March 12, 2021

Make a Crayon Masterpiece


By Sydeny Brink

Different versions of crayons have been in artists’ toolboxes for a long time – they weren’t always toys for children! One of my favorite things in the world is opening a fresh set of crayons, and I’ll show you how many artists make a crayon masterpiece.

All About Crayons

Crayons are often compared to oil pastels, but they are pretty different in how they make marks. Crayons are made of wax, which makes the material harder, and so they hold up more to wear and tear than oil pastels. They’re sturdier to take with you as you go, don’t require much cleanup (if any at all!), and are cheap! Oil pastels are made of oil, wax, and pigment – they’re much softer than crayons, which lends to blending and mixing of colors on the page more than crayons. They’re also messy, and good quality sets can cost a fair amount. Neither material is very good at being corrected – i.e., they can’t just be erased away.

Tips to Make a Crayon Masterpiece

Here’s how I proceed:

Sketch! Make a sketch – lighter the better. Sometimes pencil underdrawings can leave dents or marks in the paper and the crayons will skip over the crevasse the pencil creates, giving your piece unwanted texture.

Since crayons don’t erase well or layer as well as other media, you should start lightest color to darkest color. I started with white, highlighting the glossy areas on the fruit.

Keep layering your colors, going from lightest to darkest. This also happens to be warm colors to cool colors! This makes sense: shadows and your darkest areas are frequently cool colors, since light sources are generally a warm tone.

Use a craft knife to scrape up mistakes – it won’t totally erase your crayon marks, but I did use the blade of the knife to sharpen up some edges.

Even More Crayon Tips

  • Use a fairly heavy paper with some tooth for the crayon to grab on to, otherwise after one layer of coloring you’ll end up with a slick mess. I like using manila sheets of a medium weight paper. The off-white color makes the white crayon pop more!
  • Name-brand crayons are often made with better quality wax – some crayons might not perform as well as others, as with all art materials.
  • Use a light hand! I used a mix of oil pastel techniques and colored pencil techniques to get this to work for me.

Here is my finished still life:

Coloring sheets are just the beginning when it comes to crayons! You can buy solvents, blending tools and more to bring your crayons drawings to a new level! Show us your crayon masterpiece using #IgniteAtHEPL or join our Ignite Community Discussion Group on Facebook. Happy making!