Pencil Crayon Love: From Laurentians to Prismacolors

Prismacolors in Yellow Orange

Prismacolors in Yellow to Orange from the Box of 150. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Due to the kindness of family birthday gift certificates, Stratoz broke open a box of 150 Prismacolors, and also did an inventory of the ones he already had, in various states of stubbiness. The smallest ones, often consisting mostly of the color name and nothing more, will go to the school with him for student drawing. The new ones have both English and French color/colour names, and a friend noted that the French names will be the last remaining ones after sharpening, and very elegant.  There are a few new oranges, which pleased me:  Cadmium Orange Hue, Deco Peach, and Neon Orange.

Prismacolors On the Drawing Board

Prismacolors On the Drawing Board in Stratoz’s Studio. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

When I met Stratoz, he was already a doodler, and Prismacolors became an important part of his designs, with their blend-able nature. Several years later, I took a workshop on drawing mandalas on black paper with white and colored pencils, and was pleased to get my own set. When I was in junior high, I remember getting a booklet promoting a contest by Canada’s Laurentian pencil crayons, with elaborate example drawings. I would study it, imagining what I could draw, though I never did enter the contest. I had decided I wasn’t an artist.

Laurentien Colored Pencils Commodore 64 sweepstakes!

Laurentien Colored Pencils Commodore 64 sweepstakes! By John Redpath. The contest closed August 1985.

I looked up Laurentian, and was sad to see they were bought up in some pencil crayon merger of the Century, first to Sanford(who makes Prismacolors!) and then Newell-Rubbermaid, who appeared to discontinue or change the formula. The internet is echoes with the refrains of those who are looking for Laurentians(or Laurentiens as they were later spelled).  I also discovered that “pencil crayon” is a remnant of my Canadian past, and in the US the “colored pencil” is more common.  Stratoz calls them “art pencils” which indeed they are.


What is your favorite color pencil?

How Prismacolors are Made(I’ve got to love a “pencil sandwich”!)

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  1. Love that prismatic photo! Laurentians were definitely the pencil crayons that I knew and loved from my childhood onwards (yes, pencil crayons — I’m Canadian, too, as you know). It was very exciting to be old enough (perhaps Grade Three?) to have 12 Laurentian Pencil Crayons listed in one’s school supply list instead of wax crayons. The Crayolas which have replaced them as the usual kids’ pencil crayons/colored pencils are just not the same. Not for me, anyway.

    I’m now yearning to try Prismacolors…

  2. can’t choose a fave. i like them all!

  3. Love it!

  4. I started with Laurentians when I was a kid and haven’t found anything remotely close to them in terms of quality and price! Or at least, the quality before the formula was changed a few years ago. I have a huge collection of them but I’m not sure what I’ll do when I’ve used them all up!