Thursday, November 11, 2021

Festive! Caran d’Ache Wonder Forest Prismalo Bicolors


The festive Wonder Forest Prismalo Bicolors!

The holiday elves are already hard at work, and they brought me a set of Caran d’Ache Wonder Forest Prismalo Bicolor Pencils! Actually, I’m the one who did all the work looking for this darn set, which is none too easy to buy in the U.S. But since Wonder Forest is apparently Cd’A’s limited edition holiday theme this year, I knew I had to get a jump on Santa!

You may recall that two years ago, Caran d’Ache released its first-ever set of bicolor watercolor pencils, fulfilling a long-standing wish. The new set is similar to the original set but not identical. The new Wonder Forest set includes 12 pencils (24 colors) instead of ten. Six of the 12 are duplicates of the original set, and six are new. (All colors in both sets are part of the standard Prismalo line.) In place of a waterbrush, the Wonder Forest set includes a traditional watercolor brush.

Wonder Forest set shown with original bicolor set (bottom) released in 2019.

The new Wonder Forest set includes 6 bicolors (top) not included in the original set. Festive green/red and silver/gold!

A small watercolor brush is included.

The Wonder Forest set comes in Caran d’Ache’s iconic red tin, the latest design change that appears to be used for the Swiss company’s “professional” product line
(Supracolor, Pablo, Neocolor I, Neocolor II, gouache, Fibralo markers, Fibralo brush tip markers). Although Prismalo is part of its “hobby” line and doesn’t normally come in the red tin, this set has been upgraded for the holidays. (The dark green sleeve slides off.)

Upgraded iconic tin

As Caran d’Ache’s flagship colored pencil – the world’s first watercolor pencil, according to Cd’A – Prismalo is a natural choice, but I still wish the bicolors contained slightly thicker Supracolor cores.

As for the Prismalo bicolors’ performance, this post is not intended as a product review (for that, please see my review of the original set). Briefly, though, I’ll say that although Prismalo is not anywhere close to Cd’A’s premium Museum Aquarelles or high-end Supracolors, you could certainly do far worse in a watercolor pencil. In fact, I’d love to recommend Prismalo to people who ask me for a starter watercolor pencil, as it is comfortably soft and sufficiently pigmented for casual use. But since Prismalo is not easily available in the US, I can’t recommend it, at least outside of Europe.

Wonder Forest Sharpening Machine
(Image snipped from Cd'A's website)

Just in time for holiday gift giving, the Wonder Forest collection also includes two 849-model ballpoint pens (one red, one forest green), the Ecridor Star ballpoint pen with leather case and a forest green Sharpening Machine. Although I had long lusted after Cd’A’s ridiculously overpriced hand-crank pencil sharpener, I recently learned that the Sharpening Machine’s pencil grip leaves bite marks on the pencil, which fills me with dismay and outrage. If I want a sharpener that mars my pencils with every sharpening, I don’t need to spend a couple hundred Euros; I can find many hand-cranks that will do that for 20 bucks! It was easy to let that fantasy go. Still, it’s a lovely shade of green, isn’t it?

If you want a set of Wonder Forest bicolors, you’d better hurry. They are likely to go out of stock before Santa is even done checking his list. So far I’ve found European shops in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK that ship to the U.S. I have found no U.S. distributors. (Two years ago, I bought my original bicolor set from CW Pencils in New York City, but it has very sadly closed its doors.)

You can see that my holiday season is already colorful. The only question that remains is this: Can we expect Caran d’Ache to put out a new set of limited edition bicolors every couple of holiday seasons? I certainly hope so!

'Tis the season for bicolors!


  1. Fun to have two colors in one pencil...imagine if your could arrange your own combinations.

  2. Have you had a chance to try the new bicolor “treasure” set?

    1. YES!!! Review coming up very soon! :-)

    2. Yaaay! I was able to find the forest set in a stationery store in Spain today; they had a bunch. I hope I run across the treasure set this trip! (Also v happy to have an actual brush in the kit; I’m not fond of the bristles on water pens. :) )

    3. Lucky that you found a Wonder Forest set! It's hard to find at regular prices these days!


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