Back in 2010, several of us tried to put together a guide to match up colours to get the nearest to the Prismacolor range using European brands. Bob Ebdon, founder of the UK Coloured pencil Society spent months in his studio preparing charts which I scanned and printed off. These were sold by the UKCPS. Following that, I prepared a second range of charts which were published in the early editions of this web site and were available for free download.The second versions looked like this :The idea was that you printed out the charts from PDF files on the site, cut them out, and could match colours across a range of charts to find the nearest to the one you had listed in the project.These charts are now out of date but the data is still available on the archived Topics site at www.colouredpenciltopics.co.ukand can be downloaded from there.Of course, since then, many new brands have appeared, so the list is no longer comprehensive.
More recently, up to date charts have been produced by Karen Hull, a professional Pencil artist who is resident in Australia. These are readily available and very usefully comprehensive with recent brands which have come on the market. Karen also shows the impact of using different papers, which is very helpful. The charts extend to 55 pages of data and cover the following 8 brands of pencils Faber Castell Polychromos Prismacolor Premier Derwent Artist Pencils Caran D'Ache Pablos Caran D'Ache Luminance Derwent Coloursoft Lyra Polycolor Derwent DrawingI can strongly recommend Karen Hull’s charts and give fuller details below……..The iink you will need to access Karen’s site is….Karen Hull Art Charts
You read a Coloured Pencil book and it quotes Prismacolor colours to complete a project. You are, though, resident in the UK ( or outside the USA - where the book was published ).Your coloured Pencils are from Derwent - or Faber-Castell - or any one of a large number of companies making pencils worldwide. You don’t have the colours listed.WHAT DO YOU DO ?Well you have several choices.You can ignore the listed colours and simply use the colours you have. The result will be that you can complete the picture, but it won’t look exactly the same as the one in the book…….but then it might not have done so even with the listed brand.Your picture will be your version of the project and you will have learned the techniques. When you come to work your own picture from your own reference, you won’t have a listing anyway.HOWEVERmost beginners like to work a book project and use the nearest colours they can, even if they don’t have the exact colour range.
There are also charts showing colour swatches for every pencil in each brand on 6 different supports, so you have an easy reference to see which surface might suit your needs best. The surfaces shown include Fabriano 5 Hot Pressed, Drafting film, Black Mat board, Colourfix Suede, Canson Mi-Teintes Tex and Stonehenge.
With such an inclusive, up to date and exhaustive set of charts, there is no sensible reason for me to try to compete and do a further comparison set. Go Karen !
DECEMBER 2017.Karen Hull has now produced a printed version of these comparison tables which can be purchased over the internet. See Karen’s site for more details.ALSO in the last few months, the UK based pencil retailer pencils4artists has introduced a range of ‘comparison’ pencil sets taking a variety of brands in Wax type, Watercolour, and Pastel pencils and providing mixed sets so that artists can handle and compare similar pencils and decide which ones they prefer. There is a link to the site here www.pencils4artists.co.ukI have used this family run business over many years to replace stock originally supplied by manufacturers and have found them reliable, competitive and helpful. They do sell overseas, but obviously the postage and packing costs will be more than for UK sales.