Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencil Review
Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencil Review
There is really no two ways about it, Prismacolor is a mammoth name within the world of colored pencil artists. For many colored pencil artists around the world, but primarily in America and particularly in the 70's, 80's and 90's, Prismacolor were thee pencil of choice for the colored pencil artist. That unmistakably creamy smooth texture of the Prismacolor Premier, was the magic wand belonging to the artist which aided almost every colored pencil MasterPiece.
Further down the line, Prismacolor began introducing other specified supplies to enhance the magic so often found in works created by the Prismacolor pencil. Supplies such as soft pastels, marker pens, Col-Erase pencils, etc and of course the Prismacolor Verithin, which is the focus of our review.
Prismacolor Verithin Out Of The Box
The first thing that is immediately noticeable, particularly to those who use colored pencils regularly, is just how thin these pencils really are. I know that may sound like the understatement of the year and really quite silly given the name and nature of the pencil, however, I have my own theory on these types of pencils which I will elaborate on further into the review.
Unlike the Prismacolor Premier pencils, which are round, the Verithin are hexagonal. I have been unable to locate any definitive guide with regards to dimensions, so unfortunately for this review I have measured the barrel and core myself as accurately as I can. The Barrel is a slim 5-6mm whereas the core is approximately 3mm or slightly more, which is by far the smallest pencil dimensionally that I have reviewed thus far.
Moving on to the printed information on the barrel of the pencil, which I personally happen to think is quite an integral part of the pencil. Perhaps the most vital piece of information that should be on all artist grade pencils, is the individual lightfast rating. Unfortunately with the Prismacolor Verithin, the lightfast rating is absent from the barrel.
The Verithin pencils come unsharpened, which I personally feel is an excellent delivery format. There is no risk of the pre-sharpened core getting damaged and it allows the artist to use their preferred particular sharpening method, be that electric sharpener, blade or manual sharpener. Taking that into consideration there is no real right or wrong end to start sharpening.
Starting along the barrel is the name of the pencil manufacturing location, in this instance it is "Mexico", further along from that is the famous "Prismacolor" logo, followed by the pencil brand which is "Verithin". Following along from the brand name is the "color name" written in French, which in this case is "Rouge Pavot". Next we have a three digit number which represents the color of the pencil as the Prismacolor Verithin pencil is available in open stock, meaning, pencils can be purchased individually. Finally toward the very end of the pencil is the name of the color again, only this time printed in English, "Poppy Red".
Prismacolor Verithin Sets
Leading on from the format of the pencil with regards to its sharpened state, the packaging is both quite unique and lacklustre regarding protection. I purchased the 24 set, which as you can see from the image below, the actual package, which is a thin cardboard, transforms into its own display case. I have to say that this is a really nice touch as it makes selecting your pencils easy and keeps them safe a secure on your desk whilst drawing. However, the downside, as I discovered when they arrived at my house, due to the small size of the overall box dimensions, the Prismacolor Verithin box was small enough to fit through my letter/mail box and thus dropping a considerable distance to the hard wood floor, running the risk of shattering the pencils before they are even opened. I am not sure if this is an issue with the mail service or Prismacolor and their need to protect the pencils during transit.
With regards to the total number of sets, this for me was quite a shock. The Verithin colored pencil is available is sets of 12, 24 and 36 with 36 being the largest color palette. I will discuss the problems I find with this in the following segment.
Prismacolor Verithin Performance
The Prismacolor Verithin, according to the company and many other colored pencil artists, is a hard wax core pencil, established to compliment the Prismacolor Premier pencil. The harder core of the Verithin and of course the thin nature of the core, is to act as a detailed version of the Premier. So in theory, once you have laid down the vast majority of your required color using your Prismacolor Premier pencil, you can then turn to your Verithin's should you need to add detail or perhaps add a bit of line work. However, my issue and it is the same issue I had with the Derwent Studio colored pencil and Derwent Artists pencil. If the Verithin are to compliment the Premier, I feel that, with the Premier's largest set of 150 beautiful colors, there is a huge shortfall against the Verithin's largest set of 36. Surely, if the sets are to compliment one an other, should they not have the same numbers.
