Absolute newbie question about colored pencils [Archive] - Rubber Stamp Chat

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12-12-2009, 05:01 AM
I'm an absolute newbie to rubberstamping. Although I've been a scrapbooker for many years, I'm finding RS to open up a whole new world! My dh bought me a HUGE set of Prismacolor colored pencils (132 colors!!) and I sat down to play with them, but though the colors are INCREDIBLE, I'm having so much trouble with the leads breaking (and I'm trying to be sooo careful and not even sharpen them halfway, which brings another problem - can't get in fine places). :cry: They're so expensive, that I hate throwing away the lead that's coming out of them. How do you keep them from breaking and wasting so much of them? TIA for your help!

stampin stacy
12-12-2009, 06:09 AM
One of the sacrifices of such wonderful color is that these pencils are softer and more fragile than cheaper ones because they have more color pigment concentration and less binders such as wax etc. Honestly a light hand when coloring is all you need due to the higher pigment. I have heard of Prisma pencils getting damaged if the box has been dropped (before purchase even) and therefore breakage being an issue.

I tend to have a heavy hand myself but don't have this problem and am able to sharpen them to a sharp point when needed. If you continue to have problems I would contact the company directly. Here is a link to their website:


Inky Whiskers
12-12-2009, 06:59 AM
Stacy is right! If you can't sharpen any of the pencils w/o the lead breaking off, the whole set may have been dropped, maybe more than once. I like to use a hand held sharpener (w/o the container to catch the shavings attached) so I can be extra gentle & see what I'm doing to the lead as I go.) That said, if the broken piece is at least 1/4" long I just stick it back in the tube & try to use it anyway. :lol:

Also, in the art aisle at your local craft store (or at your local art supply store) you should find this nifty little tool made to hold a pencil when it gets too short to easily hold in your hand. You insert the back end of the pencil into the holder, tighten it up & color away. I've used mine with pencil bits less than an inch long.

At least quality art pencils like the Prisma will last you a really long time! I'm still using some of the Spectracolor pencils (made by Faber-Castell) I bought when in art school over 20 years ago & they still color beautifully. Alas, they don't make that particualr line anymore.

Have you tried the 'Gamsol' Technique yet? :D


12-12-2009, 08:04 AM
I know some people who've had similar problems and they put their pencils in the microwave :::shudder::: for a few seconds. This bonds it all back together. I've never tried it though.

I use the special pencil sharpener made by Prisma and don't generally have problems. I try not to sharpen them to too much of a point. And I try to be very light handed.

But it does sound like your box may have been dropped.

Have you tried Gamsol with your pencils yet?

12-12-2009, 08:06 AM
Oh, if you have a Hobby Lobby...they carry the Prisma pencil sharpener for like $3.00

I know some people have issues just because of the type of pencil sharpener they use. I'm told never use electric or battery operated.

Anyway, since I started using the Prisma sharpener I'm having much few issues with mine. :)

12-13-2009, 06:24 AM
I found this problem when I use an electric sharpener, so I reverted back to a manual sharpener - the one that came with the large prisma pack. I agree with the other posters that if you use a llighter hand in coloring it may help. Also try the gamasol that was mentioned - you just need a little color and it will go a long way.
While the set of pencils was expensive, they will last a long time. You may find yourself using the same colors - so you'll only have to replace those individuals as you go.

12-13-2009, 08:21 AM
I agree with all the posters (manual pencil sharpener, box breakage) but in a class I took with Karen Lockhart she also mentioned that if the lead is not completely centered in the pencil you will also get breakage. Sure enough, the pencils I was having to sharpen and pray they held together were the few that weren't centered. There were about five in my set of 132. I know I'll have to replace these at some point but as I use a light hand they are okay for now.

In another thread folks mentioned Prisma's Verithin pencils. These should help for those small areas?

A light hand with many layers will increase the intensity of the color. The trick is to not get frustrated when you aren't quite at the color you want. Another trick is to move from light to dark in color; this will help with highlights and lowlights and also bring intensity to your final color. It's fun to play with the various grays in the 132 set to see the dimension that adds to your coloring. Another tip Karen Lockhart shared with us is to outline with your darkest color around the object once you are done, skipping an area if that is where your highlight is coming from. And, keep a scrap paper to mix the layering of colors on that is the same as your stamped image. The colors look different on ivory, tan, kraft, etc.

