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Crayola vs Prismacolor

crayola vs prismacolor

When it comes to colored pencils, there are quite a few brands that artists from all over agree are the best. These include Crayola and Prismacolor. Each brand has its own set of fans, and they certainly have their own benefits. However, when you compare Crayola vs Prismacolor, you may be wondering which one is a better choice for you.

Some people will say that you should always choose Prismacolor because it is what most artists use, but is that really the case? Crayola has been in business for decades now, and it also has better brand recognition, so it should be fine too, right? If you are a beginner at using colored pencils, which of these two brands is better for you?

Hopefully, we will be getting answers to all of these questions as we discuss these two popular color pencil brands.

Crayola vs Prismacolor – Which is Better?

Here we will be comparing Crayola and Prismacolor colored pencils based on the most common qualities that artists look for.

Points of Comparison Crayola Prismacolor
Range of Colors Covers the basics Has a wide array of different colors and shades
Durability Built for young kids to use so they are quite tough The soft leads are easy to break. They might even break inside the pencil if you drop it.
Color Saturation Lays colors nicely, but you will need to put a lot of pressure to get bright colors. The soft leads make it easy to lay colors down on paper leading to vibrant shades
Blending Not difficult to blend, but not exactly easy either Blends almost effortlessly
Lightfastness So-so Excellent lightfastness even without fixative
Cost Very affordable One of the most expensive brands on the market

Variety of Colors

prismacolor pencil

Seeing as Prismacolor is primarily an artists’ brand of colored pencils, the brand provides a wider variety of colors. There are hundreds of different colors that you can choose from, and they are typically grouped into sets depending on their color families. For instance, you can find different sets for earth tones, skin tones, and more.

On the other hand, Crayola has a more limited number of colors. The main reason is that it is a scholastic brand. Crayola is geared more toward young student users, so the range of colors is not as varied. However, even though there are not as many colors, Crayola does have all the basic colors needed for most art projects, especially those by students.

If you are an experienced artist, you will love the range of colors that Prismacolor provides. On the other hand, if you are a beginner at using colored pencils, using Crayola pencils is a good start.


crayola pencil

On the surface, you might think that both Prismacolor and Crayola pencils are built the same, but that is not the case. Prismacolor colored pencils have softer leads, making it easier for them to lay down colors on paper.

However, this quality also makes Prismacolor pencils a bit more fragile. You need to be careful not to drop Prismacolor pencils as the leads can break easily.

As mentioned earlier, Crayola colored pencils are designed for school use, so their leads are quite harder. You can drop your Crayola colored pencils as much as you want, and other than scratches on their durable finish, they will not be significantly damaged.

Ease of blending

The problem with Crayola color pencils’ hard leads is that they are not as easy to blend compared to Prismacolor pencils. With Crayola pencils, you will need to lay down a rather thick layer to make the colors more visible. However, it can be hard to layer one color on top of another, so blending will be rather difficult.

Prismacolor pencils have softer leads, which makes them easier to blend. If you need to create color gradients, Prismacolor pencils are designed for just that purpose. Even without using a blending pen, mixing colors on paper is quite effortless when you use Prismacolor.

Color Saturation and Lightfastness

Obviously, because Prismacolor pencils are artist-grade, they beat out Crayola pencils in terms of color saturation. Prismacolor color pencils can also maintain their colors much longer with minimal fading.

On the other hand, compared to other school-grade colored pencils, Crayola pencils are head and shoulders above the competition. The saturation might not be quite as bright as Prismacolor, but they are certainly not lacking.

If you want your colored pencil drawings to last for many years, regardless if you used Prismacolor or Crayola, you should apply spray fixative all over the drawing. This will keep the colors from fading and allow the drawing to last for years.

Ease of Use

This topic will be quite subjective. Seasoned artists will surely side with Prismacolor pencils. Prismacolor pencils are easier when it comes to layering and blending colors. This is thanks to the softer leads and higher amounts of pigment.

Crayola pencils are no slouch when it comes to coloring, and for beginners, the slightly harder leads make them easier to use. If you are heavy-handed when it comes to drawing and coloring, the Crayola pencils may be more to your liking.


prismacolor marker

This is where Prismacolor and Crayola are almost polar opposites of the spectrum. Artist-grade Prismacolor colored pencils are quite expensive. If you want to have a rather big set of pencils, expect to spend beyond $100 for a set that has more than 100 pieces. These colored pencils are for professional artists, which makes them an investment on their part.

Crayola colored pencils are relatively cheap. They are not the cheapest colored pencils but they do give you more bang for your buck. You can get a set of Crayola pencils for less than half the cost of an equal-sized set from Prismacolor.

For a casual user like yourself, you will not notice any differences between the two brands, not until you have gained a couple more years of experience at least. If you have a rather limited budget, but you still want quality colored pencils, then you should get a set from Crayola.


Who’s the winner between Crayola vs Prismacolor? If you are looking at it from a professional artist’s viewpoint, the clear winner is Prismacolor. Their ability to blend and layer colors is impeccable, which is why experienced artists prefer Prismacolor pencils over other brands.

However, if you are a beginner or a casual user of colored pencils, it might not be in your best interest to shell out hundreds of dollars for a set of Prismacolor pencils. If you want an excellent set of colored pencils that will not put that big of a dent in your wallet, I suggest that you choose Crayola.

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