Prismacolor colour pencils are the major brand in the US but are difficult to find in the UK, Faber Castell Polychromos pencils are most popular in the UK but there are quite a lot of differences between the two sets of pencils and many parchment crafters end up with both sets.
Prismacolor is a set of 132 colours the pencils have a soft wax core making them easy to blend but they can be difficult to sharpen. Polychromos pencils are a set of 120 pencils they are slightly harder than Prismacolor and therefore are easier to sharpen to a fine point.
The range of colours are very different: Prismacolor have 12 more pencils than the Polychromos selection. Prismacolor has a large selection of neutral colours, Polychromos has a good range of greys and a large range of reds and yellows.
Both makes of pencil blend and layer well.
Ten Tips for using coloured pencils
- When buying get the biggest selection you can afford, you always need the colour you haven’t got
- Use a big make up brush to clear away the bits – do this frequently when you are colouring
- Hold the pencil as near vertical as you can to prevent breaking the point
- Always lay colour down with a sharp pencil , sharpen your pencils frequently while colouring
- Brush the point of the pencil with a brush after sharpening
- Layer the colours – place one colour on top of another blending as you go
- Always colour towards the centre of a flower
- Make a note of the colours you are using, so that you don’t forget
- Use a pencil extender – or glue two ends together, when your pencils get a little small
- You can use polychromos pencils instead of dorso crayons, just apply the colour using the side of the pencil to apply a broad stroke then use a medium to smooth it out as usual
Coloured pencils – other items you will need
You will need to invest in a really good pencil sharpener as the pencils need a sharp point!
This Trio sharpener collects the bits until you are ready to dispose of them.
Also an eraser, a pencil eraser can neaten up the edges if necessary, if you are colouring on parchment and get a light transfer of colour from your hand you can use a kneadable putty eraser – which is like blu-tack – to remove the colour. Just press it onto the area and it will pick up the unwanted colour.
Lastly, if you want to burnish the colours use a Lyra Splender Blender, which is a colourless wax blending pencil. Just apply over your colouring for a burnished finish.