I stumbled across a sale on Crayola brand colored pencils last week; $3 for 24 instead of the usual $5 for 24. If you are interested in trying colored pencils but find the price of Prismacolors daunting ($23 for 24!), then I -highly- recommend trying Crayola! I am confident you will not be disappointed.
Crayola was brought to my attention by one of the artists I follow on DA. She uses them and told me she was getting good results. I agree with her 100%. You may have to work a -little- harder to get good color down on the paper, but it won't be much harder and the price difference is well worth it! For a visual comparison look at my "Gone Fishin" (Prismacolor) and "Blowin' Smoke" (Crayola) drawings. They are right next to each other in my gallery and were both posted within one day of this journal entry.
So far "Blowin Smoke" is the only drawing I've done with the Crayola pencils so I have not had to sharpen them much; but, I have not had a single 'lead' breakage during sharpening so far. If you put a fine point on the tip, -that- is a bit fragile but that's the only sharpening problem I've had so far. And even that is minor as only the finest part of the point breaks; just stop sharpening before it gets that sharp next time.
Crayola pencils have a slightly smaller diameter color core than Prismacolor so you might think they won't last as long, but that's only true if you do not have a breakage problem during sharpening like I do with Prismacolor. (I am searching for a better type of pencil sharpener!)
UNfortunately... As far as I can tell Crayola pencils are -not- available on an individual basis. So, what are you supposed to do when you use up your favorite color? Buy a whole 'nother box???
Prismacolor has almost twice as many colors available as Crayola, AND most of them can be bought individually. I buy mine at "Jerry's Artarama." (It helps that his prices are -HALF- that of "Michael's" or "AC Moore", without a coupon.) My problem with Prismacolor is that I get a lot of breakage during sharpening. (See my previous journal entry.)
So in closing let me reiterate... If you want to try colored pencils but can't deal with the price of Prismacolors or other "professional" quality pencils, give Crayola a try. You will not be disappointed.