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Old 10-29-2010, 04:54 PM   #1
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Default Response from Prismacolor

I emailed them mentioning the problem with the pencils manufactured in Mexico. This was their response. I don't know if they missed the part about the Mexico pencils not blending well or what. Just thought I'd pass it on and see what you all thought of the response. Am I the only one who's thinking, well duh!

Thank you for taking the time to e-mail us and for your support of Sanford products.

We have received the following response from one of our Prismacolor artists who works exclusively with Sanford:

Use a good OMS like Gamsol. I like to use a tortillion (solid rolled paper stump), dip in the OMS and then rub to create a wash or paint with colored pencil.
Diana

If you would like to further contact this artist, you can reach her via email at diana.garrett@sanford.com.
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Old 10-29-2010, 06:46 PM   #2
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It does sound like they completely missed the point of your email; which I gather was to tell them you have trouble blending with pencils manufactured in Mexico.

Have you been successful with other of their pencils? If so, I would contact them again and say something like;

"thank you for your prompt response. However; I don't feel you've addressed the actual problem. I am writing to tell you that there is a specific problem with pencils manufactured in Mexico. I have no trouble blending with your pencils if they aren't made in Mexico."

You get the idea. It can't hurt to try again. It might get through the second time. You might want to ask if they intend to switch ALL manufacturing to Mexico; maybe they are doing it for cheap taxes or labor or something. In which case you might want to mention you won't continue to use their product if the poor quality is going to become the only pencils the make.
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Old 10-29-2010, 06:47 PM   #3
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Nothing bugs me worse than when a company completely ignores the original question and doesn't help at all.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Nothing bugs me worse than when a company completely ignores the original question and doesn't help at all.
Same here. Especially when the return e-mail suggests a solution that you already tried - and you told them that in the original e-mail.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:19 AM   #5
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Thanks Cobby. All of my pencils are USA made but I had read others say the pencils made in Mexico did not blend well. I thought I would take it upon myself to see if Prismacolor could offer any help but that's apparently not happening. Most people who use colored pencils know to use odorless mineral spirits etc. so they may have misunderstood the email entirely. I went to Michael's and they sell individual Prismacolors although their selection is limited. Most of their individual pencils are marked USA but they also have some marked Mexico. I bought one to see how it blends. I tried sharpening it with my Prismacolor sharpener and it just chewed up the pencil. Could be the sharpener and not the pencil which was the problem. Sharpened it with an electric and it was fine. I used 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper and although it did blend with Gamsol, I thought it looked a bit splotchy. Is it the paper? Maybe. The paper is Strathmore and has texture to it so maybe that's why it looked splotchy. Is it the pencil? I don't know. It did blend but I wasn't crazy about the end result. I'll just stick with what I have. I have the 48 set of Prismacolors, the Verithins, the Watercolors and also have a 72 set (recently purchased when the Prismacolor controversy started) and I really like them. So I guess the jury is still out on whether or not the Prismacolors made in Mexico are terrible or not.
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Old 10-30-2010, 04:30 PM   #6
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Is that the paper you normally work on with Prismacolor pencils?

Seems like their response says implicitly that their professional artists aren't having a problem with the Mexico product... I don't think it was meant to be condescending. Try writing to the artist directly and see if she has noticed any difference.

The handful of Mexico pencils I bought are treating me just fine - I didn't notice any difference between old and new. (see visual comparison here: Mama Dini's Stamperia: Pencil Comparison - new) I understand that not everyone's experience has been the same.
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:55 PM   #7
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I knre I had seen a comparison somewhere! Just couldn't recall which blog it was. Now I know it's yours. Thanks. I failed to mention that the set of 72 pencils I recently ordered are the Derwent Coloursoft. I didn't specify so it looked like I bought more Prismacolors. Thanks for the comparison chart.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:44 AM   #8
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what electric sharpener did you use on the prisma?
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:08 AM   #9
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I am having the same exact problems. I have a set from Mexico. My previous set was from the USA. The quality is different. I am looking into buying a different brand of color pencils. Prisma's have become to frustrating to use for me as an artist. I hope this is not hijacking the thread. Does anybody know anything similar to Prisma? Derwents seem a little more intense. I do have a few of those in my collection.

