Slip Sliding Away—Distress Crayons

April 11, 2016


Above: Quick sketch of Dick to test Distress Crayons—read more below.

I know some of you can’t absorb another “eyebrow” update, but hey, I deal with them every day!

Besides, now that we don’t have any pups and Gert is disintegrating (a rubber wasting disease of some sort I suppose) Dick is the most readily available live model for testing art materials and paper.

I’ve been looking for something that I can use to keep texture alive in my sketches. (Much more on this after IFJM is over and I can wrap my head around the recent death of essential products.)

Who knows how we end up getting to things on YouTube anyway, it’s not like research in a library back when we were allowed in the stacks and you found things near other things and there was always, literally a paper trail and a Ariadne string of logic to find your way back in and out again—but some how I found my way to a demo tape of Tim Holtz using Distress Crayons.

(I don’t know if that’s the video I first saw, as there are several, but it will give you the idea.)

I decided that they might fill the gap (they didn’t and I’ll explain that in another post), so I ordered some up to test.

I’ve only done a few tests of these “water reactive pigment sticks” contained in a thin pen. Because of that, and the fact that I need to do more tests I won’t be writing a review today. But I had to share with you something that happened while testing these.

The product is already soft, like a lipstick. When I started drawing the sketch shown here, starting at the eye as I usually do, and then moving around to build up the face, the line was more broken. But I was sketching at my usual fast speed and by the time I got down to the lower part of the face the friction of the quick movement across the paper caused the crayon to soften even more. The tip slid along the surface of the slightly toothy paper as if I were drawing on warm glass.

I started to giggle it was so noticeable and so funny. I know I sketch quickly, but now I can say I sketch blazingly fast.

I’m glad I was almost finished because after that it was hard for either of us to focus.

Heads up: I doubt, for reasons I’ll share in a later review, that these will be a permanent tool for my toolbox because they do have a slight chemical smell, not bothersome to Dick and a couple of my friends, but which is very noticeable to me. There’s also the continuous smudge factor. Even days layer you can still smudge them. 

For me these will be something to take to life drawing as they are perfect for quick contour drawings like the one in this post, or gesture sketches.


    • Miss T
    • April 11, 2016

    Roz, I haven’t tried these yet, but my first reaction is that I wish they weren’t housed in plastic!

    • Miss T
    • April 12, 2016

    Thanks, Roz. I’ll check them out next time I’m at WP!

  1. Reply

    Miss T, call them first I don’t think they have them at WP. I was on line, and stumbled on to them and got them through Amazon, since I was already online and knew I would not be able to go anywhere (because of Eldercare issues) for the next 4 days.

    You might also call any store that sells scrapbooking supplies. Joannes and Michaels have other Tim Holtz stuff esp. Michaels so that might be a good place to test one.

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