The Ultimate Guide to Water-Soluble Coloring Tools: Gelatos vs. Distress Crayons vs. Water-Soluble Oil Pastels + Trés Chic Canvas Project

Trés Chic Canvas Project

The latest trend in adult coloring has to be water-soluble coloring tools. Gelatos, Distress Crayons, and Prima Marketing’s Oil Pastels all blend with water and promise smooth, creamy color — but which of these really deliver?

Supplies:

For Trés Chic Canvas You’ll Also Need:

Here’s a page by Madeleine Sibthorpe from The Coloring Studio, which is colored using all three of the water-soluble coloring tools:

The Ultimate Guide to Water-Soluble Coloring Tools

The Results

 

Water-Soluble Oil Pastels

Prima Marketing Water-Soluble Oil Pastels

These oil pastels were extra-soft and very easy to work with. They can be used as a regular oil pastel, or you can mix them with water to create watercolor effects. I used the oil pastels on her hair, skin, and shoes.

Wet Blend= I used the wet blend technique on both the hair and skin with very different effects. The skin is a solid color, and I blended it thoroughly to create a nice peachy complexion. To achieve this, I used very light pressure while coloring her face and used the broad side of the pastel, rather than the tip. This made it easy to blend without leaving stroke marks.

For her hair, I did the opposite. I used hard pressure and made random strokes in 4 different colors to create a very dimensional look to her hair (see Before and After images below for more details). When blending, I used very little pressure with the brush and didn’t overdo it. I used just enough water to make the colors bleed into each other, and barely passed over them with the brush, but leaved most of the strokes intact.

Dry Blend= A dry blend for these pastels doesn’t even really require blending. For her shoes and buttons, I just drew them in and made sure that I used enough pressure to create opaque color. If you are adding details without wet blending, I recommend finishing all your wet blended areas first and letting them dry completely to avoid bleeding the dry colors.

 

Distress Crayons

Distress Crayons by Tim Holtz

Distress Crayons have a much waxier texture than gelatos or water-soluble oil pastels. I also noticed that they leave darker and lighter areas when coloring with them. They are great for mixed-media because they adhere well to all surfaces, but in coloring, I would always recommend blending them with  water to get a smoother color.

Wet Blend= The finished result of the wet blend is still a little bit uneven, but it has a luxuriously matte finish that looks soft and is textured to perfection. Distress Crayons take slightly more time to dissolve, so a few extra strokes with the brush were necessary to get a smooth appearance.

Dry Blend= More is more with Distress Crayons. In order to get a smooth color when blending with just a blending tool or makeup sponge, you will need to make sure that you have enough pigment to work with. Color thoroughly, then blend away the excess to get a smooth texture. At the end of the process, I could still see some stroke marks, so I also used a smudger tool to get into the teeny, tiny nooks and crannies of this coloring page.

 

Gelatos

Faber-Castell Gelatos

Gelatos are great for covering a large area of a coloring page and work excellently with either a wet or dry blend.

Wet Blend= Gelatos blend easily with water and look just like watercolor when finished. If you want to avoid all strokes or unevenness, you can even use a waterbrush to pick up color from the end of a gelatos stick and transfer it to the page just like watercolors.

Dry Blend= Gelatos is definitely the winner when comparing dry blends. They smooth out easily with a blending tool and create a nice, smooth finish. Gelatos were the only tool that truly could be blended without water to create even color.

 

I think the biggest surprise of this little experiment is that all three needed blending in order to look “finished.” Below is the below and after images to prove this. The pre-blended image shows a lot of strokes and plenty of white space in between each line. However, Faber-Castell Gelatos, Tim Holtz Distress Crayons, and Prima Marketing’s Oil Pastels all responded well to water and blended smooth with just a brush or blending tool.

The most impressive result was the hair on this piece. You can see that the random streaks of color that look very haphazardly done in the before picture ended up looking very polished and dimensional when blended lightly with water.

Before and After Blending Pictures

 

Trés Chic Canvas Project

Trés Chic Canvas Project

  1. Attach a piece of patterned paper to a canvas or wood substrate with gel medium.
  2. Using a plastic palette, scribble olive green Distress Crayon, then blend with water until it is the consistency of a watercolor. Brush over entire patterned paper, adding more color to the palette as needed to create a soft green.
  3. Cut out girl from The Coloring Studio and adhere to the canvas with gel medium.
  4. Hand-letter “Tres Chic” on a patterned paper scrap with Tombow Brush Markers. The amazing hand-lettering in this project is courtesy of Wile’e Malia Gillespie.
    Hand-Lettering on Trés Chic Canvas Project
  5. Adhere sentiment to corner of the canvas and add a few strokes of the Distress Crayons to give it a mixed-media style border.