I would have been so mad at that respons! I would have wrote back and said "Thank you, for telling me something I already knew. Since most of the customers that buy PrismaColor pencils are artists, illustrators or designers I am sure they do not know about tortillions and Gamsol! You should publish that on your website. Please do assume I am being sarcastic!"

I grumpy at customer service this week and don't feel good. You can take my response if you want and e-mail them back, lol.
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Old 10-29-2011, 03:36 AM   #10
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I have noticed a difference -- not huge but enough to bother me. The mexico pencil lays down in a scratchy way. I am going to an art supply store and buy ONE pencil from different brands and try them out ...
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Old 10-29-2011, 04:07 AM   #11
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I wrote to them last year about the quality of the pencils made in Mexico and they pretty much ignored the sujbect and responded as if I was having a problem with just one pencil. I was disappointed in their customer service as I made it very clear it was an ongoing issue with the mexican made pencils not a pencil.

I have tried stalking E-bay for the old USA made ones in the cardboard box or under the Berol or Sanford names, but it seems like everyone else has the same idea. The last 2 auctions I was watching, the old pencils went for a lot more than the same size non-USA made ones.
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:17 AM   #12
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Wow! Glad I have an old set of USA pencils and I don't use them enough to worry about replacing them. I hate when a company replaces with an inferior product to cut costs!
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LorraineBK View Post
So I guess the jury is still out on whether or not the Prismacolors made in Mexico are terrible or not.
I think the "jury" is a different set of people each time this subject comes up. And the pity of it is that each time it comes up, the Crafter goes through all the same hoops, changing paper, blenders, technique, inks......always sure the Crafter, not the product, is the problem.

At the end of 2008, when Sanford was the last USA manufacturer to out-source their manufacturing to a foreign company, our access to pencils that blended well and easily ended. As the companies have contended, the product is "not changed". That is to say, the "formula" may not be changed but the supplies, equipment and workers are different enough that we who use the products no longer get the same results from the products. So the companies are not lying, but neither are we. The price of a set has dropped considerably, which I guess was the goal in the first place.

Even regular lead pencils that have been around for years, like Dixon
Ticonderoga, are really difficult to work with anymore, and forget the erasers on those pencils.......they don't do anything but make an ugly smear.

Shops that have open-stock Prismacolors still have some USA ones, so look for that embossed USA on each. The really light colors seem the most difficult to find.

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Old 10-29-2011, 10:37 AM   #14
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If you would like to further contact this artist, you can reach her via email at diana.garrett@sanford.com.

The above, quoted from the Sanford Co. letter, cracks me up! Like anyone who has an artist's job is going to shoot arrows at her employer? Give me a break!
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Old 10-29-2011, 07:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by lylacfey View Post
I am having the same exact problems. I have a set from Mexico. My previous set was from the USA. The quality is different. I am looking into buying a different brand of color pencils. Prisma's have become to frustrating to use for me as an artist. I hope this is not hijacking the thread.
Quote:
Does anybody know anything similar to Prisma? Derwents seem a little more intense. I do have a few of those in my collection.
I would have been so mad at that respons! I would have wrote back and said "Thank you, for telling me something I already knew. Since most of the customers that buy PrismaColor pencils are artists, illustrators or designers I am sure they do not know about tortillions and Gamsol! You should publish that on your website. Please do assume I am being sarcastic!"

