This is a great blank chart for 150 Prismacolor coloured pencils by Lauren Nash at Transient Art:
This has a slightly different set-up and is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The woman who designed it is Carole Parsons, and I liked the simplicity of this one and the extra space left for colours I have that are not on the chart. Because it’s in a different order than the first one, I found it useful for grouping colour families, and also the rectangular spaces suit a colour gradation treatment to show more variation in each colour. I used light, medium, and heavy pressure to indicate shading.
I originally bought the full (at the time) set of 120 Prismacolors back around 1994 with money from my Mom’s estate. It was one of the most expensive things I had bought myself for years at about $150 CAD. They seem to be less expensive today, but back then they were the first professional grade art supplies I purchased.
It took me years to sharpen them all by hand, but I started using them in earnest after 2005 when I lost my job. Every project got me a bit further in colour familiarity and layering. I am trying to get these reorganized so I know if I have any colour gaps. Ann Swan’s book Botanical Portraits with Colored Pencils uses Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils but she also uses a select few colours that can only be found in the Prismacolor colour range so I needed to see exactly what I had.
These are the ones she recommends in the Prismacolor range. I was surprised she said White, but I guess it’s slightly different to other whites. The ones with the bold asterisks are the ones I’m missing and will purchase.
*1084 Ginger Root
1032 Pumpkin Orange
922 Poppy Red
923 Scarlet Lake
924 Crimson Red
925 Crimson Lake
994 Process Red
*1095 Black Raspberry
1078 Black Cherry
996 Black Grape
931 Dark Purple
1009 Dahlia Purple
*1089 Pale Sage
When I pulled out my trays they were all mixed up, some were badly broken, and I seemed to have some extra ones. Prismacolors are notorious for being off-centre so that when you try to sharpen them they just get chewed up. They also tend to crumble and break at the tips because of their softness. I like to nurse mine along with hand sharpeners, so I might not have the stiletto-like tips that some artists use, but they are pointy and sharp. I don’t have an electric sharpener so I need to replace some of the hand sharpeners with ones with new blades.
I printed off the two colour charts and filled them in concurrently, organizing the pencils in the trays according to the round colour chart which is numerical, as I went. It took me 4.5 hours and I ached all over. Whew, it was worth it.
Here they are at the end of my reorganization, with colours I have that are missing from the charts added at the bottom. I am missing three recommended colours for botanicals, and one recommended colour I do have, Pumpkin Orange, has never sharpened properly so I’d like to replace it. I own six colours that were discontinued, four of them are useful. I put all Neon colours and Black away as I don’t use them, which leaves me with eight spaces in the trays to put newer colours I don’t have but would find useful. I have listed all the colours I don’t have and put an asterisk beside those I definitely need. The rest I will choose in the store, according to their usefulness.
I don’t want to duplicate anything I’m getting in the Polychromos line so I’ll leave it for a bit.
Back in the box with a shot of the Excel sheet filled in with gradations. These charts are just so handy, I wonder why I never did this years ago? Oooh, pretty, pretty.
Pretty nice, pretty lucky to have such a selection, pretty much fun on a Sunday.