Reported by Sara McKenzie
The watercolor crayons offered by Stampin’ Up! are called “Watercolor Wonder Crayons”, and come packaged in a tin, in four sets of 12 colors each to match their families of colors: Bold Brights, Earth Elements, Rich Regals, and Soft Subtles. There is also a set of 6 Neutral colors, that includes white, vanilla, sand, two shades of grey, and black. (These come in a simple cardboard box.)
These really are the best watercolor crayons that I have tried. The colors are bright and true, the consistency is creamy and smooth, and it blends and spreads well. You can use standard watercolor techniques, such as creating washes and blotting excess water to lighten areas.
I’ve had the best results using watercolor paper as my base. (Stampin’ Up! also provides precut 140 lb cold press watercolor paper, in 3-3/4″ X 5″ pieces sized for cards. It is $6.95 for 20 sheets.) I also prefer to use the “Aqua Painter” paint brush, rather than a standard brush. Since the Aqua Painter contains its own water, I find it easier to work with, and to control how much water I am using at any given moment. (Plus you don’t need to worry about an open cup of water on your workspace, just waiting to be spilled!)
Here are some examples of techniques, using Rose Red:
On the left, below, the crayon was used to scribble directly onto the paper, and left dry. On the right, the crayon was scribbled, and then water was applied with the Aqua Painter brush to blend the color. It takes a lot of water to make it blend, but you can see that it does blend nicely, and leaves a very dense layer of color.
One of my favorite ways to apply color is the one shown below. Basically, you use a wet brush to pick up color from the tip of the crayon. You can pick up just a little, or a lot, and then further control the saturation by how much additional water you use when you paint your paper.
The last example, below, is an example of a wash. In this technique, you flood the area first with plain water. In the sample on the left, I then scribbled a bit of color on top of the wet paper, and then used the brush to spread the color further. You can still see some of the scribbles remain on the paper underneath-almost as if the paper has been stained. In the sample on the right, I picked up a little color with my brush, and added it to the already-wet area on the paper. You can see how this provides the most translucent and “soft” version of your color.
In the images below, you can see how I used these techniques in a couple of cards.
This first card uses the stamp set Blooming with Love, and the card design is directly from the catalog.
I started by stamping the limage of the wheelbarrow using Craft Black Ink, and embossing it with black embossing powder. (Note that you can also use any black ink that is permanent, or solvent based. What I like about embossing is that it provides a physical barrier for the watercolor, so you won’t go “outside the lines”. If you don’t mind that look, then don’t bother embossing.)
I used a wash technique on the body of the wheelbarrow, with the Chocolate Chip crayon. I kept adding color, and blotting it with a paper towel, until I had the intensity that I wanted. I made sure the color was not completely uniform to help with the illusion of a 3-dimensional shape with shadows and bright spots.
Wheelbarrow flooded with water:
Picking up brown “paint”:
Applying a brown wash to the wheelbarrow:
Blotting excess water and color with a paper towel:
I used the same techniques to add the green background behind the flowers. I used a few different shades of green, starting with the lightest color, and kept layering them until I got the look that I wanted.
Finally, I added the color to the flowers, picking up the color from the tip of the crayon with my brush, and applying a pretty thick amount of color (since the flowers are relatively small- I wanted them to pop.)
A close-up is shown below.
Here is another card, using the “Time Well Spent” hostess set from the Spring/Summer 2008 catalog (retired as of 8/10/08). I cased this design from SplitCoastStampers, changing the colors up to make a bright and cheerful birthday card for a 90 year old (!!) friend of mine. I stamped all of the images using StazOn Jet Black ink, and used the single technique of picking up color with my brush and applying it to dry paper. This gives the brightest version of each color.
So, what do I really think of these Watercolor Wonders?
- Love the colors, and love that they are sold in sets coordinating with the Stampin’ Up! color families.
- Terrific consistency when wet, they spread and blend well.
- You can mix the crayon colors with each other to create an endless number of hues. (I’ve not tried mixing with watercolor pencils or other watercolors.)
- You can mimic pretty much all watercolor techniques.
- Somewhat pricey at $19.95 for a set of 12. This is in the mid-range of other artist quality crayons I’ve seen. So you can find them more and less expensive than the SU brand.
- You can only purchase them through a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator.
Have you used them yourself? What do you think? I’d love to hear from you!
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