My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Drawing with Prismacolor Pencils - Supplies

If you enjoy drawing and want to move into color, Prismacolor pencils are THE way to go. I've been using them for over twenty five years and I haven't met their match.

What is so good about Prismacolors?
1) The ability to blend colors right on the page (they are made with wax)
2) The tightness and control of pencil drawing
3) The ability to burnish a drawing until it's glossy and looks like a photo or painting
4) You can erase

They are easy to use once you learn a few techniques. If you are interested, here's your list of supplies:

1) Prismacolor pencils - they come in several sizes of sets. You can also buy them individually, but it gets expensive. I recommend buying the largest set you can afford, because, trust me, you'll use them.

The smallest set has 12 pencils and I think the largest has 132 pencils. I just found them for $104.18 on Amazon at:

You can do even better if you look hard. If you have a Michael's Art and Craft nearby, each week they offer a 40% off one item coupon (you'll find it in your Sunday paper or you can register online at and they e-mail it to you). I bought a full set for around $65.00, using the coupon.

So what do Prismacolors look like?

2) Another item you'll want to get is a Prismacolor colorless blender. This is just a pencil with straight wax and no pigment, which you can use to smooth and blend your drawing.

You can buy these at most art supply stores.

A few other items that are good to have on hand are:

3) A pencil sharpener
4) A drafting brush (to wipe off eraser crumbs and pigment shavings)
5) Drawing paper - I recommend using smooth heavy weight paper:

OR - my favorite surface for color pencil drawing is on smooth colored mat board (the same that you use for matting.)

Just a note on using colored mat board. I happen to live near a great art supply store that sells full-size mat boards in a large variety of colors. For a charge, they cut them into the sizes I'd like.

If you don't have that option, you can often buy remnants from stores that do matting and framing.

And whenever I do a drawing, I select a colored mat board that matches the same basic color as my drawing. For a tropical sea, I select a blue-green. For mountains, I select brown, gray, or misty blue. For one with a lot of sky, I choose sky blue. Anyway, you get the idea.

Some colors work great with any drawing, like a mid-tone gray, brown, or earth-tone.

Make sure that your mat board is NOT shiny or textured. Shiny surfaces will not hold the pencil's pigment, and with textured, you'll be fighting bumps in the surface the whole time. It's not fun at all! Just choose a regular mat board with a SMOOTH surface.

And last of all, don't forget:

6) An eraser (any will do as long as they don't leave a colored skiff on your paper after you wipe the eraser crumbs off. You can even use the eraser on the back of a regular #2 pencil)


7) Cover sheets (blank typing paper that you put underneath your hand and arm as you work, so your skin never touches the paper or board.)

Condensed recap of supplies:
Prismacolor pencils,
colorless blender
pencil sharpener
drafting brush
drawing paper or colored mat board
cover sheets

Okay, are you ready? Next week, we learn Lesson One on drawing with Prismacolor pencils!


  1. Awesome list from an awesome woman. :)

  2. These seem so neat! I didn't know they'd let you blend and be burnished...I'm looking forward to seeing more stuff you do with them!

  3. They are so much fun. The drawings end up looking like a painting or photo and you have so much control. After drawing with a graphite pencil, it's a great way to transition into color. The layering ends up being much like painting, too, so moving from Prismacolors to paints is even easier.

  4. I'd like to try the mat board next. I'm working on my first Prisma color drawing (it's of my mom and son) and I'm amazed at how realistic you can get. I actually get teary the more I work on it- my mom looks so real I want to hug her! I'm taking a break from oil painting so I like the fact that I can still work in color but not have to wait for drying times and clean up.

  5. I chose Prisma colors for the same reason when my children were young. You can work when you want to, with next to no clean up, and fantastic results.

    Best of luck with your drawing! I'll bet it's wonderful!


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