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Which was colored with which?
Prismacolor Premiers vs. Faber Castell Polychromos
Tiger from the Beautiful Creatures grayscale coloring book
For a long time I've heard many wonderful things from the coloring community about both Prismacolor Premier colored pencils and Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils. I've had some Prismacolor Premiers for a while (which I love!) and recently was fortunate enough to also get a set of Faber Castell Polychromos pencils (which I also love!). Once I had both, I decided it was time to conduct a head to head test!!
In this post I will:
Step 1: Selecting a picture to color
I wanted a picture that had small detailed spaces as well as large spaces for coloring so I could see how the pencils performed in both situations. Since I love to color over grayscale, the image also needed to have some interesting grayscale detail that I would want to enhance with the color. Finally, I wanted an image that would require at least a few different colors and some blending. I settled on the tiger from Beautiful Creatures.
Step 2: Choosing my colors
There are many similar colors between the Prismacolors and the FC Polys (as they are affectionately known) but they are not exact. Therefore, I pulled out all colors that were in the color range that I was looking for and did my best to find the closest matches. Here are photos of the colors used.
The Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils
The Prismacolor Premier colored pencils
Step 3: Coloring the tiger
When coloring I tried really hard to use the same colors in the same places as well as layer and blend the same amount for both. It was hard to be exact and keep track of everything so you'll notice some spots where I definitely messed up but I made an equal effort with both pictures and feel that I did a fair comparison.
Here are the key things I was paying attention to when coloring:
Step 4: The result
As a reminder, here are the final colored pictures.
Which one do you prefer?
Which was colored with which pencils?
A = Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils
B = Prismacolor Premier colored pencils
Were you right? If so, what gave it away? Did you prefer one over the other? If so, why? I'd love to get your feedback in the comments as well as let me know what your experience has been with either or both sets of pencils.
Summary of the differences
After going through this exercise, my personal preference was the Faber Castell Polychromos. I have always loved using my Prismas and really had no complaints except for the fact that they don't hold a point very well. I've always found them to give wonderful color, to be creamy and blend really nicely.
I had only just gotten my FC Polys so I really didn't know what to expect when I began this comparison. I was quite surprised to find how much the FC Polys won me over in this instance. Now, I may find that I'll feel less this way when coloring other pictures and perhaps when using other sets of colors. Time will tell!! For now, here is a summary of why I preferred the Polys when coloring the grayscale tiger.
Here's why I preferred the Polys:
Two main things I preferred about the Prismas
I prefer the cream colored pencil that Prismacolor provides versus the cream colored pencil that Faber Castell provides. I find the Faber Castell cream to be too yellow for me. In the future I will opt for their ivory colored pencil over the cream since it seems to provide the soft brightness I'm looking for. Take a look at the photo below. Hopefully you are able to see the difference between the two creams.
I love to use the cream color for highlighting as well as for blending. The Prisma cream gives a softer brightness in a way that isn't as sharp as white and that doesn't impact or detract from the other colors. However, with the Faber Castell cream that little bit more yellow in it provides brightness but not that same softness of the Prisma cream. I also find blending with the Prisma cream to work nicely for blending without changing the final color too much. With the FC cream, that extra yellow was just a bit too strong for me.
The white Prismacolor Premier pencil gave better, more vibrant white coverage over grayscale than the Faber Castell Polychromos white did.. This is really important to me, especially when coloring over grayscale. Take a look at the image below. The three teeth on the left were colored with the Poly white and the three teeth on the right were colored with the Prisma white. It isn't a huge difference but for me it's definitely enough that I will lean towards using the white Prisma when I need white over grayscale. Ironically, the white Prisma crumbled on me as I was coloring the middle tooth! I guess you have to take the good with the bad :-).
There you have it! My personal experience with Prismas vs. Polys. I hope it was helpful. Please keep in mind that my comparison of the two kinds of pencils was specific to this picture, to grayscale coloring and to my coloring abilities. Both brands likely perform in different ways depending on the type of coloring project you are undertaking but I can only speak to this specific experience at this time.
As I mentioned above, I would love to get your feedback and hear about your experiences with one or both types of colored pencils as well as any other colored pencils. I'd also love to hear if and how you select your colored pencils based on the coloring project you are taking on.