12-14-2009, 03:59 PM
Thank you so much for all your suggestions. Since my set is new, I did use my electric sharpener, but I think I'll go back to the manual one that came in the set (although I was having problems even with that one, too). I'll just try to be more careful. I haven't tried Gamsol yet, but I just bought some so that I could do just that! I've watched some tutes on youtube :D Now if I could just get through Christmas and finish up the quilts I'm making so I can play with my stamps and pencils!

12-20-2009, 07:18 PM
Super glue the broken off point back into the pencil! No waste that way and you can use the pencil straight through the super glued part. I've been doing this for years so I don't waste that broken off tip.

12-20-2009, 07:53 PM
Thanks for the tip. I tried it and it seems to be working for me! :-)

Inky Whiskers
12-20-2009, 08:42 PM
Super glue the broken off point back into the pencil! No waste that way and you can use the pencil straight through the super glued part. I've been doing this for years so I don't waste that broken off tip.

OMG! :shock: That's BRILLIANT!!! :D

stampin stacy
12-21-2009, 06:01 AM
The tips you learn here at RSC are awesome! Gotta remember that one.

12-21-2009, 08:58 AM
I can't wait to try it. I dropped my prisma colors and some are broken
inside. Thanks for sharing.

12-21-2009, 05:13 PM
Super glue the broken off point back into the pencil! No waste that way and you can use the pencil straight through the super glued part. I've been doing this for years so I don't waste that broken off tip.

Is there a color skip or hard part where the glue is while you are coloring? If this works I will be so happy. I know if I have a pencil that is constantly breaking, the stores in our area will do an exchange. If the whole box is damaged you might want to check that out.
Thanks for the super glue tip. I hate to have to toss some of those points. ~C8>

12-21-2009, 06:07 PM
I have Prismacolor pencils and so far have been lucky enough not to have a breakage problem. You can find great video tutorials on YouTube.Com for using colored pencils. The Colored Pencil by Bet Borgeson is also a good book to have.

12-23-2009, 05:45 PM
Here's a wonderful deal... just $33 a month for 20 months! Or $54 a month if you'd like a display...


12-23-2009, 05:55 PM
What a great solution to the problem!! I wouldn't have thought of super glue in a million years.

12-24-2009, 01:36 PM
I wonder how the quality of those 500 Pencils compares to the other better known brands. If anyone tries them, let us know.

12-25-2009, 06:20 AM
One thing to look for is making sure the leads are centered as well as the wood around the lead is the same color, which is why I purchase mine singly. I had bought some before I purchased Bet Borgeson's book, then I purchased all that she suggested. It's a lot less pencils than 132, but I get a lot of mileage thru having read her book as well as Arlene Steinberg's (see below).

I use nothing but Prismacolor pencils and have had a few breakages. Some say to use a handheld sharpener and others say to use an electric. I have both.

The trick to coloring is layering, so you definitely don't need a heavy hand in order to color and get in those tight spots. You can also color over ink that hasn't been perfectly stamped as well as coloring over marker. The results are wonderful.

Some really good books to get that coverage on color pencil usage is The Colored Pencil by Bet Borgeson as well as Arlene Steinberg's Masterful Color. When I bought these two books, I bought them from Amazon.com and paid a pittance on the original price.

One of the things that Arlene suggests is coloring your own color wheel, which I have done and have learned much thru doing so.


12-29-2009, 05:56 AM
I've been super gluing tips back in for ages. Every once in a blue moon the glue ends up at the very tip, in which case I just scribble on the side until it slides off the tip.
I keep a bottle of super glue with my hand held sharpener in my pencil drawer. I like the hand held cuz I can watch how sharp my point is and stop when it is just right.
I've heard through the years that whatever hand held sharpener you use it should be one with an all metal body. They supposedly come with better blades.

12-31-2009, 12:39 PM
I wonder how the quality of those 500 Pencils compares to the other better known brands. If anyone tries them, let us know.

From what I hear, the quality isn't all that wonderful...more of a student grade pencil. Someone even compared them to Crayolas.

As for breakage with Prismacolors, I can honestly say that I haven't had much of an issue. I use the pencils for fairly large art pieces so I'm sharpening them all the time. I heard somewhere that a sharpener that grinds the wood (makes sawdust) rather than one that shaves the wood works better. Honestly, I think the real trick is patience and a light touch. Don't try to push the pencil into the sharpener...apply only as much pressure as needed for the pencil to make contact with the blades.

