Neocolor Colour

December 1, 2023 | 8 Comments

I love the Neocolor crayons by Caran d’ache – both Neocolor I and Neocolor II (watersoluble). In the past few weeks, I got my little set of Neocolor II out again and I’ve been having fun playing with them.

They are perfect for loose mark-making and I’m really enjoying the challenge of working with their opacity.

In this particular sketch of the Observer Hotel in The Rocks (done as part of my homework for Lesson 3 of my Buildings course) I decided to use the Neocolors throughout. I then added a little bit of water and some grey watercolour wash over the top.

Here are a few progress photos.


For the record, I’m totally in love with the pastel hues and how creamy they are!


  • Elisabeth Palmqvist says:

    Its nice how you show the different steps. You make it look easy. Gives me inspiration for trying to develop my skills when the light return where I live (Sweden).

  • I added Neocolor II water-soluble pastels to my arsenal perhaps five or six years ago, and I have never regretted my decision to do so. They really are considerably versatile tools for both drawing and painting. I’ve used them fairly extensively in my commercial work doing editorial cartoons. Like watercolor wash, they pair very well with pens and permanent marker lines. unlike watercolor, you can get both translucent and relatively opaque patches of pigment, depending on how far down you thin the color. I strongly recommend using a stiffer flat brush than might typically be used with watercolor though. i’ve been known to do some plein air painting with these also, although they are definitely less convenient in the field than they are on the sideboard of a drawing table. They are fantastic in a sketchbook, especially with paper that doesn’t absorb water much. I love to let it pool around a bit in slowly drying spots of water. As pointed out in the article, they pair nicely with watercolor as well… Although my approach is to lay down the watercolor first, allow it to dry completely, and then go back over the dried watercolor with Opaque strokes of color. Most recently, I’ve made some small acrylic paintings, and then gone back over solid blocks of dried color with variegated strokes of pastel, and I’m happy with how that works out.

    • Jael Thompson says:

      Thank you for explaining your process for using the Neocolors in your practice! This was interesting and I am looking forward to exploring ways of incorporating them into mine.

  • Patricia A Wafer says:

    When I first got a small set I liked them but there was a stupid little voice in my head that said “these are just for kids and not for grown up artists”. Then I saw a documentary about David Hockney and he was using them and thought they were great especially that they were watersoluble. So much for the idea that they were NOT for serious artists!! I hope I have become much more open minded about what materials I can use to draw and paint with. I have a couple large sketchbooks of plein air sketches where I drew with a Pentel Pocket Brushpen and used the crayons for color and those are some of my favorite sketches. I even framed a couple of them. They are pricey but I gradually bought individual sticks and now have a big box. I have even made monoprints with them using plexiglass and transfer medium printed onto damp paper. I love the way Liz uses them in her sketches. And Neocolor I crayons are great for making a resist for watercolor painting.

    • Ginie Udy says:

      Thanks for this reminder about the non water soluble Neocolour crayons Pat, and their use. And for sharing your use of them. Congratulations on producing such lovely work with them! I’d love to see them. Do you share them publicly?

  • Ginie Udy says:

    Love this sketch Liz. I’m sorry to be missing the Buildings course content at the moment, but I’m pausing my participation while I work on my Christmas sea glass art projects. I’m looking forward to doing some catch up in January. So it was nice to see how things are going with the course. Thank you for sharing that.

    I’ve just recently bought a Neocolour II blue (Sky Blue 141), yellow (Sahara Yellow 521) and red (Vermiion 060) and love the creaminess too, and the texture possibilities. I’m wondering what would be my next colour purchases. What colours are these you’ve used Liz?

  • Jamie C says:

    Oh! Such great detail! I’ve always thought I couldn’t get much detail with Neocolor, and this shows you really can!

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