How to Find Your Perfect Prismacolor Pencil Set
Ready to upgrade your coloring toolkit? Check out this quick-start guide before investing in these artist-quality colored pencils.
By Thea Voutiritsas
When it comes to colored pencils, Prismacolor is one of the most popular artist-quality brands out there—for good reason, too. Prismacolor has been delivering top-grade artist supplies for over 75 years, and colored pencils are their best seller. Buttery, vibrant, and easy to blend, Prismacolor pencils are any colorist’s dream!
The catch? Professional-grade tools come with a professional-grade price tag. If you’re new to adult coloring, we recommend starting off with a set of budget-friendly colored pencils just to get your feet wet. And while Prismacolor does offer some more affordable options, all their lines are typically more expensive than their budget-friendly competitors. If you’ve been coloring for a while, you might be ready to take the deep dive into the world of Prismacolor pencils!
How to Choose the Right Line of Prismacolor Pencils
Prismacolor offers a wide range of colored pencil products to choose from. Between terms like “soft-core,” “verithin,” and “col-erase,” a trip down the colored pencil aisle can get pretty overwhelming. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, use this guide to help you choose the right Prismacolor pencils for your coloring needs.
Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils
Prismacolor’s Scholar Colored Pencils are designed for developing artists and often recommended by art teachers. They’re well pigmented and easy to blend thanks to their soft and smooth lead. The Scholar colored pencils are available in 58 colors. It’ll cost you $17.06 on Amazon for the whole set, which actually comes with 60 pencils total (including two white pencils).
Pros: Relatively affordable for high-quality pencils and broad color range
Cons: Student-grade (rather than artist-grade) means the pencils are harder and less pigmented than the Premier line
Best for: Colorists on a budget who want to experiment with a quality set of pencils
Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils
If you’re in the market for a grown-up set of colored pencils, the Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils are an excellent option. They’re made with soft, thick cores designed for smooth layering, blending, and shading. These bad boys are almost unanimously reviewed as vivid, intense, and rich. Plus, there are 150 unique colors in the range. However, it’s a hefty purchase—the full set costs $99.99 on Amazon.
Pros: Massive color range, highly blendable, soft and creamy application
Cons: High price point
Best for: Seasoned colorists who want a go-to set of high-quality pencils they can count on for optimal blending results
Prismacolor Premier Verithin Colored Pencils
Prismacolor’s Verithin Colored Pencils feature hard, thin lead that can be sharpened to a fine but strong point. These sturdy colored pencils are perfect for creating clean edges, bold outlines, and intricate designs. At only 36 colors, the color range is significantly smaller than other Prismacolor pencil lines. You can find the full set for $22.49 on Amazon.
Pros: Strong lead makes them good for sharp details
Cons: Limited color range, not designed for smooth blending
Best for: Colorists who like intricate detail work or those who like hand lettering
Prismacolor Premier Col-Erase Colored Pencils
Created with illustrators, animators, and designers in mind, Prismacolor’s Premier Col-Erase Colored Pencils are fully erasable. They have a medium point that delivers rich, intense color with the flexibility of being able to draft and redraft your art. Available in only 24 colors, the full set can be purchased on Amazon for just $8.22.
Pros: Erasable, affordable
Con: Limited color range
Best for: Doodlers who like to free hand as they color or people who have trouble staying inside the lines
Prismacolor Premier Watercolor Pencils
For those looking to change up their coloring medium from time to time, the Premier Watercolor Pencils are fun and versatile. These water-soluble pencils boast smooth, rich color pigments that can be used wet or dry. Available in 36 colors, the full set can be purchased for $34.96 on Amazon. While 36 colors doesn’t seem like many, it’s easy to mix your own watercolor shades with these pencils to create pretty much any shade in the rainbow. (If you’re on the fence about them, check out our full review!)
Pros: Versatile (can be used wet or dry)
Best for: Colorists who like a soft, painterly effect with the control of colored pencils
Prismacolor Premier Art Stix
Another unique product that may pique your experimental interests are the Premier Art Stix Woodless Colored Pencils. These colored pencils are designed with soft exposed cores (i.e. no wood casing). They're ideal for projects that require covering a large surface area, but can be sharpened to a fine point with a knife for more precise detail work. Available in 48 colors, you can find the full set for $36.60 on Amazon.
Pros: Quickly cover large surfaces
Cons: Break easily
Best for: Colorists working on large projects or wide-open designs who like to break the rules and aren’t afraid to get a little messy
Prismacolor Premier Colorless Blending Pencil
The final Prismacolor product on our list is more of an accessory than a stand-alone piece. The Prismacolor Premier Pencil Blender is designed for helping to blend two or more Prismacolor colored pencil colors and softening the areas where two colors meet. Made with water-resistant, wax-based cores, these pencils can be used to blend any Prismacolor colored pencils. Plus, they can be used as a wax-resist tool when paired with watercolors, too. The Prismacolor Colorless Blenders cost about $1.27 each at craft stores, but can be found in sets of four (two two-packs) for $7.82 on Amazon, if you’d rather have it shipped to you.
Pros: Specially designed for beautiful blending
Cons: Must purchase separately
Best for: Colorists who like to blend, but don’t want to use a liquid solvent.
So, which Prismacolor pencils are right for me?
Our top recommendation for beginning colorists of any age is the Prismacolor Scholar colored pencils. They’re available in a wide range of colors at a reasonable price point. While they’re not Premier-level creamy, they’re still top of the list in terms of blendability and softness. Plus, 58 unique hues is enough to cover most color needs while also giving you the opportunity to blend on your own.
If you’re a more experienced colorist ready to make an investment, we highly recommend the Prismacolor Premier Soft Core colored pencils. If you had to have only one colored pencil set for your entire life, this would be the one. The massive color range ensures you’ll never settle for a less-than-perfect color match, plus the ultra-soft blendability gives you the option to go from abstract to photorealistic with the same toolkit. But don’t fret if you don’t want to drop $99.99 on these colored pencils right away—you can find smaller sets at a more affordable price (like this 12-count set for $8.99) and expand later.
No matter what you color with, the most important thing is to have fun. Remember that adult coloring should be relaxing, not stressful! While a nice set of Prismacolor pencils can be fun to play with, they’re certainly not a requirement. Color with the tools that make you happy—whatever they may be.