Teaching Color with Crayons: Tony Janello

RISD Adjunct Professor Tony Janello speaks to Art Prof Clara Lieu in his studio about his approach to color theory as an artist and professor. Also about a drawing technique he developed using Caran d’Ache Neocolor I crayons to create portrait drawings drawn from life. Janello explains common problems students encounter while studying color and presents several solutions for how to think about color in the context of drawing.

Video Walkthrough

  • Tony’s technique with crayon drawing.
  • Crayons were cheaper than pastels, and therefore he went with crayons.
  • Crayons are familiar to people, everyone has used them in school.
  • Painters are bogged down by centuries of historical painting.
  • Painting from a photo is limited, you’re painting from someone else’s interpretation of the subject.
  • Tony’s inspiration from Renaissance paintings.
  • Renaissance paintings that were built with monochromatic underpaintings, that then had colors added on top.
  • Crayon drawings are built up in layers of color.
  • Each crayon layer is sprayed with fixative to isolate that layer.
  • Finding an artist model “on the street.”
  • Tony’s muse, an artist model, John.
  • Many students are very intimidated by color, often because they are experienced in drawing in black and white.
  • People who draw in black and white often struggle the most with color.
  • When you draw in black and white, you’re essentially ignoring the color.
  • Getting over your fear of color is the most important part of the process.
  • Crayons don’t allow you to get around bright, saturated colors.
  • Tony’s self-portraits, over several decades.
  • A self-deprecating self-portrait.
  • Text in Tony’s self-portrait drawing.

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Artists mentioned

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Tony Janello

Anthony Janello

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