Monday, March 21, 2016

crayons: tips and tricks

By now most of you should know that I LOVE color and my favorite part of the creative process is adding color to my art. While I enjoy using the latest and greatest supplies, my passion is finding creative and unique ways to push simple supplies. Today I thought I would share a handful of my favorite tips and tricks for using crayons!

I love crayons and while it's pretty common to see them used in all kinds of kid's projects, I think they are TOTALLY AWESOME for adults to use! 

Crayons are super affordable, really accessible (the grocery store sells them) and the best part is that they come SO MANY colors. 

My favorite crayons will always be Crayola. I am typically not picky about the brands of my supplies but when it comes to crayons, I only buy Crayola! And once I bring a new box home, I organize and sort all my colors- this helps find what I am looking for when I sit down to create.

I also keep a sharpener on hand. For me, I like a really nice sharp crayon for coloring. While a large box of crayons comes with a sharpener, I like using my Generals All Art Sharpener. 
The best part of sharpening crayons is that you end up with a whole bunch of colorful wax shavings that can be melted and used in a variety of craft projects.

While I typically use crayons to add color to my drawings and mixed media projects, I do think they work great for adult coloring. Keep in mind that different paper will look and feel different with crayons.

When I add color to my black and white drawings, I am always looking for ways to layer, blend and get brighter color. My goal is to always try to make get my coloring not look like I am using kid's crayons! 

One of the best tips I can share is to blend those color starting from light to dark.

I always like to lay down a light layer of color. Then I go back over that color with a darker color and then again with another layer of dark color. 
The result is color has a lot of depth, variation and it looks a little more like colored pencils 

Keep in mind if you are adding color to your own drawings, it helps to draw in permanent ink. This will keep those lines from smudging or bleeding when you are experimenting and playing with crayons.
A favorite technique of mine is using baby oil to blend the color. A while back I shared the baby oil trick that you can you can use to blend colored pencils (HERE). And guess what?!?! You can use this same technique with crayons.

Start by adding dark saturated color to your drawings.

Next dip a cotton swab into baby oil and use it to blend that color.

You will be able to blend and soften all those rough edges and use colored pencils a little like a watercolor (or water soluble) pencil.

Keep in mind that different paper will react in different ways with this technique. Thinner drawing paper or printer paper will absorb the oil quickly and can soak through a little so make sure to place a scrap piece of paper under your work.

Thicker paper like card stock or watercolor paper is less absorbent and will produce even brighter and more saturated results.

I've found different colors have VERY different results. The reds, blues, purples and pinks blend really well. While yellows, oranges and greens tend to be a little more challenging to blend. I like to recommend testing your colors to see the results before working on a final project.

For those wondering if the drawing paper will get oily, the answer is just a little bit but not enough to be really obvious.

P.S. I've got a video tutorial over on my YouTube Channel where you can see this entire process in action! Head on over to check it out HERE.

You can also use this technique in reverse!

Start by scribbling all over a piece of paper.

Add paper oil to the surface and run a cotton swab in circles. The swab will pick up the color.

Use the swab to add light layers or washes of color to your drawings.

Grab a crayon and shade over the top of that light color. The oil on the paper will enable you color in a really smooth velvety way and get rid of all those tell tale crayon strokes.

Another trick (that might seem really weird) is heating up your paper before coloring. 

I grab my art hair dryer or a heat tool and warm up an area of my drawing. 

While the drawing is still warm I use my crayons to color. The result is smooth and "melty" color that quickly covers and saturated the surface. I repeat in different areas of my drawing until complete.

You can also reverse this technique and create a colorful background. 

Again, start by heating up the surface and while it is warm, start scribbling- the crayons will warm up and melt just enough to create rich, velvety color.

I used these backgrounds to paint over the top.

Since crayons are made of wax, they will resist pens but acrylic paint, gesso and india ink will work great for adding layers to the top of that color.

Ok you guys! I hope I've convinced you to grab a box of crayons and get creating!

Looking for more inspiration?


Brig said...

Brilliant. There's just so many things to do!!!

Stephanie said...

I love crayons too! Whenever my daughter gets a new box I'm the one who ends up coloring! :) These are great tips!! I'm looking forward to trying the heat method! Have you tried heating the paper after coloring?

Terri Paulson-Sasaki said...

Since I am a retired Kindergarten teacher this post makes me happy. I didn't know about the baby oil, thanks for sharing.

Vicky aka Stichr said...

i did see your oil idea before, but heating the paper? oh i can't wait to try that!!! thank you!

The Realm of Maria said...

Wow, thank you for sharing this! Looks amazing and using the baby oil was new for me.

Unknown said...

Your articles are very well written and unique. home painter

sandra d said...

I will have such fun with my 8 year old granddaughter! Thank you.

Emie58 said...

Over the weekend the local Colored Pencil Guild had a show which included demos. They were using Vaseline for blending color pencils and it was amazing..... I bet it would work with crayons as well. Can't wait to give it a try!

Krista said...

Cool, how fun to try something different with crayons!

Jo Murray said...

You've made those crayons look luscious!

Anonymous said...

Great post about crayons, who wouldn't love all these tips. Crayons are the true play art supply. xox

Mary W said...

I bet it would work great with paper over a heating pad! Thanks for the inspiration.

Unknown said...

Hi! I'm new to your page. I wanted to thank you for this post.
I recently was in a psychiatric unit after a suiside attempt. I learned that coloring is a huge stress reliever for me. I'm excited to try these tips. I'm tired of flat lifeless art. Thank you for inspiring me to keep coloring!!!

Jeffrey G. Delfin said...

Thank you very much for the tips and tricks :)

Unknown said...

Lovely blog! Do you have an Instagram I can follow?
I love the hair dryer trick. Wow I had fun coloring with it today

Unknown said...

Many years ago while I was at summer camp we colored with crayons on cloth and then layed wax paper over it and ironed it causing the wax to melt into the cloth. now it is washable also. We did pillowcases.


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