Tim Holtz Distress Crayons: A Review

April 22, 2016


Above: Test page and notes on this product.

Earlier this month I posted about sketching with “Distress Crayons” from Tim Holtz. You can see that first post here.


Today I’ve posted two other trial pages, both from a Fabriano Venezia journal which takes wet media.

I have comments about using the medium on both pages and you can click on the pages and read my notes. The product is advertised as "pigmented" and you can view various YouTube Video demonstrations if you Google the product. I'm not interested in pursuing it further.

I looked into these crayons because I’ve been looking for ways to created stenciled background color on my journal pages and in my paintings. I’m having difficulty getting rubber-stamp ink that is not perfumed or does not have a chemical odor, and does all that I need it to do.

I had hoped that distress crayons might fill this “void.” But it’s not to be.

You’ll also see at one point that I say the odor is not overpowering. However, after additional use of this material I found that I can last an hour with it and the smell is too great for me. (Most of my friends do not find it bothersome.)

Overall I find the wet color this material produces is on the “wimpy” end of the spectrum for my use. I also find that the undissolved line of color will remain smudge-able indefinitely. Overall it isn’t a product that I can use as I had hoped, and I find that there are similar products (like NeoColor II) which are much richer and more useful over a range of techniques.

I will continue to use these only for life drawing gesture sketches.

Below: Another test page with additional comments. Please note that I can only work for one hour with this product before the odor gives me a headache.


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