Friday, May 9, 2014

Pencil Storage

I am currently working on three different pieces, all in pencil, but neither are ready for a "work-in-progress" article yet, so instead I am continuing on with my little series on how I organize my studio (as per request by one of my readers). Today I am covering how I organize and store my pencils.

My favorite piece of storage equipment is my 120 pencil display by Prismacolor (in the photo above to the right)! I actually got that from an Ace Hardware Store. I used to work at one in N.C., and they do have art departments. Well, not all of them do, but I have heard of some that have huge art departments! The store I had worked at were cutting down on the number of pencils they carried, so they bought a new Prismacolor display with far fewer slots for pencils and so did not need the full size display any longer. I was able to buy the display complete with all the pencils in it that they could not display in the new case (about 300 pencils total) for only $30.00. Now THAT was a deal!

There is an Ace hardware on the Outer Banks that carried Carb-Othello pastel pencils and I loved to go there and restock my supply. I went one day and found out they were no longer going to carry pastel pencils and did not need their pencil display anymore. The manager actually gave me the pencil display - free! That's the little display case in the middle (to the left of the Prismacolor display). Unfortunately, no pencils came with the display. The store had pretty much sold out of their stock of pastel pencils, so no more pencils to buy.

All the drawers to the far left, next to the Carb-Othello pencil display, have more colored pencils as well as my watercolor pencils (Inktense, Neocolor II, Prismacolor, and Derwent), charcoal pencils, tinted charcoal pencils, and Graphitetint pencils. I have a little container of Prismacolor art sticks and some battery operated pencil sharpeners on the table top. On top of the drawers I have a few more pencil sets, such as Lyra Skintone colored pencils, Walnut Hollow Oil colored pencils (great to use on wood), and a woodless colored pencil set. In addition, I like to try new colored pencils to check their quality. I have a complete set of Soho colored pencils (which is a brand made especially for Jerry's Artarama) and Dick Blick colored pencils. The Dick Blick colored pencils are pretty good, though not  buttery soft like the Prismas. They're really more like Polychromos and they have a pretty good lightfast rating for most of the pencils. Jerry's brand I'm not as keen on. What I need to do is use the three primary colors of each brand and create a whole picture, then compare them side by side. Also, I have a few Pablos, and many Polychromos that I love to use, and the complete set of Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils. However, my favorite is still Prismacolor with Coloursoft and Polychromos a close second.

Finally, I have three pencils easels, each one carries approximately 125 pencils. One is for Prismacolor colored pencils, one for Polychromos and Derwent colored pencils, and the third for Derwent pastel pencils. These pencils easels are a great way to organize and keep your pencils, especially for quick and easy access. The easels are also very useful for travel or for plein aire drawing.

So, that is my pencil organization and storage! I hope this is helpful for some of you.


  1. I thought I had a lot of pencils lol ;)

    I have wanted one of those pencil stands for the longest time but am never quick enough to ask for one when I see store closing or getting rid of their pencils, one day I will have one lol

  2. It is better to ask a store that may be discontinuing their pencils or closing down than to pay $1500 to get one from Prismacolor itself! Lol! You'll have to work up the courage Jennifer! Sometimes you're doing the company a favor by letting them get rid of one more thing they really don't want to deal with. :D

    ~ Nancy

  3. i do ask, but since most of the stores that have closed are in the city and there is a huge art student population there, you have to be fast when asking lol

    the last store that closed is still empty, i should have a quick look in the windows and see if their pencil stands are still there. might be a pain tracking down someone to talk to if they are still there tho

  4. You're right. It's a matter of being in the right pace at the right time. I have been very fortunate, especially in getting two! Of course, the full size display came from a place I used to work at and I knew the manager pretty well. Here's to hoping you are able to get one soon Jennifer!!!! :)

  5. I bought one from eBay where it was advertised by the owner of an art shop that was closing.

    Not on the scale of yours but it was a Caran D'ache Prismalo stand with 42 holes/260 pencils. I paid £50 for the lot.

    I love how neat your artroom looks - mine needs a good spring clean right now LOL

  6. Hi Nancy,

    Could you link the brand of pencil easel you're using in the bottom picture? They look great, but I'm having a hard time finding something similar!

    Thank you!


  7. Hi Jenn!

    Sorry I didn't see your question until now. I got that particular pencil easel at Dick Blick ( It was quite a few years ago when it was only about $15.00. It is now around $26.00.

    Here's the link:

    ~ Nancy