I have no formal education in art and I really don’t know much about the technical side of colored pencils but I do know that I get really frustrated when I break a pencil point or worse when the pencil lead breaks somewhere down inside the pencil. I can’t tell you how mad I get when I sharpen a pencil and then notice that the led is wobbling from a crack 1-2cm inside the pencil. This seems to always happen to me with Prismacolor pencils and since I often sketch in the woods it can be aggravating especially when I don’t have a sharpener besides a pocket knife. At some point I found that Crayola pencils were much more durable in the field and inexpensive, a basic set can be picked up at any Walgreens or CVS, so I have used Crayola for quite some time. Recently I had more than one suggestion to try Faber-Castell Polychromos, so I did. The local art store had a bunch of the 25th Anniversary Polychromos sets on sale so I picked one up. I was pretty disappointed with the colors in the set but really liked drawing with them, so I ordered a bunch of greens, browns and grays. So far they are great and I have not had a single broken lead.
Here are some sketches I made in the field with my Polychromos.
My field set-up for a quick sketch with the new greens, browns and grays.
The bright orange twig and buds of black willow stood out against the grays of the day
Skunk cabbage starting to flower and stink
Delicate Thuidium moss as green as it is in June
Bright red twigs of red-osier dogwood
Sensitive fern AKA bead fern fertile fronds (these are the beads)