“And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.” Deuteronomy 12:7
I’ve been a potter, fine artist, and crafter for many years, but no matter how many times I do crayon resist, color and light spring off the page in ways I don’t expect. Then I feel a little bit of the joy God must have felt when He spoke the world into being in all its parts.
This is an easy project that yields exciting results with the right materials. Whether you’re creating an illustration, objects for a mobile, or a drawing for the refrigerator, a crayon resist will delight and surprise.
The best part of this technique is the moment you paint over your drawing and see the crayon colors pop. White, as in the flower above, and very light colors, as in the frog, are especially effective, as is a balance of both rough crayon to resist the watercolor and bare smooth paper to absorb it.
How it works: Regular crayons have enough wax in them to make a water-proof textured line to resist watercolor paint applied lightly and only once. (Repeated washing of crayon surfaces with a wet brush will lift the crayon and destroy its resist properties).
You may want to plan the balance of light and dark values in your composition, as well as positive and negative space, or you may just want to plunge in to scribbling and painting. Either way, this is an exciting technique to experiment with. But it has its limits.
The coarse nature of crayons does not lend itself to tiny details. Too many small shapes will get lost in a cacophony of lines. Too many colors lessen the impact.
For a mobile, make your designs very simple: flowers, frogs, leaves, butterflies, and the like. More complex illustrations, such as this one I did for a picture book, require careful planning and a light pencil sketch.
Supplies: Regular crayons (not washable), card stock, watercolor paper, or a copy paper with a high cotton rag content such as Wausau 100% cotton stationery (at Target and other stores), watercolor paint box, paper towel, water cup, and thick, soft brush.
- Draw and color a simplified design on your chosen paper. (Elements of a mobile require heavy card stock). Light crayon delivers extra zing when you add the watercolors. Color hard. Leave some paper blank to absorb the paint.
- Load a soft brush with water and watercolor of any dilution. Experiment with both opaque and transparent color, bright colors, deep colors, and black. The important thing is to commit to whatever you choose, so you don’t scrub off the crayon by changing your mind too many times.
- If your resists are for a mobile, you’ll want to cut out your elements after they dry, flip them over, and repeat steps 1 and 2 on the other side.
- You may want to spray your finished crayon resists with a fixative from a craft store or heavy-hold hair spray from the dollar store.
- When your mobile elements are completely dry, punch a small hole in the top with a hole punch, ice pick, or thick needle and hang with thread or light string. Turn on a fan and watch your dazzling display dance.