While colored pencils aren’t technical in the digital sense, they are my technical tools of the trade. I occasionally mix in Sharpie markers, wax pastels, and acrylic paint, but mostly use a combination of Crayola and Prismacolor pencils. Like any good partnership, their Venn diagram of pros and cons cover all the bases.
PROS For my fellow How It’s Made junkies, Crayola offers this insight into how their pencils are created. (Prior to reading this article, it never dawned on me to think about a colored pencil as a crop.) One of their biggest pros is their affordability. $7.83 will buy you a 50 pack on Amazon. Another great feature is their medium-hard lead. This allows them to hold their point, making them great for fine details and my preferred pencil for the majority of my subject matter.
CONS According to their website, they discontinued the sale of individual colors a few years ago. This means buying an entire pack in order to get one particular color.
PROS Prismacolors have a high wax content resulting in a softer lead. This makes them ideal for blending and my choice for large swaths of background color. They are also one of the few brands that sell individual colors.
CONS At more than 3x the price, a 48 pack will set you back $24.50. Their high wax content also causes wax bloom. This is a foggy film that appears on the surface on your drawing caused by the wax separating from the pigment. To prevent this, I spray all of my pieces with an invisible fixative after they are baked and cooled.
ProTip: Always shop around for the best prices. They can vary quite a bit from one place to another. I use Blick and Amazon for most of my online purchases. National chains Hobby Lobby and Michael’s offer 40% off one regularly priced item everyday. If you are local to Austin, Jerry’s Artarama is a crowd favorite.