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Selecting individual Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils to replace Prismacolors


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Initial post: Apr 4, 2011 4:51:26 PM PDT
Astrin Ymris says:
Frustration with the difficulties of the Prismacolor sharpener have led me to take the plunge to Polychromos colored pencils-- at least with them you can use a sharpener with a shavings receptacle! I also love their beautiful translucency, and easy colormixing.

For economic reasons, I don't want to splurge on a new set cold, but rather to replace my Prismacolor shades with Polychromos colors as I use each Prismacolor up.

However, the difficulty of matching shades in online buying leads to some unpleasant surprises. Polychromos's Dark Chrome Yellow is a pretty close match for Prismacolor's Sunburst Yellow, but Polychromos's Juniper Green does NOT correspond to Prisma's Peacock Green. Fortunately, Polychromos's Deep Cobalt Green makes a good match.

I've discovered that Ultramarine is a different color to Prismacolor and Polychromos. And when it comes to searching for good multicultural skintones, the colors on the monitor can be very deceiving. Walnut Brown LOOKED like a light brown on the website...

Can anyone familiar with both brands help me out with some "color commentary"? ;-D

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2011 2:56:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2011 3:01:09 PM PDT
The pencil sharpener made by "Helix" it looks kind of architectural in design, and comes carded with three to a pack will eliminate over 90% of lead breakage when sharpening Prismacolor colored pencils. Prismacolor has just come out with the Premier colored pencils which are more break resistant. I have almost every colored pencil brand including a good supply of Bruynzeel oil based pencils from Holland. The Faber-Castell Polychromos line is a bit different in consistancy than Prismacolor as well as its lay down on paper. The colors are different and with wax based pencils a wax bloom may occur such is the case with Prismacolor and not so much with Polychromos, this can be eliminated by using a workable Fixatif by Krylon I believe, walmart has the best price at around $3.00 instead of $9.99 at art stores. Caren D' Ache has the Luminance 6901 which has an incredible light fast rating, it is heavily pigmented, lays down smooth and does not have the wax bloom as the binder is oil.
But for all I have a set of "Helix" sharpeners in the box of each brand that is fairly new and sharp only to be used by that brand, a dull sharpener will also cause breakage, and be sure to avoid impact, this can cause undetected breakage of leads.
I love the new set of prismacolor premier colored pencils, check dickblick dot com or jerrysartarama dot com for amazing deals you will find that it is cheaper to buy a whole set, the premiers come in a beautiful wood box for less than buying them in a tin. Lyra polychromos are beautiful and is oil based with nice attributes.
Color will vary between the different brands due to the binder ie. wax, oil, veg oil, clay, etc..., the level of pigmentation as well as the type of pigments and what the manufacturer is trying to achieve with its color schematic, that is the beauty of the different brands. This difference has a role in the sequence of application when applying the color in layers to achieve your desired results.
I could go on...........

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2011 7:42:32 PM PDT
Astrin Ymris says:
Cheryl D. Millard,

Thanks for your reply! Do you mean this sharpener?

Helix Hand-Held Pencil Sharpener - Sharpener with 1 Hole

I like to use Lyra Splender Colorless Blender as my "fixative". Since I do hobby coloring for stress-busting, I'm not sure I could justify the price of the Caran d'Ache Luminance brand. I feel guilty enough using Prismacolors, let alone Polychromos! ;-D

Admittedly, I scan the coloring book pages into the computer and print them out on white sulphite drawing paper, but it's still just coloring. I tend to go all out on anything I do-- that's why I need a stress-busting hobby in the first place! ;-D

I find that "switching" between Prismacolor and Polychromos tends to throw my laydown technique off, they both have a different "touch". I'm currently trying to use up some of my Prismacolor stubs before indulging myself with the Polychromos for a while. I'm thinking of experimenting with a base layer of Prismacolor, then tinting the wax layer with the "dry" Polychromos-- I think you might be able to achieve some interesting affects like that...

I'd love to find the wood box by itself, so I could see all my colors "at a glance". Currently, I'm using a Prestige Easy Pack & Go Brush and Pencil Case - PENCILS NOT INCLUDED and two Niji Roll Multi-purpose Pouch, which is a bit cumbersome. One of the appeals of the Polychromos is the prospect of needing fewer total colors due to their easy "blendability".

