Crayons were the very first art supplies that I ever had. Well, these are actually a new set I got recently because I felt like playing with crayons again. Back then, I didn’t think of them as art supplies. They were just a super fun way to color things and have a bit of play. And, of course, anything I made back then was more than art. It was a masterpiece beyond comparison. I remember the feeling of pride I felt each time I completed one of my coloring pages. And honestly, not that much has changed today. I’m still a coloring book artist. Only now, I make my own drawings first, so it’s way cooler that way. And the way I use watercolor is probably a bit closer to the way I use crayons. I use very little water and paint a bit backwards, usually from dark to light. Then I blend things with a drop of clear water and happily pronounce it complete! Only today, I don’t have my mom nearby to proclaim each one a masterpiece. And no matter how I try to fight it, I’ve grown up enough to recognize when one is better than the other. But, the feeling of DOing it? Completing a little coloring page each and every day? That’s no different at all. I still get a surge of happiness and a thrill of victory each and every time.

Philippe informed me when he saw me playing with crayons that he never liked them, not even as a kid. I was, of course, perfectly aghast at first, but I sort of got what he meant. The colors aren’t smooth and you can’t really blend them together easily. But, I was having fun playing with them to see what effects I could achieve. When I was done with my crayon masterpiece, it was decidedly in the very same style of my watercolors only without the smooth blended bits. It was comforting to know that my style has been with me since I was a kid, only the techniques and tools have changed along the way. And I realize that I probably had to agree with Philippe. Crayons always lacked something for me. That very something that I discovered the first time I tried watercolor. I wanted to mix colors and blend them smoothly. I adored the magic of watercolor and being able to use just three colors to make hundreds. It was truly amazing! But, I didn’t gravitate toward traditional watercolor painting. Instead, I stuck with my coloring book, well… my sketchbook, which I call my watercolory book, and have enjoyed every little thing I’ve made appear there! Even the ones that I felt didn’t turn out as expected.

My mother usually always has a little pack of crayons on the table at family gatherings. Sometimes the entire table is covered in butcher paper so we can all color to our heart’s content. Perhaps this explains my own love of coloring things and color in general. It’s been a family tradition my entire life. We’ve had so much fun coloring together. And what I adore most is that the only expectation is to make something pretty or at least colorful on a piece of paper. No pressure to succeed at anything more than simply doing that. That’s how I approach my own daily sketchbook practice. Sure, it would be awesome if a masterpiece appeared, but the real masterpiece is my own dogged determination to always show up and make something in the first place. That’s the beautiful bit that’s sometimes harder than it looks. But, even with the slightest amount of time, I’ve always managed to DO it and I hope each of you out there will try the same! Life is never better than when we consistently make space in it for a bit of creativity. Whether it’s splashing watercolors around on paper or reliving days long past and, once again, playing with crayons.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Opus, (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, Vermilion, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Crayons In A Glass Illustration - Doodlewash


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24 thoughts on “Playing With Crayons

  1. I loved crayons until 1st grade. We were given a drawing of Mary and Joseph with a donkey to draw. I approached it quite logically – the desert is brown, they were poor so they’re robes would be brown – they were in the sun a lot so they’d be brown and donkeys are brown. But I was SO careful with my light and dark tones, blending other colors in so that every brown was a different brown. I was so proud of making all those browns work. When I got it back, I had an F – the only bad grade I ever got on an art project. The teacher made me do it over with lots of color. For some reason, I blamed the crayons. I’m just glad I didn’t let the teacher convince me that I did the coloring incorrectly. But some 60 years later, I still remember coloring that page.

    1. Oh wow, Sandra! That’s never a way to teach a child or anyone at all… especially when it comes to art! I’m quite sure your browns were amazing and a beautiful rendition of what you were creating! 😃💕 And equally thrilled you were obviously able to get past it, judging from the amazing things you create today!

  2. As I have gotten older and presumably smarter, I have tried to be very Zen about past and present slights, jealousies, and other things I can’t change. So it is with sadness that I admit I’m still upset with my mother for never buying me the giant box of crayons with the built in sharpener. I mean, how dare she stifle my art career with her penny pinching ways! 😂😂

    1. I still have my Big Box, I was very careful with it and It’s mostly intact… entertainment in our house was to sit watch TV and color. I remember Mom, my aunt and Gramma all joining in.

  3. Wow. These crayons look so real. Your work is definitely worth being refered to as masterpieces. What a nice tradition. When I go to a restaurant that has the tables covered with butcher block paper, and a crayon sitting there for the waiter
    to sign his name, I always want to grab the crayon and start drawing. I am usually able to wait until after dinner, then I grab the crayon and leave the waiter a piece of “refrigerator art.”

    1. Thanks so much, June! 😃💕 You’re too sweet! Glad you’d put my doodles on your refrigerator! (that’s how I still think a masterpiece is defined, of course! hehe) I love restaurants like that! I it would be fun to work in one and see all the masterpieces that get created each evening!

  4. When I was in elementary school, our school sold Prang crayons. (That was back when schools sold your school supplies!) They were better than Crayolas. The colors were beautifully laid out in a flat box. They went down like butter, not making that texture look that Crayolas do (unless you press really hard). I don’t even know if they still make crayons, I know their watercolor sets work better than the Crayola brand, but are also twice as much if not more. Ahhhhh the memories of getting that brand new box of crayons the first day of school. Love your crayons… a glass of course! 😉

    1. Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 And ahhhh those memories of our first moment coloring! I think the fact that we still remember them is simply proof that coloring is something amazing! It’s the start of the art journey and every step after that.

  5. Charlie says, “Life is never better than when we consistently make space in it for a bit of creativity.”

    …so very true!!

    The glass of crayons is so real I can smell the special scent of Crayola crayons. I especially love the glass and
    the reflections. That artist has magic.

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