Prismacolor Watercolor Colored Pencils Review

Visual Appeal
Overall Ranking

Prismacolor Watercolor Colored Pencils

12-36 count pack

Wax core

Round Barrel



Good Blending

Relatively Easy to Control


So-so Color Selection

Packaging Not up to Prismacolor Standards


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Prismacolor Watercolor Colored Pencils Review

Updated by Brandon F. on July 8, 2020

Prismacolor’s primary watercolor pencil offering hits the mark for the most part.  The colors you get are deep, creamy, and quite blendable, especially relative to other watercolor pencils on the market.  The colors are a bit lacking so blending might be a necessity since they are only available in sets of 12 to 36.  

However, the prices are more than reasonable and give you a chance to experience a high-end colored pencil brand at a lower monetary barrier to entry.  They come in a colorless round exterior.

Visual Appeal – 4/5

The color is on point: creamy, saturated, and thick.  It is quite easy to blend these and, after a bit of practice with water application, a wide range of colors and color densities can be achieved.  It can be a bit burdensome to do color control in high-detail areas so it is recommended to stick to conventional colored pencils for those spots.  However, in areas with consistent colors such as the sky, monotone walls, and buildings, etc., these work quite well.

The set size is a bit small, with the largest only coming in at 36 pencils.  Because of this, you will likely be forced to take advantage of the great blending that these pencils possess.  However, it is worth noting that Prismacolor did a pretty good job of having many of the more popular colors already packaged. 

You will quickly notice that the color scheme is oriented towards landscapes with its many greens and browns (which coincidentally is what these pencils are best used for!).

It is also nice that you can lay color on pretty thick and you don’t have to worry about a lot of wax bloom  The rich pigments may have a tendency to bunch up in spots but it is easily spread around without causing too big of a mess.

Usability and Durability – 4/5

The Prismacolor Premier Watercolor Pencils are quite easy to use and the easy application makes for a very fun and user-friendly experience.  These are a great way to introduce someone to watercolors that are good at blending and mixing while still being easy to control. 

The pencils have been shown to last for quite a while and are much less prone to breaking when compared to other lines.  This ends up saving some money in the long run, particularly if you are someone who colors a lot.

It is worth mentioning that Prismacolor has recently changed the name of these pencils from being called watercolor pencils to just being called water-soluble pencils.  For whatever reason, they seem to not want to associate these with simply being watercolors.

One theory that we have is that they can be used somewhat well without incorporating water.  While the traditional Premier pencils will fare better in dry settings, the creamy texture of these allows you to do some pretty impressive coloring without water or any sort of solvent.  That being said, we recommend that you take advantage of the more advanced capabilities you enjoy with the help of a bit of water.  And if you prefer to keep things dry, stick to the normal set.

Packaging and Presentation – 3/5

These come in a sort of “snap” tin case.  It isn’t quite as nice as some of the higher-end tin and wooden offerings available but it does the trick.  An interesting point to make with these pencils is that the exterior is unpainted wood with a semi-gloss finish.  However, there is black lettering that displays the color type, brand, color, and Prismacolor pencil code.  We do wish that they would at least dip the bottom in color-matching paint so that you don’t have to squint to see what color it is.

Another note is that since they do come in exposed wood, the pencil barrel color may vary some from pencil to pencil.  For instance, one may be a darker brown while the one next to it is a lighter brown (or almost tan).  For someone who enjoys the natural randomness of wood, this is a lovely addition.  But for someone who is OCD and prefers consistency, it may be a bit annoying.

Cost – 4/5

Costs for these are mid-priced.  This is a decent deal for watercolor colored pencils of this quality and from such a reputable company.  To get equivalent in other brands could easily cost twice that, if not more.  Since the largest set you can buy is only 36, getting into some Prismacolor watercolor pencils won’t set you back too much.

However, being a watercolor pencil (or water-soluble as they call it now) it is recommended as being an addition to an existing set rather than a standalone.  So the price, while justifiable, will need to be added on to the money you spend purchasing a normal set of pencils.

Overall Ranking – 4/5

The Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils are solid watercolors that will meet most people’s requirements.  While the overall set sizes are a bit on the small side, the blending and great communication with water and other solvents help to fill in that void some.  The colors that do exist are also well-chosen for the typical types of work that people would draw with watercolor pencils. 

The packaging and presentation of the pencils could be better but this is a small complaint because what matters is how they look on paper.  Considering the price, performance, and fun experience using them, these pencils are a fine choice in our book.

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