Also, as you can see from the images below, the core of the Premier is indeed thicker than that of the Verithin, however, when both pencils are sharpened to a fine point, I fail to see where the Verithin can reach that the equally fine point of the Premier can't.
There is no doubt about it, the Verithin core is much harder and more robust than that of the soft crumbly core within the Premier and this difference in density absolutely effects the ability to obtain detailed work. However, I personally feel that, if the Verithin wasn't actually all that thin and sported the same dimensions as the Premier, with the harder core, the same level of detailed work could be achieved.
finally, regarding the performance of the Verithin. As I mentioned right at the beginning of the review, Prismacolor is a name to tussle with in the world of colored pencil art. However, as most colored pencil artists who have perhaps used Prismacolor Premier pencils for years have contested to recently, the quality control for that particular pencil has been less than favourable. Issues such as off centred cores, unfixed cores causing on occasions cores to completely fall out of the barrel all together and cores splitting whilst sharpening to the point some pencils are unusable.
Needless to say I was concerned about the Verithin and cautiously expecting similar issues, but this was absolutely not the case. I experienced no problems sharpening any of the 24 pencils, no splitting of the cores or cores falling from the barrels. Which on one hand is excellent news but on the other hand begs the question, if Prismacolor can quality control the Verithin, why not the Premier?
Prismacolor Verithin Testing
Regardless of my small indiscretions above, the Verithin is a decent pencil for the price point the pencil falls into. As always, I have conducted a simple test on good quality drawing paper, starting with a single light application of the four colors, Red, Yellow, Blue and Green. Following of from this is the same colors applied lightly a total of five layers and the final test is a single layer of all four colors with a heavy application.
As you can see, the layering ability is good with the colors laying down bright and vibrantly. As I used the pencil, albeit a harder core, it was clear that I was using a Prismacolor product with regards to the high quality pigment. However, blending, both dry and with solvent was a little bit more difficult, not an easy process and certainly not terrific results with blending.
Lightfast ratings are incredibly important to the colored pencil artist, and so there is no difference for the Verithin. Prismacolor use the ASTM - D6901-06 system, which simply means a number system of 1 - 5, 1 being the highest lightfast rating and 5 the least. Of the 36 Verithin pencils eleven colors are rated 1, six colors are rated 2, nine colors rated 3, three colors are rated 4 and finally seven colors are rated 5. This is not a bad percentage of lightfast ratings, however, I feel the higher end colored pencil artists would require and much higher percentage in and around at least the 1 and 2 rating.
On reflection, although this review was not a gushing review, screaming from the roof tops as to how wonderful the Verithin pencils are, never the less, I did like them. the Verithin are definitely not the buttery smooth texture of the Premier, but then again they are not designed this way and are supposed to fulfil a specific roll. I personally don't understand these theories that a thinner barrelled and thinner core pencil will provide better detail, once a pencil is sharpened to a fine point the core dimensions are irrelevant in my opinion.
For the 12 set here in the UK £9, the 24 set will cost approximately £12 and the 36 set £28
For the 12 set in the US $9, the 24 set $13 and finally the 36 set in the US will cost $27
For the 12 set in Europe €12, 24 set €14 and the 36 in Europe will cost €31
For the 12 set in Australia $19, 24 set $39 and the 36 set down under will cost $58
Overall the Verithin, if used in the manner in which Prismacolor have intended them to be used, i.e. detailed work, line work, lettering etc they are the perfect pencil for the job. They feel good in the hand and lay down well. There is no doubt about it the Verithin have a place in the colored pencil artists tool belt, but as I mentioned, only for the smaller detailed work etc.