Crayons and Color Pencils, and Markers, Oh My!

Before starting an art project, it sometimes gets overwhelming choosing a drawing media to work with. What should I use? Crayons vs Markers. Paint vs Color Pencils. The struggle is real! It may be surprising to learn that most drawing media shares a lot in common with each other. However, there are applications where one may have an advantage. Let’s look at a few of the more common drawing media types out there so that choosing one for your next project is a breeze!


You probably laugh that we start our list with crayons, but the truth is that the term “crayon” is actually a loose term that can cover several different media types! The material doesn’t make a crayon a crayon as you can find crayons made from many different things like colored wax, charcoal, chalk, or even oil based products. What make a crayon is the form it takes. In the case of a crayon that is a sticklike form created by pressing the material together. By pressing the material together crayons tend to be a softer medium which in turn makes it rather forgiving and simple to work with.


– Great for teaching smaller children.

– Relatively inexpensive and can be purchased in most retail stores.

-Easy to store.


-Not super accurate (soft tip hard to make precision lines).

-Do not blend all that well.


Color Pencils:

Are very much like their crayon cousins as the material they care comprised of most commonly are either some type of wax or oil based product mixed with binders and color pigment. Once again, it is because of their form factor where they get their namesake. Emulating wooden writing pencils, the graphite or lead has been swapped out with color pigment. This gives an artist two very important advantages. First, color pencils are less messy since you are holding the wooden case surrounding the pigment. Second, color pencils tend to be harder. This is helpful when you use certain techniques like “layering” or “burnishing” which allows you to really blend colors and create texture to you drawing as you work.


-Great for detail work.

-Not as messy as other media.

-Easy to blend and create texture.


-Require a pencil sharpener and constantly sharpening them.

-Hard to cover large areas.


Color Markers:

Moving away from wax and pigment, color markers use dyes to create their color. They are either water based or oil based. Depending on which, some markers can be permanent. When working with color markers it begins to feel a lot more like working with paint or ink (when printing). Because of this you must be more careful while working with them. Colors can bleed together or run. One mistake and you may have to start all over again!


-Vibrant colors.

-Perfect for both detail work or filling larger areas (depending on tip).


-Cannot blend them without a special marker. If you do, you will ruin the tip of your markers.

-Dry out easily.

-Hard to fix mistakes, particularly when using permanent markers.

Whether you are a new student or a professional artist there is a drawing media that is right for you. Like everything in art, creativity prevails! Try new  media types. Go wild and mix different media types together in your next project and make it your own. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you come up with!

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