I grumpy at customer service this week and don't feel good. You can take my response if you want and e-mail them back, lol.
Have you tried the derwent coloursoft or the inktense? I have the set of 72 coloursoft and find them similar to prismacolor pencil (I have a lot of those too but don't use them much anymore). I use baby oil for blending. Here is a recent card I colored using those pencils.
(The skin was colored with a couple of copics but everything else was done with the pencils.
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apples-1-1.jpg  
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:21 AM   #16
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Ellie your card is gorgeous.
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:56 AM   #17
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Have you tried the derwent coloursoft or the inktense? I have the set of 72 coloursoft and find them similar to prismacolor pencil (I have a lot of those too but don't use them much anymore). I use baby oil for blending. Here is a recent card I colored using those pencils.
(The skin was colored with a couple of copics but everything else was done with the pencils.
Ellie- Your card is beautiful. That is the look I want. I have tried a couple of Inktense. I thought they were too dark. I loved them a lot. I would highly recommend them. I tend to color softer so the pencils were not right for me. I will definitely try out coloursoft. Thank you so much for the help and the example.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:43 AM   #18
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Thanks. I wanted to get the distress ink look and since my printer ink smears when using any type of watercoloring, I just used the same technique but with pencils instead of the inks. Anyone not sure what technique I am talking about you can watch a you tube video on distress inks and that is pretty much how I colored but with blending stumps and baby oil and of course the pencils.
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Old 11-30-2014, 04:18 PM   #19
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Default Prismacolors , intentionally avoiding responsibility

This is the generic response I got from Prismacolor referring to my pencils breaking constantly:
Thank you for taking the time to write and for the business you have given Newell Rubbermaid Office Products.

We are sorry that our product did not meet your writing expectations. Consumers' opinions are a valuable part of our ongoing evaluation process. Our engineers and product development teams appreciate your input. We are always looking for ways to improve, and your comments definitely will be considered as we continually monitor all consumer reactions to this product.

We value the business we do with you and apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced.

Thank you,
Melonie
Newell Rubbermaid Office Products
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:06 PM   #20
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I've given up on their head-in-the-sand Customer Service Department and just stopped buying their pencils in stores. I do stalk e-Bay for the old second hand pre-Sanford, pre-Mexico pencils that were made in the USA, but they will not get any more of my money first hand. If I want new pencils, I have been trying different brands such as Derwent and Faber-Castell.
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Old 11-30-2014, 08:16 PM   #21
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I've tried Derwent, mostly graphite though, but not as "rich" as the original Prismacolors when it comes to colored pencils. Same with Faber. Are there any other wax based, artist grade colored pencils out there that have that quality? I'm ready to switch, cause Rubbermaid can kiss my tookas and forget about my money, too! I even replied to them that I would start a boycott if they didn't bring back USA grade quality again. Nothing against imported products at all, ( I love the German and French products!) just want the original quality back! Mexico isn't cutting it! Any artist suggestions would be greatly appreciated. In the mean time, it's back to graphite! Severe allergies prohibit me from most painting products, so its back to b&w again, for now. Not that that is a bad thing thank you, Skippet. Much art love.
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:29 PM   #22
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Have you tried the Spectrum Noir Pencils? They seem to get good reviews. I don't personally have them.
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:33 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betteonme View Post
I've tried Derwent, mostly graphite though, but not as "rich" as the original Prismacolors when it comes to colored pencils. Same with Faber. Are there any other wax based, artist grade colored pencils out there that have that quality? I'm ready to switch, cause Rubbermaid can kiss my tookas and forget about my money, too! I even replied to them that I would start a boycott if they didn't bring back USA grade quality again. Nothing against imported products at all, ( I love the German and French products!) just want the original quality back! Mexico isn't cutting it! Any artist suggestions would be greatly appreciated. In the mean time, it's back to graphite! Severe allergies prohibit me from most painting products, so its back to b&w again, for now. Not that that is a bad thing thank you, Skippet. Much art love.
This video might be helpful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GZUM8BE_7c
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Old 12-02-2014, 05:43 AM   #24
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For the money I think the Blick brand pencils are a great alternative for Prismacolors. If you don't mind spending a little more, there are other more expensive options from Caran d'Ache and others... my favorite set of pencils other than Prismas are the Lyra Rembrandt Polycolors. (I have a set of black market pencils from Japan that top them, but maybe I shouldn't mention those... ). I reviewed a set of the Spectrum pencils on my blog - that's here.

