More NeoArt Experiments

January 17, 2013

See the post for full details.

121206_NeoartBird1Left: NeoArt experiment on drawing paper. 8 x 10 inches.

After my trip to Wisconsin I was still interested in determining whether or not I wanted to take NeoArt watersouble wax pastels from Caran d'Ache to life drawing with me—for gesture sketching.

I had some discontinued paper I was running through and so I picked up a stick and did a little dry sketching, then I dipped the tip of the stick, which is blunt, in my painting water, and stroked a couple times with the wet stick.

121206_NeoartBird2Right: I used two sticks of color for this quick sketch.

It was a fun experiment. I was working from birds in my mind. I think if I want to make large gesture sketches at life drawing this is something to pursue. As a regular thing in life drawing, however, I probably wouldn't do a lot of it because to work it needs a paper of high enough quality to take some water.

I could use some of that recycled Richeson watercolor paper I got for such a deal last year. We'll see.

If you enjoy sketching with large flowing lines you might enjoy working with NeoArt sticks in this way.

    • Caroline
    • January 17, 2013

    Roz, are these similar to the Derwent Aquatones or Art Bars? I experimented with a cheap Aussie brand until I was sure I loved using them. It was not love at first sight as the learning curve was pretty steep because they are waxy, and at first I did not use enough water to dissolve them properly, which meant not being able to write over the surface or add acrylic or other media. And they did not feel like pencils when sketching. Now they travel everywhere with me in my kit; I break small pieces off, add a couple of water brushes and a small water spray bottle, and I’m good to go.

  1. Reply

    Caroline, No to Aquatones, which are really like watersoluble colored pencils without wood. I’ve never been impressed by them. It has been awhile and I remember them as slow to dissolve and not very saturated at all. (And given the results of lightfastness tests on other watersoluble pencils from Derwent, I’m not hopeful these are much good in that department either.

    Derwent Artbars, on the other hand are a similar product, but completely different at the same time—i.e., I hate them and can’t use them at all. They are harder and stiffer, and they are also very brittle, so that even a little bit of pressure and they break into smaller pieces, which the company in their video touted as a “plus” so you could pick them up and use them like little bits of chalk. Yah, Yah, Yah.

    They are not smooth and blendable in the same way either, being stiffer.

    AND THEY SMELL HORRIBLE TO ME—the Art Bars have some sort of floral-chemical smell that was so horrible I would only work with them for moments at a time and then ultimately gave them to someone else.

    I was thoroughly unhappy with them and would not recommend them to anyone.

    Also, they weren’t as blendable.

    And because I only tested about 5 or 6 of them (not wanting to buy a new set of something that I wouldn’t use I bought my favorite colors out of open stock and tested them) I didn’t do a lightfast test on them. I’m doubtful it’s good news since their other wet products aren’t, and when I try to download a lightfastness ratings pdf from their site my computer gives me a warning about the file so I’m not going to risk allowing it on my computer for bad news.

    I wrote all that in answer to your first question and didn’t see that you were going to write that you enjoy the Derwent Aquatones and Art Bars, so all of that will be meaningless to you.

    I’m glad that you enjoy them, but as you can see from my comments they are not products that I care to use. I find the Neo Color II and Neo Art and of course my beloved (but defunct) Stabilo Alls, all far superior for working capability and fun factor.

    I think, with any art product if you can find a way to use it and you enjoy using it you should go for it, so I’m glad you’ve found you’re way with them.

    But to answer your question is Neo art like the two Derwent products you asked about? No, Neo Arts are better for my way of working and my fun factor.

  2. Reply

    Thanks for this info Roz!I am starting some figure drawing next month and you helped me decide: I am going to get a few of these crayons in basic colors, and work on a larger scale with heavy paper!

  3. Reply

    Ellen, I’m glad this was helpful. I think a couple colors would be a good way to start. Have you checked ou Buchanan’s book on expressive figure drawing?
    I reviewed it in this post
    I think you would find a read through of it helpful before you decide to jump into your project.

    He has a lovely way of using media loosely and expressively. I think it will give you a lot of ideas.

    Let me know how it goes!

