I suppose you could create a numbering system of your own. But they really should just have one.
Score: 6/10 - Good pigments, bad system.
I specifically included a gradient background in this art to test out the pencils blending abilities, so be sure to take a look back at the art as I discuss this section.
Prismacolors are amazing at blending, especially because of their soft texture. They sort of blend out naturally as you use them, so it's very easy to blend colors together. I tend to press lightly as I blend as it helps it to have a softer look. I was able to create a pretty seamless blend from blue to green here without too much texture or color muddying. And basically any light colors work for blending and burnishing. (Burnishing is the technique of blending pencils together until you can no longer see the tooth of the paper.) It's just easy with Prismacolors! One thing I have noticed is that if you layer too many colors, the wax tends to start lifting up,
Score: 9/10 - Great for blending!
Cezanne pencils are not as perfect at blending, but are surprisingly good! I mocked up this review before actually finishing the test art, and expected to be a little disappointed. But I really feel like the Cezanne's did a great job! There is slightly more texture, but it still looks good! In fact, if you're looking for art full of texture, you might actually prefer these! The white pencil also still worked for blending and burnishing - which is one of the things I enjoy most with colored pencils - so I really appreciate that! I have definitely used some cheaper pencils in the past that would not burnish, so I was happy with those results! Overall, they weren't as seamless, but did not create any muddy colors either, so that's a huge plus. The picture pretty much speaks for itself - it's up for you to decide if it's to your liking!
Score: 9/10 - I really had no problems here, I like the texture!
So the overall scores are:
This means that overall, Prismacolors win in my book. However, that doesn't at all mean I don't think the Cezanne pencils were a good alternative! So that's why our final section discussed which pencils you should select based on YOUR needs as an artist:
5. Artists Needs
You should select Prismacolor Pencils if:
You prefer very smooth art
You like blending smooth gradients
You would like a coding system
You are willing to spend more for the quality
You know you like using colored pencils and this is a good investment
You don't tend to break pencils and aren't concerned with the softness.
You like art supplies that are higher quality overall, even in packaging.
You should select Cezanne pencils if:
You like texture in your art
You don't need perfect blending
You need only a few colors and don't mind the repeats
You would prefer to spend less for more pencils
You are new to using colored pencils and don't need anything too advanced or expensive
You are concerned with your pencils falling and breaking and want something sturdy.
You don't mind not having a coding system or creating one yourself.
So that's all for today! Sorry again it's been so long since I posted, I hope to get back into posting here more, hopefully twice a month! I have a lot of plans for posts and am excited to get back into a posting schedule! Next time, I'll have a review of my experience at the EPCOT Festival of the Arts back in January. After that, I have plans for lots more posts, like a new series looking back on old sketchbooks, an overview of my work for my recent class project at my Graphic Design class, and part 3 in the "Shaping Animation" series - Fantasia!
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