My favorite materials (2): Caran d’Ache Neocolor II crayons
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One of the things I’m always curious about is what kind of materials other artists use. That’s why I’m writing a series of blog posts about my favorite materials. In a previous post, I wrote about my absolute number one: Golden Fluid Acrylics: Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold.
In this post, I will write about my number 2: Caran d’Ache Neocolor II water-soluble pastels. I use them all the time, I think in almost every painting or collage that I make.
What do I like so much about the Caran d’Ache Neocolor II crayons?
First, I love the smoothness of the crayons. Especially if you heat them with a hairdryer, they give a very thick and creamy line.
Second, they have beautiful and intense colors. Because they are professional quality crayons, they are very highly pigmented. I only use a few colors though, mostly turquoise, orange, yellow and pink. And black and white, of course. The latter are perfect for creating graphic elements in your work. White marks on a black or dark background create a beautiful contrast. And the same is true for black marks on a white background.
Third, I like the ‘roughness’ of the lines. Contrary to for instance acrylic paint markers which give a very straight and ‘artificial’ line, the crayons give a raw and natural line, which I love.
Fourth, because they are water soluble, you can easily mix them with acrylic paint, contrary to for instance oil crayons. At the same time that can be a disadvantage. For example, if you paint with white paint over a layer of crayon, it picks up the pigments of the crayon, which pollutes the whiteness of the paint. To prevent this, you can cover the crayon lines with matte medium, although this again bears the risk of smearing the crayon. That’s why I usually only use the crayons on top of a painting and cover the final layer with spray varnish, to fixate the crayon lines.
You can buy the crayons in boxes, but I would advise buying only the colors you love or use in your work. Otherwise, you will end up with lots of crayons you don’t use, and not having the crayons you want to use. In my case, the turquoise color that I like is not included in a very basic box. On this page you will find a link to a color chart.
Have fun using the crayons!
Ps: below I post some examples of how I use the crayons in my work.