NeoColors, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways…

Caran D’Ache NeoColor Water-soluble wax pastels…my palms get sweaty when I think of picking up new colors!  I hyperventilate waiting for the delivery dude (no, not like that!), when I’ve been tracking the package after making an order online from Blick’s.

NeoColors…oh, how I wish I had every single color in the set.  How I do love the freakin’ awesome tin that holds them.  I await with bated breath for the day when I’ve emptied a tin and can use it for altered art (I love keeping my NeoColors in their original home, however weird or stiff that is).

NeoColors, have I told you that I just love Love LOVE LOVE them??

I know every artist has favorite art supplies, and I have no short list of all of the things that I still want to add to my supply closet.  So many things I haven’t been able to try as of yet, so many tools and mediums that call my name.

But NeoColors.  Ahhh, that’s my favorite thus far, and I can’t imagine that they will fall anywhere away from the top of my list of favorite things.  They have so many versatile uses, so many wonderful ways they can do the job at hand, so many reasons to love them.  I have tried other brands of water-soluble wax pastels, but the Caran D’Ache NeoColors are my most favorite, the colors are true and pure and vibrant, they aren’t muddy or murky grey under the color.

  • They are totally portable.  They can go with me from room-to-room in my home, they can go  with me to an outing at the park, they can go along when I go out of town.
  • NeoColors come in soooo many loverly colors!
  • They last for days and days…I use my NeoColors for all kinds of stuff, and it takes a really really long time to use up just one crayon.  So they’re a terrifically great buy for the monies.
  • NeoColors are relatively cheap.  For how long they last and all of the other color goodness they offer, they are a tremendous bargain.  That being said, I have tried other water soluble wax crayons, and these are my fave.  The colors are true, they are not tinged with grays or muddiness, they are vivid.
  • NeoColors are really blend-able.  I suppose that goes for watercolors as well, but with these neat little crayons, you can get the color where you want it, all over the place, without the runniness of watercolors, and then go back and start your work with the brush.  And then you can blend at will.  I have the ultimate control using these.  And again, without using a paint that seems to go so much faster.

    Prepared background, shades of blue and grey NeoColors, old world-style background stamp over surface

  • They are also great as a heavier color.  I use these little crayons in many of my art journaling spreads.  Particularly on backgrounds.  Because I gesso my pages before I start anything else, the color from the crayons does not soak right into the paper.  It sort of sits on top of the gesso, and I have more time to decide what happens next.  I can blend, I can lift some of the color back off as a relief, I can totally wipe it off if I hate the color or the placement.  But I can add lots of heavy color, and once it dries, it really is a heavier color.
  • They work wonderfully on my mixed media canvases, as well.  I use them for a lot of accents and shading and outlining on my larger works.  I love the way they work along with the other color mediums I use on my canvases.
  • NeoColors work great for texturing, such as putting the color on the paper, and then dropping water droplets all over.  You can let the water droplets dry, and that’s a pretty cool texture.  Or you can let the droplets mostly dry, and then go back with a paper towel and press on the droplets, removing the excess water.  That gives you a different look.  You can put down the colors, blend them with a brush, and then use a very wet brush at the top of the page to send heavier “streams” of water down the page.  That leaves a lovely color relief texture as well.  
  • You can totally mix NeoColors.  This took me a while.  My onging struggle with color held me back from the bravery of mixing.  Not so much anymore, so if I can save you some grief here, I’m thrilled.  You can mix these awesome colors.  My own personal fave is putting down the color directly with the crayon, adding scribbles with another color, then going back with the brush.  You can lighten colors, darken them, totally mix them for a new color.  Just like paint, go figure, lol.
  • These little guys are extremely versatile, I know that’s what all those other points add up to say, but it bears saying again here.  They are really versatile!  You can draw with the crayon, you can add water and brush to the color to smear it around.  You can dip the crayon in the water directly and then put on the color, that gives you a bit of a different look.  You can take a paint brush, dip it in water, and then use the paint brush directly on your surface.  You can take a wet paint brush and use it to “flick” across the crayon to get specks of color on your surface.  Use a bigger brush and more water for larger specks, use a smaller slightly drier brush for small, more opaque specks.  I’m sure I haven’t discovered all of the techniques with them!
  • They are quick and easy.  And in art journaling, that can be really useful.  Rather than face a blank, white page, just scribble it up with the NeoColors for quick background, and then you don’t have the block of staring at the blank, white page!
  • NeoColors, bits of rice paper, pearly craft paint, stamped images, patterned paper with glue, Faber-Castell marker

    If you let the color dry and set well, you can keep adding layers on top of the NeoColors.  You have to work a bit with type of inks and pens and so forth, and you have to be patient if you like to write or doodle on them, but it’s totally do-able.  I use layers of acrylic paints, craft paints, glues, papers, markers, pens, inks (especially waterproof Sumi ink) and stamping inks on these colors (I do have the best luck with liquid pens, particularly the waterproof Uniball Visions and G2 gel pens).

Prompt: So have I convinced you??  If you haven’t tried playing with NeoColors, consider giving them a go…they really are fun.  And if you use them already, I’m sure you have some techniques that we’d all love to hear about…I know I definitely would, I can’t get enough of these little gems!

*On a side note, this is a simple and heart-felt user’s love of a product…I am not associated with Caran D’Ache, NeoColors, or any store that sells the product.  I once tried to set up one of those click-on accounts to get an art supply commish over at Blick’s but can’t use it with this wordpress site.  So I am not profiting from this post.  

10 thoughts on “NeoColors, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways…

  1. I too am a lover of Neocolor II’s. I keep mine in a special, favourite, tin. I use mine in my art journal too – over gesso, just like you. They give such a wonderful finish. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! Maybe we should set up a fan club 🙂


  2. I love them too, have been using them for years in so many different applications. I love bringing them outdoors for plein air painting. And in the studio I use them with acrylics and mediums and collage. As you said, extremely versatile.

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