Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Coloured Pencils 

 colouring adult pencils review prismacolor polychromos art therapy

Appearance & Packaging

Prismacolor Pencils are are available in a wide range of sizes and sets, from 12 to the full 150 pencils. Most sets come in a metal tin, with plastic trays to hold the pencils that pull out.

The pencils themselves are quite appealing, a full colour cylindrical barrel with the name and number of the pencil pressed onto the side.

colouring adult pencils review prismacolor polychromos art therapy

Ease of Use & Durability

Prismacolor Soft Core live up to their name. They are brilliantly easy to apply to any paper, even a slight brush against paper will apply vibrant colour.

There is no need to press down with these, in fact pressing down and applying one thick layer will result in the colour appearing flat and dull. The key to using Prismacolors successfully is layering, and these pencils are a delight once you get used to that!

Because they are so soft, it is difficult to retain a sharp point for long. This does mean more frequent sharpening, and a pencil that doesn’t last as long as others.

The light layers mean that blending is a dream with these pencils. It is as if they are meant to be combined, to create new blends and textures. I regularly use a blending pencil, but it isn’t necessary to create an even blend.

colouring adult pencils review prismacolor polychromos art therapy
From top to bottom; one layer, two layers and three layers.
I’ve had some of mine for six months, used regularly, and only my most used colours are now becoming too short to use. This isn’t as long lasting as some pencils, but certainly better than expected. It is also quite easy and cheap to replace single pencils as needed.


There are many concerns about Prismacolors quality amongst the colouring community. Concerns about broken cores causing pencils to split as they are sharpened, cores falling out and pencil tips crumbling as soon as they are put to paper.

I will only comment on my experience with Prismacolors, which does seem to be quite fortunate. I own 116 Prismacolor pencils, purchased from a range of places, both open stock and in sets. Only two have had these issues. One would break everytime it was sharpened and the other would crumble as soon as it touched the page.

The quality issues aren’t ideal of course, but there are ways to work around it – use a high quality sharpener, never press too heavily, gently heat the pencils to ensure the core is joined.

Colour Range

Prismacolor is unsurpassed in their colour range. 150 colours of every part of the spectrum. Unlike most pencil sets, I don’t think there are gaps in this one.

My most used colours are blue, green and brown, and there are plenty of each to choose from!

colouring adult pencils review prismacolor polychromos art therapy
The 150 colours available in Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Coloured Pencils

Value & Availability

Prismacolor is an artist quality pencil, and has the price tag to match. They aren’t as pricey as some brands, but for the full 150 set, you can expect to pay between $190-$350 depending on your sources. They frequently go on sale on Amazon for $120 (USD) which often works out a great deal cheaper even after shipping and exchange.

To see some work done with Prismacolor have a look at my review of a Chalkboard art style book!

See the current prices on Amazon US via this link.

3 thoughts on “Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Coloured Pencils 

  1. The Premier range is so very different to anything that most people have experienced (unless you’ve perhaps tried some of the top end Caran d’Ache pencils) that they will take some getting used to. They must be treated with care. I would suggest either keeping them in their tin or store them in a padded pencil roll. The softness of the strip means they are quite prone to breakage. One drop onto solid ground can result in a shattered core. I do not consider this to be a quality issue. They are what they are, extremely soft pencils that need to be treated with care and respect.
    It should also be said they are quite susceptible to temperature fluctuations. I received my first set in the middle of the Australian summer. Being previously used to Derwent Artists which I find come into their best in the high 20s, I set myself up under my shady tree ready to experiment with the Prismacolors. Oh boy! Are they a different beast?! By the end of the first our I was fully prepared to hate them. By the end of the second hour I had gained a little bit of control. It was not under the following day when the temperature dropped under 25 degrees Celsius that I fell in love with them.
    Treat these pencils well and give yourself time to become familiar with them and you will learn to love them too.


    1. It’s definitely an entirely different creature to most pencils and takes some getting used to!

      Thanks for the comments, I’ve not experienced a great deal of difference in warmer weather – but I try and keep my house as cool as possible!
      They are wonderful pencils once you know how to wield them and I’ve done and seen some absolutely amazing work with them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s