Monday, August 15, 2011

And the Winner is... Crayola?! O_o

I'm sorry if you momentarily mistook me for a 3rd grader when you read this title. Let me explain. A long long time ago, when I was about 12 or so, my dad purchased a Crayola 12-color watercolor set for me. However I didn't realize their true powers until JUST recently. Oh, the saturation! The brilliance! The mixing ease! I like them better than my Academy tubed paints, which is what I used in college. Here is my fantastic vintage set:

But after a few months of furious Crayola use, my colors inevitably started to run out. I was in utter dismay! I went to Hobby Lobby and dropped the cash to buy the Windsor & Newton equivalents, since I thought I’d better move up to the professional brand.

BUT! What do you think happened? Dullness. Muddiness. Weird textures in the paint. I was sorely disappointed in their performance. Not to mention, they are something like $13 a tube… and my purse was crying for about a month.
So, I resorted to buying the first (and only) Crayola 12-color set I could find. This one:

I tried them out excitedly, but alas and alas... they were thin, and the colors dried with this weird ugly sheen on top. Le sigh.

In my despair, I contacted Crayloa customer service. They told me that my original beloved set is no longer being manufactured (booo!) but that I should try this one, which I FINALLY found on Dick Blick for $8 (with $9 shipping Y.Y)

And just like that, my life returned to me. THEY ARE THE SAME AS MY VINTAGE SET! Yeah! I was so excited that I tried out every single color in one painting like an excited kindergartener. The painting/study turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

So to summarize, let me repeat to you to wonders of Crayola semi-most oval pan watercolors.

They are BRILLIANT. I mean not just good=brilliant, but the hues are unbelievably bright. W&N colors seem very dull and muted to me.

They MIX WELL. They don't get muddy (W&N, I'm looking straight at you.) Each color retains its beauty no matter what other color is mixed with it.

They are SATURATED. They are very rich in pigment, and you can get the saturation levels of a very thick paint. They almost look like acrylics, except prettier.

They are INEXPENSIVE. Once again, W&N, I can buy 2 of the Crayola sets with the money it takes to buy your single Cadmium Yellow.
So I guess the moral of the story is that $ doesn’t necessarily equal better. I hope you’ll also try out some unconventional mediums. I’d love to know what you discover!


  1. What an amazing discovery! What are you going to do with the expensive stuff?

  2. Ehehe, I guess I'll just keep them for now... I must have sadly spend about $100 on them already... memebooboo

  3. How about aging of pigments? Do they retail original brilliant color?

  4. Nojima-san, I guess I haven't kept a painting long enough to tell. The longest I've observed is one year. I always seal them with varnish to protect, too. I will have to observe whether the color fades or not. Thanks for reminding me!