Just so y'all know, this isn't a paid promotion and no one sent me anything. ANYWAY, so I was curious and wanted to do a straight comparison as well as I could. I tried to match up the colours, but even with a 72 pc set, it was difficult to do (I tried by matching the lead colour and it was still pretty far off in some cases). Here's a summary, in case you're totally not into videos right now (I get you).
I feel a bit of a loyalty toward my buddy Prismacolor, just because of all the feels. Because it was on our pedestal for a long time until my mom gifted me this big set of them one Christmas in ...2001? Ish? Because I felt ignored and excluded for so many years and then one day she gave me such a generous & supportive gift and it was like a huge hand coming down from the sky to shake mine and wave hello-there. I see you. Because it came just a smidgen too late, and I wasn't even into pencil crayons anymore by then and so it's been a bit of a guilt totem - how she purchased this thing ($99 at the time) within a household where money was a Big Damn Deal and here I am 15 years later with the same original pencils, mostly unused.
But anyway. So much for "summary". What is this, a recipe blog?
My experience of Prismacolor (early millenium version):
Very smooth, thick layers
Easier to make muddy, gross colours by accident - maybe that's just me
Ink has trouble with it
Pretty serious wax bloom over time
Slightly cheaper, but not by very much.
I wanted to love these so badly. Of course, part of that reason is because someone like me, who hardly uses pencil crayon in any serious way, who has 72 pencils already to start with, WHO REALLY DOESN'T NEED MORE PENCIL CRAYONS RIGHT NOW, bought a set off of ebay spontaneously and a little recklessly. Oh well.
Everyone is like "oh, switch to oil based pencils - it's life changing!" So far I'm not feeling changed. For whatever reason, I was expecting something more similar to pastels. Or I was expecting pristine colour mixing. Something. Something that justifies a slightly higher price and FAR higher praise. Maybe I need to lower my standards. Or maybe I need to try it on construction paper. Or maybe I need to shoot for realism. I don't know. I wasn't staggered.
My initial experience of Polychromos:
Thinner, lighter, harder layers (surprise!)
I had a slightly easier time mixing "nice" colours
Can draw over it with ink!! (Nice!!)
No wax bloom to constantly wipe away (worth it)
Slightly more expensive, but not by very much.
Who is the winner? I don't know. Each one caters to their own art style. If you're into quick, vivid colours, go for Prisma (well, early millenium version anyway). If you're into gradual layering and mixed media applications, enjoy the Polychromos.
Have I missed out on anything here? Is there a special technique one or the other is good for that I might not know about? Let me know in the comments <3
Hello! I'm Melissa, and here you'll find some behind-the-scenes footage of an artful life. Won't you join me?