Good tools are important. Having the right tools is very important too. I can highly recommend the Staedtler sharpener (mine is in obvious need of a clean). It works beautifully and renders a very sharp tip. Speaking of sharp tips, everyone who has worked with pencil, colour or not, is familiar with point breakage during drawing. This sends tiny bits of core all over the place. If you’re working in ordinary pencil, it’s not a major deal if it smears, as it’s easily erased. That is so not the case with colour pencils, Prismacolor in particular. Normally, I use a fox tail brush to clean, but these can cause problems with colour pencils, in that no matter how lightly you wield one, it’s still heavy enough to cause many a smear. The solution? Feathers. I use 3 types of feather. Not only can you pick up minuscule bits of pencil with them, they are very good to brush an area of your work without smearing. The turkey feather is the lightest, and excellent at picking up bits; the other two are stiffer, with more weight, and good for an overall sweep. If you have a bunch of bits and dust, gently press the feather down on them, and it will pick them up. Don’t forget to clean your feather after. Just using your fingers on the feathers works fine.
Living rural, I don’t have to go far to find feathers, but if you’re deep in an urbanscape, feathers of all types are easily found in craft stores. The benefit there is that you can buy feathers by the bag, so you’ll have more than enough for your needs.
22 seconds in the microwave, kept all the info. Just sharpened it, seems to have worked. This was also a sharp reminder of a major failing on my part – not paying attention. I’m so colour focused, I completely ignore observing the condition of the pencil. Now that I had a very good look at this one, there are a number of gouges and scores, particularly on the ‘back’ of it, and there was a suspicious piece transparent tape, too. So, while it’s good to know you can fix your pencil up, it pays to be very observant of the pencil itself before you bring it home.