Home » Blog » Pencil Crayon Love: From Laurentians to Prismacolors

Pencil Crayon Love: From Laurentians to Prismacolors

Prismacolors in Yellow Orange
  • Pin It
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
  • Pin It
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!
  • Pin It
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.


UPDATE: I wish I could have actual Laurentians, but it was satisfying to work 2 puzzles from a rainbow color series by Canadian artist Shelley Davies, which have Laurentians worked into the collages.


What is your favorite color pencil?

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


  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. Lindsay says:

    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!

  3. Matthew says:

    I have been looking for a package of Laurentian pencil crayons and like others I’m saddened to hear of their demise.
    That picture of the vinyl pack gave me a strong feeling of nostalgia.
    What a great “Canadiana” memory.
    I suppose the new pencil crayons are all made in China and are really cheap. It’s sad.

    • Sue Kime says:

      I am 68 years old and have lived in England since I was 12. I had Laurentien pencils which I loved as a child in Canada and still have my original set of 24. They have found a new life with the invention of the adult coloring book craze. I never let my children use mine( what a mean mother I must have been!) And to this day have never found any pencils quite as good. I wanted mine to last and I now know why asI have been able to use them again with the adult colouring book craze…yes the case of pencils in the photo above are just like mine. ?……..

  4. sandra says:

    I am still using Laurentien crayons that was bought for me in 1969 by my Canadiens uncle when he visited England. Sandra

  5. France says:

    OMG as a kid I loved colouring and now that adult colouring books are popular I thought I’d give it a try you know for relaxation, however, when it came time to get colouring pencils I was devastated that I couldn’t find the Laurentian brand. They were my very favorite growing up and of such good quality. The colours were out of this world. I had to buy different brand and so far NOTHING is of equal quality or value. I wish they still made them.

  6. Sandra says:

    Going through my dad’s things after he passed, I was fortunate enough to find a pack of Laurentians. Needless to say, they came home with me and other than #12 ( Black, which is now crumbly) they’re still the wonderful rich and blendable colours I remembered from childhood. I’ve also turned up the odd one or two at a time in second hand stores.

  7. Lucy says:

    Hello Margaret,

    Thank you for sharing those memories! I recently discovered a box of 60 Canadiana pencils while cleaning in my basement. I was excited as a kid! I am an adult colorist and I totally forgot I kept those pencils. They work so well. I bought a set of 20 Laurentien pencils on ebay. I would have liked to find a set of 60 but I’m glad I a have a few of those. They make me so nostalgic of my childhood and the quality we had then.

  8. Phyllis Molnar says:

    Oh boy, sad to know these crayons are not being manufactured. I have a 60 pack and was hoping to add more colours to
    them. I just got into adult colouring books and I still like colouring my own quilt designs too.

  9. Abbie says:

    I have Laurentiens! My mom went to college for interior design in the 90s, and we pulled out her old supplies a few years ago, revealing a brand new pack of laurentiens (the same pack pictured above). I always knew they were really good quality, but finding out that I basically got a pack of prismacolours for free has made my day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.