Friday, 28 October 2011

NEW: Analysis of Lightfastness of Prismacolor Colored Pencils

Prismacolor has published its very first detailed color chart detailing the ASTM lightfastness ratings for its existing range of 132 Prismacolor Pencils.

The ratings also apply to Art Stix of the same colour.

Here's the Color Chart (download as a pdf file from the Prismacolor blog)!  See Introducing 18 New Colors; revived and refreshed for 2011!

Prismacolor Premier Lighfast Color Chart
This is the Lightfastness Legend used on the Chart.  It rates the lightfastness of different pencil colors (ie their ability to maintain their colour over time while exposed to light) from Excellent to Poor.

Prismacolor Pencils - Lightfast Legend

The colours have all been tested according to the processes laid down by the ASTM D6901-06 and the lightfastness ratings have been established.  This provides a level playing field for comparing colours and their lightfastness across different brands.

For more about lightfastness see my "resources for artists" website Coloured Pencils - Resources for Artists - and, in particular, the section about COLOURED PENCILS - COLOURS AND LIGHTFASTNESS

My own feeling is that Prismacolor now have far more colours in Groups 4 and 5 compared to other manufacturers.  I'm really not sure why they want to produce quite so many pinks, violets, purple and blues - colours which are effectively fugitive.  Certainly both Talens and Caran d'Ache, which have also had their pencils tested to ASTM standard, have many fewer pencils but virtually all their pencils are Group I and II.

I'd certainly prefer a complete set which had as a minimum a very good standard of lightfastness - even if it meant less pencils.  But maybe I'm a voice on my own on that one?

The general consensus is that artists producing artwork which is intended to be archival should only be using Class I and II (Excellent and Very Good) colours.

Below I list the new colours and also which group all the rest of the colours fall into.

Group I - Excellent Lightfastness rating
  • Artichoke
  • Lemon Yellow
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Spanish Orange
  • Goldenrod
  • Mineral Orange
  • Crimson Lake
  • Light Peach
  • Beige
  • Nectar
  • Light Peach
  • Powder Blue
  • Parrot Green
  • Yellow Chartreuse
  • Green Ochre
  • Kelly Green
  • Dark Green
  • Sandbar Brown
  • Sepia
  • Jade Green
  • Peacock Green
  • Light Umber
  • Chocolate
  • Burnt Ochre
  • Sienna Brown
  • Terra Cotta
  • Henna
  • Expresso
  • Dark Umber
  • Dark Brown
  • Warm Grey 10%
  • Warm Grey 20%
  • Warm Grey 30%
  • Warm Grey 50%
  • Warm Grey 70%
  • Warm Grey 90%
  • Cool Grey 10%
  • Cool Grey 20%
  • Cool Grey 30%
  • Cool Grey 50%
  • Cool Grey 70%
  • Cool Grey 90%
  • Black
  • French Grey 10%
  • French Grey 20%
  • French Grey 30%
  • French Grey 50%
  • French Grey 70%
  • French Grey 90%
  • White
  • Metallic Silver
  • Bronze
Group II - Very Good Lightfastness rating
  • Cream
  • Ginger Root
  • Jasmine
  • Sand
  • Pumpkin Orange
  • Carmine Red
  • Scarlet lake
  • Crimson Red
  • Peach
  • Beige Sienna
  • Chestnut
  • Black Raspberry
  • Black Cherry
  • Black Grape
  • Mediterranean Blue
  • Indigo Blue
  • Chartreuse
  • True Green
  • Grass Green
  • Olive Green
  • Kelp Green
  • Slate Grey
  • Metallic Gold
Group III - Good Lightfastness rating
  • Canary Yellow
  • Pale Vermillion
  • Peach Beige
  • Seashell Pink
  • Rosy Beige
  • Raspberry
  • Greyed Lavender
  • Violet
  • Copenhagen Blue
  • Electric Blue
  • Denim Blue
  • True Blue
  • Sky Blue Light
  • Peacock Blue
  • Cloud Blue
  • Non-Photo Blue
  • Light Acqua
  • Aquamarine
  • Light Green
  • Spring Green
  • Marine Green
  • Celadon Green
  • Muted Turquoise
  • Putty Beige
Group IV - Fair Lightfastness rating
  • Sunburst yellow
  • Magenta
  • Pink
  • Pink Rose
  • Clay Rose
  • Pink Rose
  • Mahogany Red
  • Dark Purple
  • China Blue
  • Blue Slate
  • Moss Green
  • Tuscan red
Group V - Poor Lightfastness rating
  • Yellowed Orange
  • Orange
  • Poppy Red
  • Process Red
  • Mulberry
  • Hot Pink
  • Salmon Pink
  • Blush Pink
  • Lavender
  • Lilac
  • Dahlia Purple
  • Parma Violet
  • Imperial Violet
  • Blue Violet Lake
  • Violet Blue
  • Ultramarine
  • Light Cerulean Blue
  • Caribbean Sea
  • Periwinkle
  • Blue Lake
  • Pale Sage
  • Limepeel
  • Apple Green
NEW Pencils ( but some with old colour names)

Prismacolor have also released 18 new pencils which are currently undergoing a formal assessment to determine their final lightfast rating.  These revive some of the favourite colours from the past!

I'm assuming that they have tried to address the horrible lightfastness problems that some of these pencils had in the past.

The "new" colours are:
  • Deco Yellow, 
  • Deco Peach 
  • Deco Pink
  • Permanent Red
  • Indathrone Blue
  • Cadmium Orange Hue
  • Prussian Green
  • Sap Green Light
  • Grey Green Light
  • Cobalt Turquoise
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Cobalt Blue Hue 
  • Eggshell
  • Pomegranate
  • Dioaxazine Purple Hue
  • Neon Yellow
  • Neon Orange
  • Neon Pink
The new pencils bring the complete set up to 150 pencils - which will be available soon in all new packaging.


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Book Review - The Illustrated Herbal by Wilfred Blunt

The Illustrated HerbalThe Illustrated Herbal by Wilfrid Blunt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For those interested in the history of the development of The Illustrated Herbal this is an excellent reference book. Initial indications (from skim reading it on the way home from the RHS Autumn Show at the Horticultural Show where I bought it) are that this book has amazing illustrations from a wide range of herbals - many of which are hundreds of years old. It also has in-depth coverage of the development of the herbal.

The authors are Wilfred Blunt - who wrote the much acclaimed book The Art of Botanical Illustration" - and Sandra Raphael

Very much recommended for all those interested in the history of the development of botanical art - and the the development of the illustrated herbal in particular

View all my reviews on Goodreads
View my resource site A History of Botanical Art
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