Prismacolor and Crayola are two of the most popular brands of colored pencils. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages that can make it difficult to choose between the two.
Which is better, Prismacolor or Crayola? Crayola is an affordable option that can give you good value for money with its range of colored pencils. However, if you are a professional artist, Prismacolor is the better choice thanks to its blend-ability and better color saturation.
In this article, we will walk you through the key differences between them so that you can make an informed decision when choosing a dependable set of colored pencils for your needs.
Ease Of Use
Both Prismacolor and Crayola have soft cores that allow the colors to be transferred seamlessly from the pencil to the page. However, Prismacolor pencils tend to have softer cores compared to Crayola pencils.
The soft core of the Prismacolor allows users to easily lay down a thick layer of color. The core can hold up to steady pressure, which means they are better suited for layering and blending colors.
Here are some tips and tricks for using Prismacolor pencils from Blick Art Materials on YouTube.
Crayola color pencils have a slightly harder core than Prismacolor pencils, so the core won’t wear down as quickly as Prismacolor pencils. Because of this, Crayola color pencils are suitable for shading, as well as outlining and cross-hatching.
However, a softer core also means the pencil is harder to sharpen. Both Prismacolor and Crayola pencils simply won’t cooperate with a grinder-type pencil sharpener because the core will likely break. Using a hand sharpener will help you avoid breaking the core of these soft core pencils.
If you want to try making professional looking art without breaking the bank on expensive supplies, check out this video on using Crayola pencils from Kristy Partrige Art on YouTube.
Range of Products
Prismacolor pencils are one of artists’ favorite brands, so their range of products is more catered towards professional artists’ needs. You’ll likely find Prismacolor products in your local art store.
There’s a wide range of colors available, as well as different formulas like Col-Erase (erasable pencils), Verithin (hard-core colored pencils), and watercolor pencils. However, Prismacolor currently doesn’t offer any glitter or metallic color options.
In comparison, Crayola colored pencils are designed for students and everyday use, so you’ll likely find their products in a local supermarket or school supply store.
Crayola’s products are suitable for everyday school projects and adult coloring, and there’s a big range available when it comes to colors, including erasable colored pencils as well as metallic and glitter options.
Since Prismacolor is specifically designed for artists, its color saturation is far superior to Crayola’s. Thanks to the soft core, the colors go on the page beautifully, and the colors will look quite vibrant and true.
Artworks that use Prismacolor also tend to stay fresh for longer since the colors likely won’t fade. This characteristic makes it ideal for artists hoping to sell their works since your artworks won’t budge for quite a while.
In comparison, since Crayola is only formulated for students and casual use, the colors won’t be as saturated and won’t last as long compared to Prismacolor’s products. That said, if you only use it for the classroom, the quality is still sufficient.
If you are using Crayola pencils and want the colors to last, you can use a spray fixative to lock in the colors so that your artwork won’t fade. Storing your artwork in a notebook or plastic sleeve will also protect it from the elements.
Both brands make their colored pencils from high-quality materials that are designed to endure long-term use.
These soft cores are designed for ease of use, but that doesn’t mean the pencils will wear out faster. On the contrary, if you use a hand sharpener and handle the pencils with care, you’ll find that both Prismacolor and Crayola pencils are quite durable and can handle repeated use for a long time.
With colored pencils, the easiest way to blend colors is to alternate layers of colors until you reach the final result that you would like.
Although both Prismacolor and Crayola colored pencils have soft cores that can blend very well, the blend-ability is not the same for the two brands.
Since Crayola colored pencils have slightly harder cores than Prismacolor pencils, you will need to use more force to apply the color on the page, and blending is a bit more difficult with Crayola colored pencils.
When you use Crayola color pencils, it can be difficult to layer a new color on top of the previous color, and you will need to use more pressure to achieve the same effect.
With Prismacolor, the colors will blend very smoothly on the page without much pressure, and you can layer one color on top of another seamlessly without any difficulty or frustration.
In addition, this blend-ability also means you don’t have to get as many colored pencils to get a wide range of colors – you can actually mix the colors together to create different shades or even different colors. That means you can get more colors with fewer colored pencils.
We’ve also already mentioned that Prismacolor pencils tend to produce more vibrant colors, so when you blend the colors using Prismacolor pencils, the result will tend to be richer than Crayola’s colored pencils as well.
Both brands also offer a range of products called watercolor pencils, where you can produce a watercolor effect by blending the soft core with water, either on the page or directly on the tip of the core.
When it comes to watercolor pencils, the quality of Prismacolor and Crayola pencils are very similar. The watercolors are highly pigmented and blend well with water to produce a watercolor effect.
However, since Crayola watercolor pencils tend to have a harder core, you should avoid applying water on the tip of the pencil and using the pencil directly on the page. Although the colors will look more pigmented using this method, your paper will likely tear due to the hard tip of the pencil.
Instead, you can use the hatching technique to apply the colors to the page and then use a damp brush over the freshly applied pigments to create a watercolor effect. This technique will protect both your pencils and your paper from any damage.
Skin Tone Colors
Both Prismacolor and Crayola offer different sets of skin tone colors for artists who love working on portraits.
When it comes to creating realistic skin tones, layering and shading are important. Prismacolor offers specific sets of skin tone colors with varying shades of the same tone, so you can create realistic highlights and shadows. Prismacolor pencils tend to be more blendable, so you will also have better luck with Prismacolor.
In comparison, Crayola also offers sets of skin tone colors, but the shades tend to be drastically different, which can make it difficult to create highlights and shadows. In addition, blending is more difficult with Crayola pencils, so you will have a harder time creating realistic skin tones.
Crayola is known to be an affordable brand that will give you more bang for your buck. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a decent set of colored pencils. This also means Crayola is a more popular brand among teachers and students.
On the other hand, Prismacolor pencils can be more expensive, but you get the quality that you pay more. The colors are more vibrant and will stay on the page for longer, so artists do prefer Prismacolor pencils compared to Crayola.
Prismacolor also offers a range of student-grade products of good quality, but the price is more affordable than artist-grade colored pencils.
That said, while Crayola offers a bigger range of products and colors at a lower price compared to Prismacolor pencils, you can definitely do more with Prismacolor pencils.
Thanks to the softer core and blend-ability of Prismacolor pencils, you can easily blend the colors and experiment with different techniques to create unique effects. When it comes to experimentation, Crayola is definitely limited.
Prismacolor pencils tend to be more expensive and suitable for artists because the colors are more vibrant, the pigment goes on the page smoothly and is super easy to blend, and the colors will last for longer.
If you love blending and experimenting with colored pencils, then Prismacolor pencils are clearly the better choice. You don’t have to invest in hundreds of Prismacolor pencils to experiment, either. You can get a basic set of 12-20 colors and use this as a base to experiment with different techniques.
On the other hand, hobbyists, teachers, and students can get satisfactory quality at an affordable price with Crayola colored pencils. They are still easy enough to use, there’s a wide range of colors that can spark creativity, and they are cheap enough that you won’t be frustrated when your child loses a pencil or two.
Since Crayola colored pencils are not very blendable, you can get a bigger range of colors to satisfy your coloring and sketching needs. For adult coloring books or classroom coloring, Crayola colored pencils are more versatile but at a lower price.
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