Professional artists are also often found using high-pigment pencil colors which give as much depth as regular colors do.
Prismacolor is once such brand of pencils, which has a very high quality of depth and texture of colors. They also have much softer tips than your run of the mill pencil colors. However, this necessitates using particular kinds of paper to come up with the best possible version of your work.
And that’s exactly what we’re reviewing today – the best paper for Prismacolor Pencils.
We’ll be following this up with a short guide on how to get the best blending effect from your pencils. Since these can’t be blended with a simple scrap of paper, we point out the best methods in lieu of regular blending techniques.
Without waiting more, let’s begin with the product reviews!
5 Best Paper for Prismacolor Pencils
1. Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Smooth Pad
If you’re already a fan of using these pencils, chances are you’ve already heard of Bristol paper. Hence, this could be a wonderful option in case you’re on the lookout for a 20-page drawing pad with 9x12 inch pages of 100-pound paper. The uses of this paper also include airbrush work, marker art, inks, and pen based artwork – and definitely Prismacolor pencils.
Also, the paper is accessible enough for use by art enthusiasts at any stage of prowess. The pad allows paper to be removed easily and cleanly, with none of the glue coming off with the page. This is a huge problem which the Strathmore 300 avoids. The page is unlikely to yield to time, whether it’s three months or ten years of being kept unused.
Pros & Cons
2. Mi-Teintes Pastel Pad
We now come to the de-facto paper used in almost every studio, and which is recognized worldwide as a preferred pad for pastels, drawing as well as papercraft. The Mi-Tientes comes with 24 pages of 9x12 inch paper, which are 98 pounds. They are also acid-free. Further, it comes with gelatin-sized sheets which are made of 50% cotton and 50% pulp.
In the case of Prismacolor pencils, the rough side of the page works out to be the side of choice for most. This is because the colors truly become one with the medium on the rough side – smooth pages often don’t have such hold over the pigment. Whether you’re looking to practice or to sell finished work, the Mi-Tientes Pastel Pad has you covered in all cases.
Pros & Cons
3. Strathmore 400 Series Medium Surface
Now that we’re done covering more general pads, we now focus on something more specific. This specificity the Strathmore 400 Medium Surface pad has in spades – it’s a wonderful cream-colored, slightly rough surfaced paper. It’s 130 gsm, and much larger – this comes in at 12x18 inches, and is wire-bound. You get 24 sheets of 80 lb, acid-free paper in the pad.
Ink and pen designs are also equally at home on the 400 Series. Almost any artist who uses this paper, swears by it – particularly because over 125 years of experience, Strathmore has had time to perfect a number of its offerings. Hence, if you’re looking for a paper which holds well for dry media, and is large enough for all drawings, the Strathmore 400 is worth a look.
Pros & Cons
4. Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. Paper
Coming to more professional offerings on the market, the Fabriano Artistico clearly leaves no stone unturned in giving you the best paper for your Prismacolor pencils. It features a decidedly premium 300gsm paper with 9x12 blocks of cold press, acid free paper. There are also hot pressed pages on the same pad, with 100 percent cotton and comes in extra or regular white.
Coming to hot press pages, these cannot soak water as quickly as cold press pages can – and hence you can mix and play with colors before they’ve dried for much longer. However, for wet media, the cold press pages are more reliable, since they have grooves and bumps which hold wet media better. If you do experience warping, artist’s tape can easily remedy it.
Pros & Cons
5. Arches Watercolor Block
If you’re looking for the best, standard block for all your art needs – look no further than Arches. Known for being able to handle just about any medium – from pencils to watercolors, it comes in both cold pressed and hot pressed varieties depending on your needs. Made from 100 percent cotton, a number of artists have proclaimed it as the best general purpose art paper.
Watercolor, happily, is not an issue at all with this paper. It can handle both water and paint with ease (especially on the cold pressed variant), and your pencil colors will add incredible depth and character to the artwork. However, while dealing with water and paint, make sure you don’t saturate the same surface over and over again when doing repeated washes.
Pros & Cons
Best Blending Techniques for Prismacolor pencils
1. Using a bristle brush to spread the colors
A medium brush can be used to smear the colors which you’ve already applied on the page. Spreading colors together ensures they’ll blend, and making them more dense will only increase the intensity – meanwhile, the concentrations which are thinner are going to be lighter. Thick papers need thicker brushes, and vice versa as a general rule of thumb.
2. Layering your colors on top of each other
One of the tried and tested ways of mixing and blending colors is to layer colors on top of each other. Gradients can easily be formed if you end up layering darker and lighter colors alternatively. However, make sure you don’t put too much pressure when layering, since it’s a one-way process, and getting layers off is nigh-on impossible.
This technique works both for lightening up colors which end up darker than you intended them to, as well as for adding nuance to skin shades, sunsets, etc.
3. Blender Pencils
This might be the best solution here, but involves having to spend some more than you already have. These pencils are similar to regular pencils, but do not have any color whatsoever. The usage is simply by rubbing it on top of colors which you intend to blend – side to side rubbing is needed until you get your desired blending effect.
Caring for your Prismacolor Pencils
As you might have noticed, these pencils are not like regular pencils. They have much softer tips, and hence are very prone to getting broken or blunted accidentally. Hence, to make sure you get the best experience possible, keep them as protected as you can. Further, rough use or unintended drops lead to smudged up drawings and lead being wasted.