Wax Crayons for Grown Ups
Crayola for Big People!
I was watching this video the other day when I saw an artist take out a pack of wax crayons and start drawing with them in her art journal. I ran downstairs, grabbed my crayons and started playing.
I'd bought some crayons years ago when I was designing costumes for a children's opera - the designs featured lots of scribbles. But I'd never thought about actually trying to draw properly with them before.
Watching that video freed up my thinking and I found that I had a new set of great drawing materials.
You can get some cool effects with just a few crayons
My Small Collection of Crayon - Found in the bottom of my cupboard.
I used these crayons for the images on this page - so you don't need a lot to get some good effects.
150 Crayons - But if you want more...
Need more crayons? This set of 150 gives you a wide range of wax crayon colours.
This telescoping tower contains 118 regular crayons, 16 metallic FX crayons and 16 glitter crayons and comes with its very own sharpener.
Creating an Interesting Background
With just a few scribbles.
I was familiar with scribbling with crayons and using those scribbles as decoration but I also found that layering the background up with scribbles is a great way of adding interest to my work.
The piece below was used as the background for a collaged piece but I could have equally drawn on top of it with more crayon - the beauty of that is that I could have then used a scraping tool to reveal the layers beneath.
Recycled and Waxed Paper
My First Attempt
Don't start too small!
Details can be Difficult
I found one issue with using crayons to draw images is that you can't get (well at least, I can't get) the fine mark making needed for small detailed work.
I found I had to start again and take up the whole page.
Smaller details could be made with the woodcut effect - where you lay down a layer of black (or any single dark colour) on top of your wax drawing and then use a scrapey tool to make marks and reveal the colours beneath.
Opposite and below: my first tentative attempts to draw with wax crayon.
Messy Journal Page
Taking up the Whole Page
I decided to work on top of some scribbles I'd already laid down on a page. I was working in an altered book and hadn't gessoed the next page and I didn't want to wait to get started on my crayon experiments. So, I decided to just go over the top of the scribbles and I loved it.
A Bit Cross-Eyed and the Nose needs some Work!
Melting the Crayons
Melt and Smudge
Well, seeing as I'm MeltedRachel, I thought I'd get the hot air gun out and see what affect it had on my wax crayon drawings.
It seems to make the colours a lot more vibrant - I guess a similar effect to burnishing your piece.
My hot air gun is fairly strong so I was careful not to hold it over my work for too long - the paper beneath can get burnt, any paint can start bubbling off and you can damage the work on the other side of your sketchbook page if you're not careful.
The images above and below were worked on an altered book page. The page was coated in gesso. After the gesso was dried I coloured over the top with my wax crayons as usual. I heated the page with a heat gun and then used a rag to smear the wax.
Dreamy Smudged Wax
Smudged Wax HorseClick thumbnail to view full-size
Give it a Wash
I used washes of black watercolour paint over my crayon drawings.
Wax crayon will resist some water-based paints.
Below you can see how the paint sits on top of the wax in interesting effects when it dries.
Dried Drips of Paint on Wax
Working in my Precious Art Journal
I love this drawing.
Again, I used scribbling in the background. I layered more crayon on top of the scribbles and then sloshed some black watercolour paint on top. Wax crayons resist watercolour which usually gives a cool effect. My page was completely coated in crayon, however, so the paint just dried randomly on top of the wax - I like it.
The Image in Full
Getting Different Skin Tones
At the moment I only have my brown crayon for skin tones - although I could probably try mixing it with the yellow and white on top of it.
Imagine how excited I was to discover that Crayola already had a solution to this problem!
Now I can draw people with a variety of skin tones.
Crayons for drawing people.
Colours include: Apricot; Black; Burnt Sienna; Mahogany; Peach; Sepia; Tan; White.
Melting and Blending
I discovered during my melting experiments that I could get a decent lighter skin colour by blending pink, yellow and brown.
I started with a gessoed page (as I did with the other melting experiments) and then layered my crayon colours up on the page. I believe I started with carnation pink, then added yellow and then brown. I used these colours to make the basic shape of the girl's face. I didn't worry about details at this point.
Once all my layers were in place I used the heat gun to melt the wax. I then used my cloth to blend the colours together.
I worked the details over the top and then gave the piece a wash of blue watercolour paint.
The Pale Girl
Lee Hammond's Drawings
Lee Hammond's Crayon Drawing
I found this book whilst working on this lens.
Check the contents out on Amazon - you can see quite a few of the pages.
Lee Hammond looks like she's using artist quality pencils in her crayon drawings.
Wax Crayon Collage
Crayon Your Own Collage Papers
In the image opposite and below I've used wax crayons to make scribbly collage papers.
I used the paper from the "Scribbles" section above as my background and made some other colours to collage with.
I used black biro to add details - not traditionally the nicest mark-making pen but it seemed to work well on top of the wax.
I particularly like the "spikenard flower heads" depicted in yellow - that seemed to work well on this piece.
A Collaged Journal Page
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A selection of gorgeous crayon drawings from some very talented people.
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A group on Flickr dedicated to wax crayon art.
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Mostly melted crayon art but some other cool ideas.