I feel a bit pedantic writing about a pencil. However, there is a story here.
At a life drawing class in Atlanta I was surprised one day when the teacher asked me what I was using to draw a particular pose. Looking back I realize that it wasn’t that unusual a question, none of us can know everything. But it was the first time in a life drawing class that I was asked to instruct the instructor. The material in question was a black Prismacolor stick and I finished my exposition on its graces by giving him an extra that I had, which he profusely thanked me for.
I have been using them for quite some time and I still love them. They’re just like the Prismacolor pencils but in stick form, allowing the loose fluidity of charcoal or Conté crayons without the dirty fingers or need for fixative.
The discovery of the Prismacolor stick led me to the use of the Prismacolor pencil for everyday sketching. I had, since childhood, thought of Prismacolor only as a coloring agent rather than a tool of form and the changeover allowed work that was both exploratory and finished at the same time; something I had found difficult to attain with other materials.
I can also sketch anywhere and fold things up at a moments notice not having to worry that the work might get smudged or ruined. One can use them in tandem with the pencils in many of the same colors. They work on newsprint but a heavier stock is preferable, the less tooth the better the detail. I use the black ones all the time and my studio in infested with them.
Using just one color, their tonality is well varied but on the contrasty side, and for those of us who tend to draw a little light, it’s a fantastic antidote. Their waxy smoothness adds to the fluidity of use and, like inks, force one to make an image that’s difficult to erase. I realize there may be many out there who have similar answers to these techniques but Prismacolor is the only company I know besides Conté that offers both pencils and sticks of the same material.
In short, I consider them both indispensable.