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Caran d'Ache Crayons, Neocolor I

-Effective, simple way to learn color without the high expense of painting supplies.

-Neocolor I is water resistent, Neocolor II is affected by water.

-Vivid, brilliant colors.

-Can be layered endlessly, using spray fixative in between layers.

-Does not smudge at all, is a very permanent drawing media.

-Works best on a dark, sturdy drawing surface, such as untempered masonite or black mat board.

Caran d'Ache Neocolor I Crayons

Video transcript

These Caran d’Ache Neocolor I crayons, these are so not the crayons that you were using when you were in preschool. These are really sophisticated crayons mostly because, the quality of the color is so incredibly rich and vibrant.

It’s common for people to think that, if they want to learn color they have to paint. I think a lot of people consider drawing to be a black and white experience because a lot of drawing materials are black and white, like, for example graphite and charcoal.  

With crayons, you can get the experience of color with the simplicity of the materials because, the thing that I think is challenging about painting is that you have to buy so much equipment. You got to get the easel and the palette and the brushes and the paint. That’s a lot of stuff that you have to get. What is so great about the crayons is that you do get the full color experience. You really can work with very sumptuous, very rich colors and you really can layer them endlessly the same way that you would make a painting.

Keep in mind that Caran d’Ache makes two different kinds of crayons. They have Neocolor I which is water resistant, so if I take a brush and I paint some water over Neocolor I, you can see that the crayon resists the water.

Now they also make Neocolor II which is water soluble, so it does get affected by the water. Now if I take this brush and I paint the water over Neocolor II you can see that the crayon is very much affected by the water and you can get these really fun kind of watercolor like techniques.

I have found that if I’m outside on a hot day working with Neocolor II and, I’m not using water, they do get a little bit softer, a lot more quickly than say Neocolor I does, so just keep that in mind. I mean if you have no intention whatsoever of using water, I would just buy Neocolor I.

One of the best features of these crayons is that you really can layer them infinitely. If I take this red and I really build it up, and you really got to use pressure with these crayons; when you draw like this you’re not going to get that rich color. So you do need to work up a little bit of a sweat when you’re using these crayons. But what’s so much fun about this is that I can now, take this lavender and if I press really hard, I can layer lavender on top of the red. I can go further than that and take this deep blue, and put that on top of the purple.

I also happen to like using the white crayon a lot because, not only is it pretty dramatic (I mean if I press as hard as I can), you really can get it pretty bright. But also, I want to use the white crayon, as almost a blending stick; so sometimes if there is an area like this and I want it to be a little bit smoother, what I’ll do is, I will  take the white and i’ll just move it around in all different kinds of directions. And that’s a way for me to smooth out that area a little bit better.

After you’ve built up a couple of layers of crayon, you can go outside and get some spray fixative and you can spray a layer of fixative over your entire drawing. The fixative basically builds a very thin barrier between the layers of crayon and, so after you sprayed it, it’s almost like starting fresh with that new layer.

As much as I love chalk pastel, one of the things that drives me crazy about them is that chalk pastel drawings are super fragile. I mean I feel like every time I do a chalk pastel drawing, (I feel like) if I breathe on it the wrong way, my drawing is ruined.

The crayon drawing is incredibly durable. I mean I feel like crayon drawings are invincible; I mean look at this, I can just take my hand, I could do this all day and nothing would happen. You don’t have to stress about ‘Oh no! Is it going to get ruined?’ It’s really permanent.”

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7 responses on "Crayons"

  1. Profile photo of Lauryn Welch

    The thing that’s really wonderful about using crayons is that they have the ease of colored pencils in terms of cleanliness, portability, and optical mixing techniques, but they are much beefier, creating some of the same luxurious effects as oil paints. If you’re experimenting with color for the first time, this is a great, affordable way to start!

  2. Profile photo of Lisa Holt

    Have you tried the Caran d’Ache Neoart Aquarelle crayons? It looks like they are wax-based compared to the Neocolor crayons. I think the Neoart are more expensive, but if I can afford it, was trying to decide whether to get the Neocolor II or Neoart crayons.

    • Profile photo of Clara Lieu

      Hmmm are the Neoart Aquarelle Crayons different than Neocolor II crayons, or are they the same thing? I’ve never heard of the Neoart ones before. (Neocolor II is water soluable). Personally, I really prefer the Neocolor I crayons over Neocolor II. Neocolor II is softer, and I find that if it’s warm where I’m working, or if my hands are warm, sometimes the crayons can get smeary in my hands which I don’t like. I like Neocolor I for this particular drawing technique because they’re totally resistant to moisture, and never get smeary no matter how warm it is.

  3. Profile photo of Casey Roonan

    Wow, this really makes me want to run out and buy some Caran d’Ache crayons… Recently I’ve been missing the tactile feeling of working in oil paints, but I foolishly gave away a lot of my painting supplies after art school! This seems like a really affordable solution

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