Last updated
Prismacolor logo.svg
Product type Colored pencil
Owner Newell Brands (1995–) [1]
Produced byNewell Brands
Introduced1938;85 years ago (1938) [1]
Previous owners
  • Eagle Pencil Company (1938–69)
  • Berol (1969–95)

Prismacolor is a brand of professional visual arts supplies originated in 1938 by the Eagle Pencil Company (then taken over by Berol), and currently manufactured by Newell Brands. Prismacolor products include, colored and graphite pencils, soft pastels, erasers, pencil sharpeners, and cases. In past years, Prismacolor also produced watercolor paintings and charcoals.



The Eagle Pencil Company founded in 1856 in Yonkers, New York on John Street. [2] After 5 years, Daniel Berozlzheimer's son Henry purchased the city's first iron-framed building for the new factory. The company produced pens, pencils, pen holders and erasers. In 1897, the London branch confirmed the policy of selling manufactured goods with high quality. Over the years, the company changed focus and goods. In 1952, Margros Ltd was founded by Mr. P.G.Hooley, who invented Powdered Colour and sold it directly to schools. The business grew and the company was sold to Eagle Pencil Company in 1967. [3]

The company which later became Osmiroid International was started in 1824 by James Perry who joined his brother in the penmaking business. [3] In 1989, the company was bought by Berol Ltd. The Newell Company joined forces with Berol on November 2, 1995. The merging of the two companies made Berol a branch of the Sanford Corporation. [3]


Colored pencils

One of Prismacolor's main products is their colored pencils. They have two lines of colored pencils called Scholar and Premier. Scholar pencils are made with a hard type of wax and tend to have less pigmentation than the premier line. They are cheaper than the premier line, as they are made with beginning or developing artists in mind. There are 150 different colors total, which are available in packs of 12, 24, 48 and 60, 120 and 150. The Premier lines are available in several different sub-classes—Softcore, Verithin, Watercolor, Col-erase, and Art Stix. line.

Colored pencil sketch of painter Ross Bleckner
Berol prismacolor pencils.jpg
Berol Prismacolor pencils

With 150 different colors, Prismacolors's Softcore line has the most color variation of all their colored pencil lines. They have an 8mm round barrel, which matches the 5mm diameter wax core. [4] Softcore pencils can be bought individually or in tins that separated the layers of pencils inside with plastic. The tins come in pack variants of 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 132, and 150. The wax they are made with allows them to be smoother and easier to blend. However, it also causes frequent breaks when pushing down or sharpening the pencil. Some artists microwave them to try and fix this common problem. Another common problem is called "wax bloom." This occurs when there is more wax in colored pencils then there is pigment, or in users who are heavy handed. It causes a wax film to appear over the places the pencil is used, which makes the work look more white or "washed out." Wax bloom can be removed by gently rubbing the affected area with a soft cloth or tissue. [5] Afterwards, some people choose to spray a fixative onto the end product to prevent re-occurrence.

This line has a pencil known as colorless blender. The blender pencil is a clear, colorless, wax pencil used overtop of the colored layer to aid in the color cohesion. [6]


Prismacolor's Verithin pencils are colored pencils typically used for high intricacy work such as portraiture. The pencils first came to be in 1938 under the original "Eagle" brand, and have been sold since both under the "Berol" and "Prismacolor" brands. The pencils are known for having an incredibly hard core and bright pigment, and are very popular among artists.


Premier Watercolor Colored Pencils provide smooth rich lay down and are water-soluble. They are available in sets of 12, 24, and 36.


The line of markers Prismacolor produce are illustrating markers. The common method for using Prismacolor markers is to apply the colors in layers. The different tips allow for the color to be applied in various ways on the application being worked on. Artists use varying colors from the same color line to create shadows and textures on the artwork. [7]


Prismacolor offers several varieties of pastels. There are two qualities to pastels: Artist and Student. Artist quality pastels have a higher ratio of pigment giving more intense color. Student pastels contain more fillers and byproduct to help the stick keep shape and allow the pastel to withstand pressure and crumbling. With artist pastels, the richer pigments and lack of binder cause the product to be more fragile yet costly. Hard pastels are made the same way as a soft pastel but contain more binder and less pigment. Hard pastels are more stable in different drawing techniques and come in both artist and student quality. Pastel pencils are for fine details and control. The shape and size of a pastel pencils resemble colored pencils and are suitable for outdoors work. The makeup of oil pastels is pigment coated in wax or oil giving lines and shading a crayon like texture. Oil pastels are more stable than a soft pastel and do not require a fixative to work. Unlike the other types of pastels, oil based pastels will not smudge, crumble or give off dust when working on paper. Although oil pastels lack the ability to blend into other colors, the pigments can be spread on a canvas like oil paints and are available in both student and artist quality. [8]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Acrylic paint</span> Water resistant paint type

Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion and plasticizers, silicone oils, defoamers, stabilizers, or metal soaps. Most acrylic paints are water-based, but become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted with water, or modified with acrylic gels, mediums, or pastes, the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor, a gouache, or an oil painting, or have its own unique characteristics not attainable with other media.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pencil</span> Writing implement

A pencil is a writing or drawing implement with a solid pigment core in a protective casing that reduces the risk of core breakage, and keeps it from marking the user's hand.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pastel</span> Art medium consisting of powdered pigment in the form of a stick