    • Caroline
    • January 17, 2013

    Thank you for the detailed reply. Different people like different products; it probably depends on how they use them too. All my colouring-in products get the washing machine test for colourfastness as I use them on fabric, and its surprising what does and doesn’t pass, regardless of the claims of the manufacturers! And yes, I do agree about the smell! Its enough to knock you out on some of them and I am not allergic!
    I also wonder if some of the Derwent products you get are made somewhere different to the Derwent products we get? I just checked the tins I have and they do not all claim to be made in the UK. Most of our Acco products come direct from China, which could account for different experiences with lightfastness.
    I haven’t seen NeoArts over here yet though my local art store stocks most of the Caran d’Ache range.

  4. Reply

    Caroline, the washing machine test you speak of won’t have any bearing on the lightfastness of a product. Only exposure to light will tell you whether or not something is lightfast.

    With a washing machine you’re testing staining capabilities. For instance, most watercolors even of the highest pigment load and quality will fail the washing machine test as watercolors are always watersoluble. But any that don’t aren’t more lightfast than the other colors it simply means that they have greater staining capabilities.

    I don’t know where Derwent is making their products these days, or if they vary their process place to place. I don’t think they would vary it enough to have a huge difference as they wouldn’t want to dilute the brand’s cache.

    NeoArts have been out for several years now, but I don’t remember exactly when they came out. Even if your stores carry the other stuff from Caran d’Ache they might figure there’s no point in carrying another similar product—though it’s supposed to be a fine art product.

    • Catherine Hubbard
    • January 18, 2013

    Roz, I’m sorry to hear that the Stabilo All line is defunct, as I was wanting to try some for figure drawing. Are they different from the Stabilo “colored marking pencil” line? The photo of these at Blick only shows one side, where it is marked “Aquarelle,” and the comments indicate that they can be used on all sorts of surfaces.

    I agree about those Derwent Artbars. Not only are they unpleasant and balky to use, but a very small, unnoticed splash of water dissolves them quickly and makes a total mess. And who knows about the lightfastness? Not worth the effort, IMO.

  5. Reply

    Catherine, the Stabilo Tone which I write about a lot, including this post,
    are large, fat wooden pencils with a watersoluble waxy “lead.” They used to come in at least 60 colors. (I have a set that large though some colors are really worn down.)

    In that post linked or in another about them, because I write about them a lot (use the search engine of my blog to find more about them) I write about the line changing to Stabilo Woody. They are now marketed only to kids and come in 10 or 12 colors (and not the ones I really need). So they aren’t a line that I can recommend.

    They are the most fun to use and the most blendable. And they actually hold up over time as well.

    The link you gave in your question is to the “Stabilo All” and I don’t know why Blick doesn’t call it that, but that’s what the pencil says on it and it’s what people around here call it.

    That pencil is NOT the same as the Stabilo Tone/Woody line.

    I do, however, write about using it as well. I think the first time is here

    It is OK for sketching but it is really just for sketching. You can’t lay down a field of color as thickly and as quickly as with the Tones and the color isn’t as rich and thick.

    If you watch my video from a few days ago about my trip to Wisconsin with the dogs I took the Stabilo Alls for sketching and you can see me using the orange, black, and graphite all dry.
    In fact this link is to that dog sketching post and if you scroll down to the supplies photos, past the brush photo you’ll see a photo with pens and pencils and “crayons” labeled A, B, C, etc. and item E is the Stabilo Tone/Woody (it’s white here) and the 3 pencils at H are Stabilo Alls, which is what you saw in that link you sent.

    Hope that clears things up.
    Thanks for writing.

    • Catherine Hubbard
    • January 19, 2013

    Roz, thank you so much for clarifying the Stabilo drawing pencil world for me!

    BTW, I continue to use that recycled Richeson watercolor paper you recommended some time ago for my life drawing sessions. Wonderful stuff at the price! Works better than any student grade paper I’ve tried.

  6. Reply

    Catherine, glad this helped. And I am also glad you’re enjoying the Richeson recycled watercolor paper. I’ve been using it lately for a couple on-going projects and I’m really loving it. It has some limitations, but overall it’s a very useful paper for a lot of applications.

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