12-31-2009, 12:45 PM
Donna, thanks so much for passing on the comment about the 500 pencils. I love my Prismacolors and really don't think much of the Crayolas. I also sharpen my pencils often and without problems using patience and a light touch, so you are probably right about that being the real trick. Unless, of course, the box was dropped at some point and the leads broken. That would be a real bummer.

12-31-2009, 03:51 PM
A friend of mine purchased some Crayola colored pencils for me for my birthday one year. I found that the 'lead' scratched the paper so I contacted Crayola. They said that it is due to the 'lead' not being pure. Needless to say, I got rid of them and went wholeheartedly with Prismacolors. The other thing about Crayola colored pencils is that the color on the pencil is not true to the color of the 'lead'.

As far as breakage on Prismacolors, also make sure that when you buy they that the sales clerk doesn't drop them into the bag. Purchasing them singly has really given me peace of mind.

01-07-2010, 11:44 PM
I have several muts but love the prisma colors the best. I even have some color pencils that were my brothers and he is 10 years older than I and they were from a company I do not recognize. I agree the crayola does not compare to prismacolor as the lead is less soft but they have their place in my collection and I have layered with them and if I use the colorless blender it forgives the scratchiness a bit. Be aware that prismacolor carries more than one type of cp and some are designed to have a harder lead pencil and it you are wanting to draw in narrow fine lines you cannot beat the harder lead or for outlining shapes. As with any tool it depends upon its use and they all have their place in my studio. Paper used can make a huge difference as well.
Enjoy and play is the most important thing esp when starting out. There are also Koh-i-noor a woodless color pencil. They have intense lovely color but I found not as easy to work in small areas stamp-wise. There are some that feel that the ultra soft pencils bloom too much and they do not like that...bloom is the waxy haze that can form over the top of a heavily colored surface...one way to help this is to take a soft tissue and buff the surface when you are done and seal it with a spray sealer when you are finished?
Love the process and dance with alot of the pencils you come across and decide for yourself. You just might love them all!;)

01-08-2010, 06:12 AM
Spidey, thanks for the info on the thin Prisma color pencils. Sounds like I'm going to have to get me some of those! :laugh:

01-08-2010, 07:16 AM
Love the process and dance with alot of the pencils you come across and decide for yourself. You just might love them all!;)

So true! I do alot of colored pencil work, and I can definitely say that there many different kinds of pencils and they are all good for one thing or another. I love my Prismacolor Premiers and find that they work especially well on papers that have a fair amount of tooth (rough surface), and these are the pencils that I use most often with my rubber stamped projects. I also have a set of Caran d'Ache Pablos, which I absolutely love on a smooth paper. I'm doing a portrait with them right now and they are a dream to work with when you need delicate, soft shading. Also in my collection are Faber-Castell Polychromos, F-C Pastel pencils, Derwent watercolor pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils, and Prismacolor Verithins. I can honestly say that I use them all.

And, about those Crayolas...for the price, they are a darned nice colored pencil, but they really are made for kids. Most of the colored pencil manufacturers also produce a student grade product, which is less expensive than artist grade but a step up from something like Crayola or RoseArt, and certainly an option if you don't want to invest in the more expensive artist grade pencils.

Also, I have personally experienced the wax bloom issue with Prismacolors, and it's definitely not a show stopper. It can happen when you've built up a thick layer of pigment on the paper. As Spideycindy said, the haze can be easily buffed off with a soft tissue, and then a quick spray with fixative will prevent it from reappearing. If you spray your work with fixative as soon as you finish, it will prevent the wax from blooming in the first place. Wax bloom is only an issue with a wax based pencil, like the Prismacolors.

Oh, and Arlene Steinberg's Masterful Color book is amazing! I have it and refer to it all the time for color mixing advice.

Can you tell I love colored pencils, lol!

01-08-2010, 11:36 AM
Another thing I've learned about stamping and colored pencils is that if I stamp with a stamp that has a solid type of background and it doesn't stamp smoothly, I just find the Prismacolor pencil that is the correct shade and color over the image. It really 'brightens' the image and makes it look so flawless!

01-11-2010, 07:11 PM
I love Prismacolor Pencils! I just went out and got the 132 pack w free 12 pack of markers for a Christmas present!!! I had gift cards so I saved big! I just bought the Prisma sharpener just to see how it works. I have problems sharpening when I push to hard! I find with small areas I drag the color in those areas with Gamsol.

06-24-2010, 08:21 PM
I think every one give the best solution for the pencil but I like the last one , it is about the super glue and that is really amazing. Actually who don't know about the pencils and how to use it, they can use this tutorial for the drawing.