Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Explorations with watercolor crayons, page 1

Lately I've been very excited about a series of posts written by Less Herger on her blog, Comfortable Shoes Studio . She's called the rants the Cult of Stuff, and basically she is encouraging art journalers to stop being addicted to the shopping, and start using our junk instead. This concept seems to have really struck a chord across the entire art journaling community, because I'm seeing discussions about it all over the place. Less herself has even started a free online class revolving around the same theme, and you can find it here on the Art Journaling forums.

I'm a little late to the game because the class started a month or so ago, but the group is going to be left up for anyone to join at any time. So I'm jumping in, and focusing on playing with Caran d'Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons. Most AJers I know swear by these, but I've never really taken to them. I bought a bunch back in 2004 when I first starting AJing and basically every page I did was an imitation of my hero, Teesha Moore. She swore by Neocolor II's, so I had to have 'em, too. Naturally. And they've pretty much just sat in my stash ever since, gathering dust. Every time I see another AJer rave about how these are an essential and a must-have, I wonder what I'm missing. I decided it was time to find out. Less suggested taking a supply you haven't used much, and doing at least 6 pages with it. That's my goal- at least 6 pages using my crayons. And if I don't love them at the end of this, I will purge them and feel guilt-free about it! Make room for other stuff I do love and do use.

What I didn't like about these crayons in the past was that I had a hard time writing over them without killing my pens. The writing part of journaling is very important to me, and I've killed many a pen learning what will and won't work over my preferred mediums.  I decided to tackle this problem right off the bat here:

 I used a deep greenish-teal Neocolor II for part of this page. (The orange was done with a Copic Sketch marker.) I did some scribbling inside of the orange lines, and then used a wet brush to spread the color. I experimented with a pen or two, and each one I tried either wasn't showing up (Pitt pen), wasn't bold enough (ballpoint pen, Sakura glaze pen), or beaded up over the crayon (Zig Writer). Then I had a burst of inspiration and pulled out a graphite pencil instead, specifically a Derwent 6B. I wrote thickly, going over my letters several times to make bigger, bolder letters, and I really like the results! It made an interesting effect where, seen in one light, the writing is hard to read. But tilt the book slightly, and the writing shows up very well. Really cool!

What I think is especially fun about this is that a plain old pencil is something I have never used in my journal until now. I bought several when I was taking an online drawing class last year, and once I shelved that interest, I haven't touched a pencil since. Now I'm inspired to pull out all of the drawing tools I bought for that class- pencils of varying hardness, a charcoal pencil, a graphite stick, a few Conte crayons- and see how I can use them on my pages. I have this tendency to buy supplies for one purpose- journals or scrapbooking or a drawing course- and forget that I can use them for other things, too. I don't know why I tend to put things in a mental box like that, but I'm wanting to break free from that way of thinking, and this is a good start!


  1. i wanna know how you created the green & teal background. it's very cool!

  2. This was the easiest thing ever. I painted the background a lime/kiwi green, with cheap acrylic craft paint. Then I just colored with the Neocolor II and blended it with a waterbrush. Seriously, that's all. The crayon color is Azurite Blue.