Posted on Apr 8, 2011 8:33:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2011 8:42:44 PM PDT
No it is made out of a grey aluminum, with one hole, with a convex curve on one side and a convex curve on the other with ribs on the flat sides. They are blister packaged three to a card, they kid of fit together in the package due to the shapes, they are not the bare aluminum ones that are sold in bulk at art stores. I buy them at Office Max in the drafting section, buy as many packages as you can, you never know. There are these three drawers at jerrysartarama dot com that I store my pencils in, I take out the foam lining meant for pastels so a couple layers fit in, I must have 20 of these,but I have almost two sets of every brand on the market, experiment with different brands, and the books "The best of the colored pencil" editions one through five will show you what you really can do. The book Exactitude about hyper realism is great, there are a few colored pencil artists in there producing photo realistic art from colored pencils.
Lose the guilt trip, I have spent over $5000. on art supplies in the last 5 months. It is alot less expensive than medical alternatives.
Bristol paper is great and a paper cutter to cut large sheets down to size saving money. Look up Aceo it is fun to do, one of mine sold on Ebay for $138., I almost fell over.
What do you like to draw? Crows and ravens were popular for awhile, but I will try to tackle anything.
Lyra Rembrandt polychromos is a cheaper but an almost as good alternative to Caran D" Ache 6901.
A helix battery powered eraser is a great thing it erases areas of fine detail and large areas too quickly and completely, for a small price.
Get some fixatif spray, it will protect against fading and get rid of bloom
I will look to see if I have extra wood prismacolor boxes , if you pay to have it mailed I could look into a way to get it to you, I don't have a car.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2011 10:36:08 PM PDT
Astrin Ymris says:
Cheryl D. Millard,

I couldn't find any of the kind of sharpeners you describe, even by leaving Amazon and doing a Google search. IOW, run to OfficeMax and buy them out right now! ;-D

I love those little flat drawers, but I got tired of forgetting which drawer the color I was looking for was in! Also, the shorter pencils kept sliding to the back... so now I use them to store less frequently used supplies.

My last real drawing (as opposed to coloring) was a bulletin board for work. I drew birds, squirrels, and chipmunks from photos in 'Birds & Blooms'. I've got my own issue waiting for if I decide to go back to drawing for myself again. ;-D

Of course, I'd probably want to get a copy of The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence and do the exercises in there to refresh my drawing skills. It's been a long time since high school art class...

Hmm, is there a reason that YOU'RE not using the wood Prismacolor box? I'd think they'd be more convenient than the drawers. Do they not work that well in practice?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2011 7:36:31 AM PDT
I have probably every artists grade of color pencil, except the Mitsubishi set that is around $350. USD I have at least 20 to 30 sets of non water soluble colored pencils. So for continuity I use the three and two drawers to sort and store the pencils. When using the pencils, I remove the drawers and lay them on the table. That is why I am not using the wood boxes. Derwent and other brands use them as well, sometimes the wood box sets are cheaper than the tinned sets on sale.
If you can do COD, I can send them to you, all of them, one may not have the flocked plastic inserts to hold the pencils, but those could be used only to store pencils. Otherwise they will probably go to the trash, I also have nice tins too, you could use for other uses like storing precut paper, erasers, blending pencils etc....I live in a small house so organization is mandatory, but is not my strong virtue at all.
I can look through my book selection and give you a list of helpful books on colored pencils and drawing. Look more on the use of colored pencils as painting and less of drawing. Colored pencil art is considered painting as the colors are blended.
A hardbound black drawing journal the largest size available is great as you can see your progress and drawing in something nice encourages to you to really try.
I am almost 50 and have been drawing for ever, I cannot remember not being involved in some form of art. My dad insisted on getting my paintings in the settlement when he and my mom divorced.
Magazines like Birds and Blooms is a great publication and I tear pictures out of it too, those pencil tins are great for pictures of interest or a plastic portfolio. I put each drawing category in each protector, the 9 X 12 size works great for this.
I could NOT find those sharpeners anywhere on google, not even in images either. I do not get it. Not even in the helix site, which I found kind of stupid , how hard is it too represent your whole line of merchandise on line? Look at the size of the websites of the major art sellers. When looking at the major art sellers I open a tab for each so I can compare prices. You can save money that way. Well more later.......

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2011 7:49:14 AM PDT
Astrin Ymris says:
Cheryl D. Millard,

Is this what you mean? Dick Blick has them for $1 each for the single hole model. I usually like the Alvin brand products.

Alvin Hand-Held Sharpener - Pencil Sharpener, Single Hole

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2011 8:14:53 AM PDT
No Only the HELIX brand which I have found ONLY at office max, sold carded, three to a pack, one hole silver painted aluminum, the three shapes although separate fit together when put by each other. It is with the other HELIX products. They are much flatter. I have only found them at office max, take my description and have someone help you find it.

From another of my past posts....
it is made out of a grey aluminum, with one hole, with a convex curve on one side and a convex curve on the other with ribs on the flat sides. They are blister packaged three to a card, they kid of fit together in the package due to the shapes, they are not the bare aluminum ones that are sold in bulk at art stores.

