Years ago, I purchased Prismacolor Col-Erase erasable colored pencils for the same reason presumably that other people want to buy them–because they love coloring or colored pencil art but want the convenience of being able to erase, a luxury traditional colored pencils don’t offer.
I tried them completing this small picture. They definitely felt different, and I didn’t really like them. So, I just put them away and honed my skills on more traditional professional brands.
Coming across them again recently, I decided to really figure these things out. I did some research and used them again to write this review so you can determine if they are right for you.
What I found out gave me a reason – a great one – to not only keep these but use them for an entirely different purpose. Read on to find out why.
Just the Facts, M’am
OK first of all, here’s what they’re all about. The maximum colors you can get is 24. You can also get a 12-pack or buy them individually as well.
The lead is hard and strong and is contained in a cedar wood, hexagonal-shaped barrel that is painted with the corresponding color. Also, the Prismacolor, Col-Erase name, color number and color name are plainly seen in silver print.
Each pencil has its own firmly attached pink rubber eraser that holds up well when erasing.
They sharpen easily, without breaking and go for anywhere between $13-19 for the 24-pack.
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Prismacolor Col-Erase Pencil Set
Honestly, I read reviews that rated them 2.5 out of 5 stars. And yeah, I agree with that if you are thinking of them as a tool to create professional colored pencil art.
But there’s a much better purpose. Before I get into that, let’s get the cons out of the way first.
I read that the color intensity is low, and if truth be known, I experienced that myself.
Also, there seems to be a color matching problem, at least with some of the colors. Here is a picture of patches of Scarlet Lake and Tuscan Red. The way they look, I would call them Vermillion and Mauve.
The minimal color selection is another reason not to use these for professional colored pencil artwork. With only 24 maximum, you really are limited.
The packaging is…well…eh. The box is just a thin cardboard like what a student-grade pencil like Crayola would come in (not knocking Crayola, I think they are wonderful for what they produce for children and students).
It would be nicer, since they have the prismacolor name, if they came in a metal tin at least.
Blending – well, yes, the layering/blending is not what you may be used to with traditional colored pencil brands. These pencils are surpassed in that regard by their non-erasable counterpart.
However, I do like that when you lay down color, it fills up the tooth better, though.
You have to work a little harder at it if you layer. You have to lay down about 4 layers to get the colors to blend, where the non-erasable premier blends with just two layers.
The peach study (first photo at the top of post) that I did before I learned of their intended use shows you can achieve layering and blending, but I did have to work harder.
Thus, if I’m going to work on colored pencil art, I will most likely use Prismacolor Premier (here is a link to my review on these) or if I want oil-based, Faber-Castell Polychromos (click here for my review on these).
Honestly though, the intensity or lack of vibrancy is a bigger draw-back for me if using them for colored pencil art.
I also read, they are not for coloring. Well, I would agree with that because of the blending/mixing issue.
Here are the pros as I see them- and have gathered- from my research.
Yes! They do erase but erase best on light applications. Trying to erase a heavier application will lift it, but it will not erase completely. (The same can be said for graphite as well, though.)
Still, that’s better than trying to erase regular colored pencil. The eraser does erase cleanly and you could use vinyl white erasers as well.
Given that the lead is hard and strong, it lays down very smoothly and really gets into the “tooth” of the paper. It is not quite as soft as the premier pencils, but still feels creamy when you work with them.
What these pencils are great at is when they are used to simply draw with them. Their hard core is very durable for drafting or sketching.
So, if you’re used to sketching in graphite, you will welcome this advantage – it won’t get all over you or your paper!
The hexagonal shape is comfortable to hold with great control, too.
The price point on these pencils in my mind are very reasonable given, their intended purpose which I will cover next.
Their Intended Use – Awesome for Sketching!
I want to be totally fair to these pencils and just say this – even the company who makes them does not tout them as pencils that you can create beautiful colored pencil art with.
On the Prismacolor site, they state that these pencils are “perfect for illustrating, animating and designing.” And I really believe you can take this as exactly why they were created.
So, this is exactly the reason why they should not be rated at 2/5 stars, nor compared to regular colored pencils. They are not regular colored pencils but are pencils great for drawing, that happen to be colored.
I will be using them instead of graphite when I’m sketching or doing a small study, working out the details for the bigger project. Since they erase like graphite, why not use color instead?
Also, you can use more than one color when sketching to make decisions about color and shading for your project as done in my lotus sketch.
They are truly great for this purpose. Because of all these reasons, I will give them a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I’m deducting a half point for the color intensity and packaging. But that’s it.
Also, here is a video to watch by “Brushes and Bunnies”.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuWkMaYD2_I The artist does a great review and illustrates how she uses them for sketching (she’s a great artist, by the way!). She also states and shows how to use them for an underpainting for mixed media art.
My conclusion is that I was not thinking about these pencils in the right way, initially.
Now that I have researched them and read “from the horse’s mouth” (Prismacolor) that they are intended for design and illustration, I have done a “180” and really do like the
Prismacolor Col-Erase Pencil Set pencils.
I do like working in graphite, but I do prefer color. Now, I know I will enjoy sketching in my sketchbook so much more by using color.
Hope you will give them a try. If you do, please post a comment below, your email will never be shared, I promise!
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Have a colorful day!