Do Prismacolor pencils ever go bad?
April 11, 2009 3:11 PM   Subscribe

Do Prismacolor pencils ever go bad?

I came across a stash of over 200 Prismacolor pencils that are about twenty years old. They seem fine so far, but are there any drawbacks I should expect from using them? Another mystery: I also have quite a few identical-looking pencils that say "Eaglecolor" instead of "Prismacolor". (e.g. "Berol Eaglecolor Sand 940; Berol Eaglecolor Copenhagen Blue 906.") Any info on what I've got would be appreciated. Thanks!
posted by aquafortis to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
If memory serves, the Eaglecolors were not as good. I last used these in the 70's, so things are a bit fuzzy.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:29 PM on April 11, 2009

If they were stored properly, they should ok. Give them a try, and if they don't seem brittle or faded, then you are good to go.
posted by scarello at 4:00 PM on April 11, 2009

I remember Eaglecolor pencils too. They were cheaper - we used the red ones to mark-up construction blueprints - way back before computer drafting... but hey, I was only a teenager, I swear.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:55 PM on April 11, 2009

Heat is the biggest enemy of Prismacolors. If they've stayed at a good temperature all this time they should be fine.
posted by azpenguin at 5:26 PM on April 11, 2009

When pencils dry out they get brittle and scratchy. You can revive them a bit by humidifying them, but they won't get quite back to their original slightly-oily goodness.
posted by rokusan at 6:03 PM on April 11, 2009

If you're using them and they're okay than they're fine. If they've aged beyond recognition - and I came into this question with an unqualified YES they age, but on reading perhaps it was temperature variations - then you'll be able to tell really quickly, in that they will break as you're using them and not smudge or blend worth a damn.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:11 PM on April 11, 2009

Thanks everyone! I think by and large, they've been stored in a cool, dark place, so they still have that nice, buttery feel and lay down a thick layer of pigment easily and smoothly. I'm wondering what the "wax bloom" issue will be like, but we'll see. I need a new colorless blender, but so far, so good! The Eaglecolors seem to perform well too.

One of the happiest by-products of trying to answer my own question was coming across this deal on E-bay for 10 lots of 1,944 colored pencils. If you know anyone interested in buying 30 pounds of art pencils, pass it on!
posted by aquafortis at 8:14 PM on April 11, 2009

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