Do you remember that feeling you used to have when you were little and opened a brand new box of Crayola Crayons? The excitement of seeing all of those perfectly sharpened points of color was something special that I thought was lost to me as an over the hill adult. I was wrong.
I had been seeing what I thought were pastels of some sort in many of the mixed media YouTube videos out there. It wasn’t until I signed up for the Fabulous Faces course by Tamara Laporte that I realized they were actually watercolor crayons. Caran d’Ache NeoColor II water soluble crayons to be exact. (Not to be confused with NeoColor I crayons which are not water soluble.)After watching her create color magic with them I decided to order a set of my own even though I already owned watercolor pencils.
The day they arrived I felt like a little kid again, opening that box of Crayolas. But it wasn’t until I put them on paper that I truly fell in love. Here’s why.
- Like the watercolor pencils they make it easy to apply color, even in small spaces.
- They go on creamy, like a crayon, and are less likely to leave indentations in the paper.
- They dissolve easily when adding water with a brush. While my Prismacolor watercolor pencils aren’t bad, there are times when the pencil line just refuses to dissolve completely. I haven’t had that problem with the Neocolor II’s.
- They are fun to use. Let’s face it, the kid in us loves to color. That’s why the adult coloring book phenomena is huge right now. The added magic of adding a little bit of water to what you’ve colored and see it bloom into vibrant watercolor beauty? Totally fun.
- They can be blended without water with your fingers, like a gelato.
- You can use them like traditional watercolors by touching a wet brush to the tip to pick up color.
- You can sketch with them!
They may be as fun as that lovely box of Crayolas when you were a kid, but these are a far cry from the wax crayons of your youth. These are not waxy and they are bursting with delicious pigmented color. Does this mean I’ve abandoned my Prismacolor watercolor pencils? Nope. I actually find myself using them right alongside my NeoColor II’s. I also wouldn’t personally call them a replacement for traditional, quality watercolors because they lack the same translucency.
What do I feel their greatest strengths are for me? I love using them to paint skin tones and faces. I also reach for them when I’m creating backgrounds or adding dimension to my mixed media elements. They are also really great for your travelling art supplies because they are small yet can do so many things well.
Have you used NeoColor II crayons? What did you think? What do you use them for the most? Haven’t used them but have questions? Share in the comments below.