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Type (subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid)
Industry Stationery
Predecessor(s) Berol
Founded 1938
Headquarters Oak Brook, IL, United States
Area served North America
Products Pencils, art materials
Parent Newell Rubbermaid

Prismacolor is a brand of professional artists' supplies originated by Berol in 1938, and now manufactured by Newell Rubbermaid. Among the items in the Prismacolor line are colored pencils, Art Stix, pastels, watercolors, and alcohol-based permanent art markers.


The Eagle Pencil Company founded in the 1800s in Yonkers, New York on John Street. After 5 years, Daniel Berozlzheimer’s son Henry purchased the city’s first iron framed building for the new factory. The company produced pens, pencils, pen holders and erasers. In 1897, the London branch confirmed the policy of selling manufactured goods with high quality at a low price. Over the years, the company changed focus and goods. In 1952, Margros Ltd was founded by Mr P.G.Hooley, who invented Powdered Colour and sold it directly to schools. Business grew such that the owners were unable to finance operations adequately, and the company was sold to Eagle Pencil Company in 1967.[1]

The company which later became Osmiroid International was started in 1824 by James Perry who joined his brother in the pen‑making business.[2] In 1989, the company was bought by Berol Ltd. The Newell Company joined forces with Berol on November 2, 1995. The merging of the two companies made Berol a branch of the Sanford Corporation.[3]

Newell Rubbermaid[edit]

Newell Rubbermaid Inc. produces consumer and commercial products around the globe. The company’s products are distributed under a variety of names such as Rubbermaid, Irwin, Lenox, Graco, Aprica, Calphalon, Levolor, Goody, Paper Mate, Sharpie, Dymo, Parker, and Waterman.[4] Newell Rubbermaid's headquarters is in Atlanta, Georgia.[5]

Colored Pencils[edit]

Prismacolor colored pencils are made with a soft wax that tends to break easily. Softer lead tends to break easier when a pencil is sharpened. With Prismacolored colored pencils a common trend is to microwave your pencils.[6] Microwaving a colored pencil helps to heat up the cold and brittle lead with in it.When sharpening a colored pencil, there are many options to choose from. Hand held sharpeners can allow the user to control how much pressure is being put into the sharpener. The small blade allows for precision on how sharp or dull the tip of the pencil can be. To sharpen a pencil with a handheld sharpener,hold the sharpener with one hand and the pencil with the other. With the pencil hand twist the stick in a clock-wise motion at a slow and steady pace.[7] If the pencil sharpener is producing small bits and not full continuous strands of wood and wax, the blade may need to be replaced. Another option in sharpening pencils is an electric sharpener. With an electric sharpener, the user pushes the pencil into a small insert. The pressure of the insert triggers the blades to spin. The sharpener will grind away at the pencil the longer the user holds it in place.[7] Other options for sharpening a pencil are a cosmetic sharpener and a sandpaper block. Artists use cosmetic sharpeners for pencils on account of an eyeliner is made with soft wax like that inside of a pencil. Sandpaper blocks can be used on an angle to sharpen colored pencils. To sharpen, hold the block at about 40 degrees and rotate the pencil against the block in a circular rotation. This insures the pencil is sharpened on all sides. To keep the pencil as long as possible, it is important to sharpen the pencil after purchase. Sharpening the pencil helps reduce breakage in the wax.[7]

Prismacolor currently offers a range of 150 colors and a variety of blending products to blend colors together in an artwork. The blender pencil is a clear, colorless wax pencil used overtop of the colored layer to aid in the color cohesion .[8] Other types of blending products are sponges, colorless markers, and tortillons or blender stumps. All products aid to blending colors together in different ways.


The line of markers Prismacolor produce are illustrating markers. Each marker is double sided for fine to thick lines. The formula inside the marker gives the pigment a rich color and allow for smooth application onto paper.[9] To use a prismacolor marker, the colors are applied in layers. The different tips allow for the color to be applied in various ways on the application being worked on. Use three varying colors from the same color line to create shadows and textures on the art work. Prismacolor markers are used to sketch drawings as well as color.[10] Prismacolor markers can dry over time. The marker can be replenished by removing the tip of one end of the marker and adding denatured alcohol. Remove the tip with a pair of tweezers. Once removed, add 15–20cc of denatured alcohol into the marker cavity. The alcohol will seep into the padding within the marker and restore the color. Recap the marker by gently placing the tip back inside and allow the marker to sit for up to ten minutes before testing the marker on a piece of scrap paper. Prismacolor markers are made with an alcohol based pigment. Adding alcohol to restore markers will not cause any harm to the marker. Be careful when removing the marker tips to avoid splitting the material.[11]


Prismacolor Charcoal is used for sketching in general or under paintings. The sticks come in many forms including vine, compressed, and wooden sticks. Charcoal vines can be sharpened with 220 grit sandpaper cut down to a small, manageable size and glued onto a piece of Masonite. Place the stick of charcoal against the sandpaper and rotate the charcoal on the sandpaper with slow and even pressure. Rotate the charcoal stick until the stick becomes a fine, sharp point like that of an icicle.[12]


Prismacolor pastels are available in several different styles. Hard, soft, oil, and pencil pastels which each offer different textures and styles to a piece of art. Pastels are made into sticks for easy handling. The sticks are pure pigment with very few fillers to help support the structure and lay of color. There are two qualities to pastels: Artist and Student. Artist quality pastels have a higher ratio of pigment giving more intense color. Student pastels contain more fillers and byproduct to help the stick keep shape and allow the pastel to withstand pressure and crumbling. With artist pastels, the richer pigments and lack of binder cause the product to be more fragile yet costly. Beginning to use pastels is a challenge. The different varieties of pastels offer their own challenges, colors, and textures.[13] Soft pastels are the common form of pastels found. The soft pastel contains the highest amount of pigment with the smallest amount of gum binder keeping it together. Soft pastels, because of this, tend to crumble easier and are only available in artist quality. To use a soft pastel, the product can be aided by a fixative such as oil or water, or the product can be used on a canvas with no fixative. Both techniques lend off different blending styles and textures. Without a fixative, the soft pastel is more likely to crumble in the user’s hands. Hard pastels are made the same way as a soft pastel but contain more binder and less pigment. Hard pastels are more stable in different drawing techniques and come in both artist and student quality. Pastel pencils are for fine details and control. The shape and size of a pastel pencils resemble colored pencils and are suitable for outdoors work. Many manufacturers offer up to 80 different pigments of pencil pastels Oil pastels offer texture in drawings. The make up of oil pastels is pigment coated in wax or oil giving lines and shading a crayon like texture. Oil pastels are more stable than a soft pastel and do not require a fixative to work. Unlike the other types of pastels, oil based pastels will not smudge, crumble or give off dust when working on paper. Although oil pastels lack the ability to blend into other colors, the pigments can be spread on a canvas like oil paints and are available in both student and artist quality.[14]


Prismacolor's range of products include: .[15]

Line Range of Products
Colored pencils Colored pencils, watercolor pencils
Graphite Graphite pencils, mechanical pencils
Pastels Softpastels, Nupastels
Charcoal Charcoal sticks and pencils
Markers Markers, highlighters
Accessories Sharpeners, erasers, fixatives, pencil refills,


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