Only this sharpener, no other brands, shapes or sizes and the aluminum is not unpainted, but finished in a gray painted finish.
Nothing else.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2011 10:41:04 AM PDT
Astrin Ymris says:
Cheryl D. Millard,

*sigh* Then maybe you should buy out OfficeMax while you can-- the OfficeMax website doesn't show this item. :-(

BTW, is the Polychromos Nougat close to Prismacolor's Beige Sienna? And which Polychromos color is closest to Prismacolor's Lilac? I'm particularly baffled by Polychromos's terminology in the purple spectrum.

Posted on Apr 10, 2011 11:05:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 10, 2011 11:13:43 AM PDT
They do not list all of the helix Products, their website is incomplete, to get you into the store to impulse buy and spend more money. All the color names which some are trademarked or only used by that company, and some are used by many brands but their colors vary even though the name is the same, and pigments vary due to ...........As per my past reply in this post..Color will vary between the different brands due to the binder ie. wax, oil, veg oil, clay, etc..., the level of pigmentation as well as the type of pigments and what the manufacturer is trying to achieve with its color schematic, that is the beauty of the different brands. This difference has a role in the sequence of application when applying the color in layers to achieve your desired results.
I am more than well stocked on the sharpeners. I don't know what else to tell you,but buy a book on the various brands of colored pencils. My son just told me he wants those wood pencil boxes when he found out I had offered them to you, Sorry. but the two art supply vendors pave the premiers at a great price in wood boxes.
Good luck with your art.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2011 11:23:30 AM PDT
Astrin Ymris says:
Cheryl D. Millard,

It's okay about the boxes-- I wasn't too sure about them, since you obviously didn't find them too useful! ;-D

Um, apparently I didn't communicate too clearly-- I just wanted you to look at the pencils you own, and tell me which is more blue-- light purple pink or light red violet. Since Faber Castell uses paint color names for its Art & Graphic line, I'm more than usually at sea in selecting colored pencils online.

I already own 19 Polychromos colored pencils already-- Ivory, Cream, Cadmium Yellow, Dark Chrome Yellow, Deep Red, Pink Madder Lake, Light Magenta, Cinnamon, Walnut Brown, Cold Grey VI, Purple Violet, Ultramarine, Light Ultramarine, Light Cobalt Turquoise, Deep Cobalt Green, Emerald Green, and Juniper Green. Therefore, buying a set at this point would involve a lot of duplication.

If I understand what you're saying, different brands don't necessary carry the same color spectrums, so I can't expect to find an exact match for the Prismacolor Lilac in the Polychromos line. That's disappointing, but I get that. But if I give you two Polychromos color names that I'm considering, can you at least tell me which is cooler or warmer, lighter or darker, muted or brilliant?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2011 11:32:25 AM PDT
Astrin Ymris says:
Update: I have found the following site, which does give you objective color information between brands and individual pencils.

http://didea.3acres.org/ColorChart

Posted on Apr 19, 2011 7:36:41 AM PDT
Flower says:
Finding stuff in the studio...I have been an artist for over 50 years, so you can imagine how much stuff I have....My studio is 1,500 sq ft so you can imagine just how hard it is to find stuff in there.......I finally came up with a system to find things.

I have "areas" #1 #2 #3 ect... then I have an alphabet book.... watercolor paints Area#5.....brushes Area #30
craft glue #202.........Hubbys art stuff # 51.......hee hee hee........

this works great for me......you can even double list stuff....Turquoise beads Area #81 and Turquoise beads under "I" for Indian beads..... #area 81.....

hope this makes sense to you all out there.....

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2011 8:17:20 PM PDT
Astrin Ymris says:
What's in Area 52? ;-D

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2011 3:24:23 PM PDT
Astrin Ymris says:
Cheryl D. Millard,

Can you tell me if the Polychromos color 'Caput Mortuum' is a reddish brown, or a dark mauve? My online color research would indicate that the boundaries are vague, and the fact that Polychromos also sells a 'Caput Mortuum Violet' gives me hope that Caput Mortuum could be used for non-Caucasian skin tones.

3acres.org gives the RGB value for Caput Mortuum as 139,85,82. This looks browner than Prismacolor's Terra Cotta (RGB: 154,93,82) on my monitor, and a little cooler than Prismacolor's Sienna Brown (RGB: 151,103,85), but computer monitors can only tell you so much.

Posted on Jun 11, 2011 1:32:03 AM PDT
Astrin Ymris says:
To all,

Prismacolor seems to have finally wised up to the fact that its fans want a pencil sharpener with a working shavings receptacle. See?

Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener, Black (1786520)

Now, I only need for someone to produce a Global Classic Leather Pencil Cases - Pencil Case for 120 Pencils, Antique Brown with soft elastic pockets like PENCIL EASEL Drafting, Engineering, Art (General Catalog), and I'll be perfectly happy! ;-D
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Discussion in:  Arts & Crafts forum
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Initial post:  Apr 4, 2011
Latest post:  Jun 11, 2011

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