Saybrook Marsh, 9x12, crayon on handmade paper, Jan Blencowe, copyright 2011
I always had the big 120 color Crayola set with the sharpener in the back of the box. When I see those boxes in the stores at back to school time they still make me smile.
The good news is that even professional artists can still use crayons. There are several varieties of artist grade crayons out there. This particular piece was done using a Staedtler Karat Aquarell black crayon. These are a beautiful sketching medium, soft, and smooth for fast, expressive marks, and they have the advantage of also being water soluable so you can use a brush and water to get watercolor effects.
This is from the Jerry's Catalog...
Staedtler Karat Watercolor Crayon Set - These 1/4" diameter x 4" long crayons are fun to use in or out of the studio. They are richly pigmented, brilliant and light-fast to conform to the needs of the fine artist. Use on 90lb or heavier sized paper for best results. May be used for quick dry sketching but they really come alive with water. Use by dipping in water and applying to paper, using dry and brushing over to create watercolor washes or any combination.
One other nice thing about these is that when you're done sketching you can take a soft cloth or Viva paper towel and burnish the finish. Gently pressing and rubbing in a circular motion over the surface of the drawing causes a small amount of friction which ever so slightly melts some of the wax the crayon is made out of and softens areas of color and edges and polishes the surface of the drawing to a soft luster. Truly beautiful.
Finally, in areas of heavy build up you can scratch back into the waxy pigment and create fine expressive lines. I did that in the large, dark grassy area on the left, center of the composition.