Regardless how careful you are not to drop your precious Prismacolor Pencils, the truth of the matter is, you never know what happened to them since the day they were made by the manufacturer. So, here's how to prolong the life of those amazing Prismas!
Secret #1: If you're sharpening a pencil and it keeps breaking over and over again, your colour core has probably been damaged from a drop. Some artists swear by simply nuking the pencil in the microwave for 5-10 seconds. However, Prismacolor recommends simply placing them in the warm sun for a few minutes. Either way, the problem is easily solved.
Secret #2: Pencil sharpening: most of us naturally hold our pencil in our dominant hand and twist the pencil to sharpen it. But there is a better way! All you need to do is simply switch hands, holding the sharpener in your dominant hand and twisting the sharpener instead of the pencil. This will hold your pencil steady, alleviating any movement or rocking that could cause uneven sharpening.
Secret #3: Prismacolor Softcore pencils have just that, a soft core. This soft core means that you'll get amazing colour blending and brilliant colour saturation, but it also means a pointy tip will break easily. To solve this, simply use the bigger hole on your handheld sharpener. The result will be a shorter tapered tip, that is less likely to end up as dust on your page.
Secret #4: Another reason your pencils may not be sharpening well is because the blade on your sharpener is dull. To check, simply look at your pencil shavings; if they are in one long piece, your sharpener is probably in good condition. If the shavings are coming off in bits and pieces, then you should try replacing the blade or the sharpener altogether.
Bonus Secret: Steer clear of hand crank sharpeners, they'll butcher your pencils!
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*Above artwork by Tony Ciavarro.