Review: Sargent Watercolor Crayons

I'm a huge fan of watercolor crayons I've tried a number of brands but keep coming back to Caran D'Ache. Why? They are creamy, loaded with pigment, and move with water excellently. They are however pretty pricey at just over $1 a crayon that can add up. When I saw the Sargent Watercolor Crayons I wanted a pack immediately. I couldn't decide between the 8 or the 12 pack. Eventually I went with the 8 pack. They were reasonably priced at $6.67* at Artist & Craftsman.
IMAG1211They are in a cardboard matchbox sliding box. No fancy tin here. You'll haveto excuse the paint that I got on the box, I had to use them to review them, and that included doing some of my usual watercolor crayon techniques.

The crayons themselves at first are a little stiff, I think the outer layer of crayon has dried out a tad. Once I used them for a few minutes and wore off the outer layer these crayons perform really well. I was really really surprised at how well they performed for inexpensive watercolor crayons. After the initial dried layer the crayons goes onto the page smoothly and looks like any crayon. The color is nice and deep so long as you put enough crayon on the page. The darkness of color can be controlled by how much crayon you lay down on the page. Color lightly- get light color; color heavily and get dark color.
IMAG1214These really surprised me in how well they lifted and moved around with water and a brush. They really needed very little water and brushing to move around well and blend with one another. Really really impressed with their ability to move once wet. Unlike the Staedtler watercolor crayons these moved while wet like Caran D'Ache.
IMAG1210I'm very impressed with this realtive newcomer to the watercolor crayon market. They perform really well for any art journaling need and are signifcantly less expensive than  the Caran D'Ache. Are these archival and lightfast? Probably not. I've not yet tested them. But like any student watercolor it's not likely. They do match the Sargent Watercolor magic liquid watercolors. So color-wise they match, allowing easy mixing across materials.

While I didn't purchase the 12-pack with a "free" brush I did look at the brush, flopping around loose in the cardboard box… It didn't look like it was a very high quality brush, but it would be useful for washes. It certainly looked like whatever point may have been on the brush was long gone. I don't know why manufacturers that include a "free" brush in a box of something haven't learned to put a small dab of rubbery glue to hold the brush in place to prevent damage. Common sense might cost the manufacturer some money.

A new addition to my review will be looking at the material's potential for use in my future art therapy practice, I'll keep it at the bottom of my reviews so people who aren't interested can ignore it, and those who are can find it easily. These watercolor crayons could be used with children or adults with success. They work as well as the "big" brand but at a much lower cost. Meaning, they can be purchased in a plentiful quantity that the client will never feel they are running out of materials and lending a sense of freedom to their use. If giving a client a new box is important, that can be done because the cost of these crayons is low. The crayons are non-toxic. There is, of course, the typical concern that one might have when giving "children's" supplies to adults.

*I checked Amazon and their prices are really high, any vendors have $4.99 shipping on a $4.50 item. The 12 count pack is cheaper on Amazon than at A&C. The price at the online A&C store is lower than what I paid in store. Which is unusual for them. However Amazon does have classroom packs of the Sargent Watercolor crayons at a reasonable price. Blick has the best price on the 8 and 12 packs.

  • SusanJane

    I had no budget when I was doing my art therapy but my local art (not craft) store sold Caran D’Ache individually. I was able to buy my favorite colors a few at a time which worked really well for limited color mandalas. I’m with you about water color crayons — there is something really cool about the process of dry to wet. I do love the super saturated colors that pop like crazy when the water hits them even without blending. I don’t get the same thrill with something like markers or colored pencils.

  • SusanJane

    One comment about water color paper, though. I do not like water color crayons on anything but good paper. Dick Blick has Daler-Rowney Langton Prestige Watercolor Blocks 10×7 for $8.95 which I haven’t used. Once a year my local art store puts Arches blocks on 50% off so I stock up. Our Michaels sometimes carries them so a 40% coupon gets a good deal, too. I use both hot and cold press, but not rough. Blocks are portable, self-supported, and don’t buckle. I do really wet collage on them, too.

  • I’ve got a large amount of Caran D’ache that I’ve built up over the years. A&C sells them in the singles. I like to try out new materials to see how they work and give myself alternatives for studio use.

  • I like ’em anywhere and everywhere on all kinds of paper.

  • Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a superb article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never manage to get anything done.