A pastel is an art medium in a variety of forms including a stick, a square a pebble or a pan of color; though other forms are possible; they consist of powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are similar to those used to produce some other colored visual arts media, such as oil paints; the binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation. The color effect of pastels is closer to the natural dry pigments than that of any other process. Pastels have been used by artists since the Renaissance, and gained considerable popularity in the 18th century, when a number of notable artists made pastel their primary medium.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Crayon</span> Stick made up of pigmented wax, used for writing or drawing

A crayon is a stick of pigmented wax used for writing or drawing. Wax crayons differ from pastels, in which the pigment is mixed with a dry binder such as gum arabic, and from oil pastels, where the binder is a mixture of wax and oil.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gouache</span> Type of paint

Gouache, body color, or opaque watercolor is a water-medium paint consisting of natural pigment, water, a binding agent, and sometimes additional inert material. Gouache is designed to be opaque. Gouache has a considerable history, having been used for at least twelve centuries. It is used most consistently by commercial artists for posters, illustrations, comics, and other design work.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Crayola</span> American corporation

Crayola LLC, formerly the Binney & Smith Company, is an American manufacturing company specializing in art supplies. It is known for its brand Crayola and best known for its crayons. The company is headquartered in Forks Township, Pennsylvania in the Lehigh Valley region of the state. Since 1984, Crayola has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Hallmark Cards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Watercolor painting</span> Type of painting method using water-based solutions

Watercolor or watercolour, also aquarelle, is a painting method in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-based solution. Watercolor refers to both the medium and the resulting artwork. Aquarelles painted with water-soluble colored ink instead of modern water colors are called aquarellum atramento by experts. However, this term has now tended to pass out of use.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Conté</span>

Conté, also known as Conté sticks or Conté crayons, are a drawing medium composed of compressed powdered graphite or charcoal mixed with a clay base, square in cross-section. They were invented in 1795 by Nicolas-Jacques Conté, who created the combination of clay and graphite in response to the shortage of graphite caused by the Napoleonic Wars. Conté crayons had the advantage of being cost-effective to produce, and easy to manufacture in controlled grades of hardness.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oil pastel</span> Stick consisting of powdered pigment and an oil-based binder

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Berol</span> Defunct stationery manufacturing company

Berol is a former British stationery manufacturing company, based in Lichfield. The company, established in 1845, manufactured a wide range of products including writing implements and art materials. In 1995 it was acquired by Sanford L.P., a division of Newell Brands, becoming a subsidiary of it until the last factory closed in 2010. Since then, Berol survived as a brand of imported products.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Drybrush</span> Painting technique

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Caran d'Ache is a Swiss manufacturing company of art materials and writing instruments. The company, established in 1915, produces a wide range of products including colored pencils, graphite pencils, pastels, fountain pens, ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils, markers, gouache paints, and ink cartridges.

The following is a partial timeline of Crayola's history. It covers the Crayola brand of marking utensils, as well as the history of Binney & Smith, the company that created the brand and is currently a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards known as Crayola LLC.

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Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, such as knives, sponges, and airbrushes, can be used.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Colored pencil</span> Type of art medium

A colored pencil, coloured pencil, pencil crayon, or coloured/colouring lead is an art medium constructed of a narrow, pigmented core encased in a wooden cylindrical case. Unlike graphite and charcoal pencils, colored pencils' cores are wax- or oil-based and contain varying proportions of pigments, additives, and binding agents. Water-soluble (watercolor) pencils and pastel pencils are also manufactured as well as colored cores for mechanical pencils.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charcoal (art)</span> Form of dry art medium

Artists' charcoal is charcoal used as a dry art medium. Both compressed charcoal and charcoal sticks are used. The marks it leaves behind on paper are much less permanent that with other media such as graphite, and so lines can easily be erased and blended. Charcoal can produce lines that are very light or intensely black. The dry medium can be applied to almost any surface from smooth to very coarse. Fixatives are used with charcoal drawings to solidify the position to prevent erasing or rubbing off of charcoal dusts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Crayola crayons</span> Overview on the history of Crayola crayons

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Conservation and restoration of paintings</span>

The conservation and restoration of paintings is carried out by professional painting conservators. Paintings cover a wide range of various mediums, materials, and their supports. Painting types include fine art to decorative and functional objects spanning from acrylics, frescoes, and oil paint on various surfaces, egg tempera on panels and canvas, lacquer painting, water color and more. Knowing the materials of any given painting and its support allows for the proper restoration and conservation practices. All components of a painting will react to its environment differently, and impact the artwork as a whole. These material components along with collections care will determine the longevity of a painting. The first steps to conservation and restoration is preventive conservation followed by active restoration with the artist's intent in mind.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ground (art)</span> Term in art

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  1. 1 2 About Us on Prismacolor
  2. "Emile Albert Berol, 81, A Pencil Manufacturer", The New York Times Obituaries, 9 Oct 1993
  3. 1 2 3 "Berol History". Archived from the original on 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2016-05-17.
  4. "Prismacolor Premier Softcore Colored Pencils Review". Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  5. "011 Don't Let Wax Bloom Happen To You!". Sharpened Artist. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  6. Carol Moore. "Moores Art Gallery & Design | Blending, Burnishing and Layering | It's All About Colored Pencils!". Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  7. Prismacolor Art Markers Tips & Techniques, archived from the original on 2021-12-21, retrieved 2021-07-30
  8. "Pastels: Everything You Need to Know Before Buying Soft, Hard, Oil or Pastel Pencils". Art is Fun. Retrieved 2021-07-30.