Lyra Rembrant Polycolors vs./ Sanford Prismacolors
So side by side we have an example of a Mo Manning image colored in with both Lyra Rembrant Polycolor pencils and Sanford Prismacolors. (Just click on any of the pictures to get a real close, close up of the coloring) I have tried to stay true to the color families to make them as similar as possible for an accurate comparison.
At first glance you can see that the Lyras on the left are made up of more muted colors (noticable on kraft cardstock) wheras the Prismas are brighter.
Each one has its benefits and drawbacks.
* Lyras are oil based so they resist breakage as well as prevent "wax bloom" (common among wax based pencils)
*The pencils leads are smooth and soft. They blend like butter but retain their point exceptionally well.
*Pigment application is "thin", transparent even, allowing you to layer multiple colors and achieve an even, flawless, almost airbrushed look.
*Color names are based on traditional oil paint colors. No "cotton candy pink" here, you'll have ochres and red madder lake etc, very useful for someone familiar with oil painting and wanting to broaden their scope to include pencils
* 72 color range as well as 12 Skin Tones, 12 grays and some metallics sold separately (There are adequate skin tones included in the 72 but some find that the skin tone set is a very useful addition for coloring hair and fur~ not just skin)
*Available in sets or individually
*limited range of colors in comparison with other brands.
*not as readily available in the USA in shops, but widely available through online sources like
* A wide 132 color range
* Super soft leads make blending a dream
*Available in sets or individually
*pigment application is somewhat thick and opaque , allowing almost oil pastel effects
*Prismacolors break notoriously easily. Even when using a Prismacolor pencil sharpener and careful handling.
* Pigment goes down thick and soft which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The disadvantage is that you need to keep a sharpener at hand at all times for frequent sharpenings.
*Prismacolors are wax based.
* For some reason Prismacolor doesn't put much energy into making storage tins that work well. From the first day I bought my set I have not been able to replace the lid without a large rubber band. (from what other artists tell me this is a common complaint.) If you have the money, invest in their super duper wooden set like the ones below: (beauties, aren't they?) A click on the picture will take you to Dick Blick Art Supplies where you can purchase them.
OK, so back to the picture comparison:
If you notice, the Lyra pencils give a somewhat darker hue even though I used the same family of colors as the Prismacolors.
This is because the first layer of color I aply when doing skin is CREAM, which, in Prismacolors is a much whiter, opaque cream but Lyra's cream is slightly transparent with more yellow tones.
This can be remedied if you first put down a layer of WHITE when using Lyras and continue as normal. See below the result when you do this. It's much brighter.
It all depends on what look you're going for; skin tones come in all hues~ but it's nice to know that most likely you can achieve the look you want if you want to be bothered to work it out.
I am no expert but I would have to say that Lyras have the upper hand in both durability and performance. Sorry Prismacolor.
In saying that I will still be using my Prismas cos I do love them! Neither set displaces the other. Each has its distinct advantages.However, you may be seeing me use more of the Lyras from now on and probably, more frequently, a blend of both.
I hope this was useful for anyone contemplating a pencil purchase!