Oil based pencils tend to have leads a little harder than the Prismacolors but they're extremely blendable and don't often have the breakage issues.
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Old 12-02-2014, 05:04 PM   #25
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Thanks Dini! I will try some oil based pencils now. I do love the French supplies! Also have some China black n other inking n bamboo brushes, etc. ( picked them up in China town back in Boston) but never thought of them for colored pencils! Have to scope out San Diego's Chinatown anyways thanks again for the quick reply. On another note, Prismacolor got back to me and said they would replace my last purchased set with ones straight from the factory. I'll let you know how that works out. Much art love, Bethany
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Old 12-02-2014, 05:17 PM   #26
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Not your paper selection! That is one thing I know well is paper. As a print making major in college, I've tried them all and Strathemore is one of the best affordable papers out there. Cold pressed sheets should be smooth but still have tooth and not " blotch" ANY medium! I've inked, painted,( acrylic and oils) pastels, you name it, and never had an issue with botching or bleeding. Even after multiple runs through a printing press. I'm not saying every single pencil is garbage either. No matter where it was made. Just that MOST of the ones manufactured in Mexico have inferior quality to those made in US. Blending and sharpening are the main issues. Gamasol or even nail polish remover has worked with the older pencils, but now even a stomp seems to leave more wax bloom than before when blending. Keep experimenting. I think you'll see what the fuss is about. Much art love, Bethany ��
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Old 12-02-2014, 05:55 PM   #27
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Thanks for the reminder Dini, I knew there were more out there.
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Old 12-02-2014, 06:04 PM   #28
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Quote:
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This video might be helpful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GZUM8BE_7c
Here's the blog post associated with the video if that helps - Are Spectrum Noir Pencils Worth the Money? | Thefrugalcrafter's Weblog

She compares Spectrum Noir with Faber Castell Polychromos pencils, Prismacolor colored pencils, Derwent Coloursoft and Derwent studio pencils as well as the inexpensive Koh-i-noor pencils.

I know you said about Derwent, did you try both Coloursoft and Studio?
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Old 12-12-2014, 11:56 AM   #29
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Ok. Prismacolor replaced all the breaking pencils. Sent an apology email and letter as well. Still don't think they are addressing the real issue, but they are a money making company after all. I'll have to wait and see how long it takes for these to break, though they did sharpen nicely upon initial sharpening. Thought it was only fair to share the positive with all that negative grumbling I did. Not really in my passive nature to complain, but felt I had to share for others sake as well as mine.
Much art love fellow creators of beautiful things. Bethany
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Old 12-13-2014, 10:46 PM   #30
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Ok. Prismacolor replaced all the breaking pencils. Sent an apology email and letter as well. Still don't think they are addressing the real issue, but they are a money making company after all. I'll have to wait and see how long it takes for these to break, though they did sharpen nicely upon initial sharpening. Thought it was only fair to share the positive with all that negative grumbling I did. Not really in my passive nature to complain, but felt I had to share for others sake as well as mine.
Much art love fellow creators of beautiful things. Bethany
Well how do the Prismacolors color? So you see improvement?

The thing is with recommends from artists who are on this Forum and have been around long enough....... If all I had of my PrismaColors was my original 24 bought in 2007, I'd recommend those.....they were and are fantastic. But the Prismacolors I subsequently bought were terrible and many letters between me and the Stanford company got me nowhere. They will NOT admit the problem and I got tired of hearing about how their artists didn't have any problems with the newer pencils.

And about Spectrum Noir, I bought a pack of 6 and 4 dried out before I tried to use them. There's a thread about that on this forum....many others stopped buying because they dry out so fast.
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Old 12-14-2014, 07:47 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by RiverIsis View Post
This video might be helpful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GZUM8BE_7c
I have the oil based Polychromos, & I just love them. If Spectrum Noir would have had their oil based pencils when I bought mine, I would have saved so much money! Once you use oil based you'll never miss Prismacolor pencils. There is just no comparison between the two, just my opinion for what's worth.

Edited:
Should have watched the whole video before commenting. I have to add the Colursoft wax pencils do look pretty darn good. Thanks for the link Kristen, good to see the comparisons.
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Last edited by Annecards; 12-14-2014 at 08:00 AM..
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