Why are crayons associated with kid’s drawings? They’re sticks of color that can be put down on a page. What has that got to do with youth and immature skill?
Marketing, that’s what. Too bad, because they’re really good for anyone who wants to experiment with color and color relationships. If I ever open a restaurant, every customer will be seated at a table covered in white paper and given three crayons. Fill up the whole table with drawings and get a percentage off your bill. Until then (which is really until never, because I’m never opening a restaurant) I’ll have to settle for swiping a crayon from my son and pilfering a kid’s menu to draw on.
Let me tell you why drawing with crayons isn’t just for kids. If you want to get better at seeing how colors work together give yourself one rule and a pack of crayons.
The rule is: Never use just one color in an area.
Single colors are boring. Two or three colors are interesting. Are you coloring red hair? Throw in a touch of orange. Presto! It’s alive! Sure, rules are meant to be broken, but there’s something about crayons that adults do that kids don’t. Kids are all over the map when drawing with crayons–they disregard borders and overlap their efforts into muddy-colored chaos. Adults tend to segment everything into it’s proper place. Blue here. Red here. Yellow inside this area. What predicable bores we are.
The sweet spot is in the middle. Get used to using two colors per area or blending one color into another and that’s when it gets exciting. The rule is actually liberating: it forces you to experiment.
There are two more reasons to use crayons in your sketches.
Crayons are cheap to replace. If you’re sketching and practicing, burn through them. Move! Move! Move! Buy some more to experiment with. The marketing demographic of crayons being children has an upside: They’re inexpensive.
What you learn about color can be applied to other mediums. Every medium has it’s own learning curve, sure. But there are rules of color that apply with paint that you can learn drawing with crayons. If you’re struggling with color, try to get handle on it inexpensively before dropping a wad of cash on a medium that has it’s own learning curve.
Now go draw!