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Koh-I-Noor Color Pencil Review

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Koh-I-Noor Color Pencils
By: Susan Wolf Caplan, Product Guru 

About 10 years ago I watched a video by a woman named Kristin Powers on using color pencils.  That very afternoon I went out and purchased my first set of Prismacolor pencils and I have never looked back.  I am hooked!

I keep my pencils in a cup on my desk sorted in color families, so they are readily available.  I have never found a great way to travel with them.  So, while I was on Gina K Designs website, I saw that she was selling a set of 24 woodless color pencils and I thought that I would like to try them since the price was reasonable.


The pencils come in a topless and bottomless box.  There are two separate trays with 12 colors in each tray that can be slid up or down.  The trays are stacked over each other, so that each tray can be seen, when they are slid upwards.  I love how compact this is and how easy it is for storage as well as for travel purposes.

At this point I am pretty impressed and eager to try out the quality.

I decided that I wanted to do a side- by- side comparison with the Prismas vs the Koh-I-Noor.  So, I stamped my image twice on two different cards.  I chose my colors from the Koh-I-Nor set.  I then matched the colors as close as possible with my Prismas, so I could get a good comparison.

When I began coloring with the Koh-I-Nor pencils I noticed that the color seemed very waxy.  I like to create depth and intensity by coloring over an area several times with as many as 4 different colors. I start with a light hand and color progressively heavier until the desired effect is achieved.  With these pencils I was only able to lay down two layers, before I got bits of waxy color on my image and the pencil was actually beginning to resist instead of color.  The pencils didn’t blend as easily as I was used to either. There was no way to go back over the image and create detail once there was a waxy buildup.


 The result of the two roses I colored are below. Although it is hard to capture on film, the differences in person,  are dramatically different.  The Prisma rose is brighter, more shaded and detailed.  The Koh-I-Nor is pretty, but is “flat” looking.  Lacking the depth, detail and strength of color.


I finished the two cards and I can really see the difference.  I am going to remain faithful to my Prismas.  I will use the Koh-I-Nor when I travel, and since they do give ok results they will be fine in a pinch.  But, having the choice, hands down the Prismas come out ahead!


I rate the Koh-I-Nor a  C.

Stamp Credit:    Melanie Muenchinger by Gina K Designs


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6 Responses »

  1. I prefer the Koh I Noor feel for the type of art I produce, I found that I can overlay areas of color with these and they may not blend like Prisma color, but they have a solid feel and I get 3 times as much coverage from one pencil compared to Prismas wood pencils. My critique of Koh I Noor woodless colored pencils is the limited color pallete

  2. Thank you for this review. I have had the box of Koh-I-Noor for some time but am hooked on my Prismas as well. I think I will give them to my Grandson (he likes to draw as well).

  3. Thank you for the review, Now I don't feel I am missing out. I love my prismas I also have and use the crayola penclis when I neeed to change us some colors. but the tried and true prismas and the blender pencil is the first love for me. I will stay with my first choice and put the money toward the prisma brand. Thanks again for sharing.

  4. thanks susan for the review! I love my prisma colors, and gasp at the price we have to pay... so it is nice to hear and see the comparisons...
    I too, love to color in lighter to darker layers! My frustration is when I purchase my pencils from Michaels' is that... how much are the leads craked up from shipment? that makes me mad, when I keep sharpening and get broken leds....
    love this site!!

  5. Susan, I agree with you. Prismas are the best! I don't like the overly waxy pencils either because I also like to be able to lay down several layers of color. I got used to doing that with pastels and when I went to colored pencil, the Prismas were a lot better than the Koh-I-Nors. Excellent review!

  6. Susan nice review and examples showing the differences between the two products. Love the colors you used and how the Prisma sample pops.