What are Your Favorite Color Tools to Use? Leave a Comment Below!

Related Posts:


Posted: Friday, August 26th, 2016 @ 11:51 am
Categories: Adult Coloring Trend, How-To Project Tutorials.
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5 Responses to “The Ultimate Guide to Water-Soluble Coloring Tools: Gelatos vs. Distress Crayons vs. Water-Soluble Oil Pastels + Trés Chic Canvas Project”

  1. Erna Taylor-Stark says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. I use the Prima Oil Pastels with a small round (#4) brush. I wet the brush and then brush it on the pastel. I really like the result. It is smooth and looks very good, even with skin colour. I am still not used to the Distress Crayons, so I have to practise. Never used Gelatos.

  2. Susan Klein says:

    I love, love, love gelatos! I first learned about them at a stamp and scrapbook conference. They are so versatile since they are water reactive. I use them on canvas, papers, just about anything! Very smooth finish and easy to blend/manipulate. Color them on an acrylic block, spritz with water, and press onto any surface for a fun water color look!

  3. Dolly Grice says:

    I love both the Gelatos and the Distress Crayons. I get a better result when blending if I have coated my surface in gesso and let it dry. I made a wonderful little art journal by coloring the pages in 2 or 3 different Gelatos and then scrubbing them with a brush dipped in white gesso. It gave a beautiful tint to my gesso. It took a while to do all the pages as they needed to dry before I could move to the next page. Now I have colorful backgrounds in the journal to inspire my artwork.

  4. Naomi Shelton says:

    Hi. I am a photographer but have recently been thinking about trying to do some collage and drawing. I have been trying to become familiar with all the tools and products used for these art forms. So your tutorial was very informative and useful for becoming familiar with different mediums. Thank you.

  5. Sharon Gullikson says:

    Funny, I was just wondering about how Gelatos and Distress crayons are different. THANKS.

Leave a Reply

Sarah Adult Coloring TrendHow-To Project Tutorials ,,,,,,,,,,,

Trés Chic Canvas Project

The latest trend in adult coloring has to be water-soluble coloring tools. Gelatos, Distress Crayons, and Prima Marketing’s Oil Pastels all blend with water and promise smooth, creamy color — but which of these really deliver?

Supplies:

For Trés Chic Canvas You’ll Also Need:

Here’s a page by Madeleine Sibthorpe from The Coloring Studio, which is colored using all three of the water-soluble coloring tools:

The Ultimate Guide to Water-Soluble Coloring Tools

The Results

 

Water-Soluble Oil Pastels

Prima Marketing Water-Soluble Oil Pastels

These oil pastels were extra-soft and very easy to work with. They can be used as a regular oil pastel, or you can mix them with water to create watercolor effects. I used the oil pastels on her hair, skin, and shoes.

Wet Blend= I used the wet blend technique on both the hair and skin with very different effects. The skin is a solid color, and I blended it thoroughly to create a nice peachy complexion. To achieve this, I used very light pressure while coloring her face and used the broad side of the pastel, rather than the tip. This made it easy to blend without leaving stroke marks.

For her hair, I did the opposite. I used hard pressure and made random strokes in 4 different colors to create a very dimensional look to her hair (see Before and After images below for more details). When blending, I used very little pressure with the brush and didn’t overdo it. I used just enough water to make the colors bleed into each other, and barely passed over them with the brush, but leaved most of the strokes intact.

Dry Blend= A dry blend for these pastels doesn’t even really require blending. For her shoes and buttons, I just drew them in and made sure that I used enough pressure to create opaque color. If you are adding details without wet blending, I recommend finishing all your wet blended areas first and letting them dry completely to avoid bleeding the dry colors.

 

Distress Crayons

Distress Crayons by Tim Holtz

Distress Crayons have a much waxier texture than gelatos or water-soluble oil pastels. I also noticed that they leave darker and lighter areas when coloring with them. They are great for mixed-media because they adhere well to all surfaces, but in coloring, I would always recommend blending them with  water to get a smoother color.

Wet Blend= The finished result of the wet blend is still a little bit uneven, but it has a luxuriously matte finish that looks soft and is textured to perfection. Distress Crayons take slightly more time to dissolve, so a few extra strokes with the brush were necessary to get a smooth appearance.

Dry Blend= More is more with Distress Crayons. In order to get a smooth color when blending with just a blending tool or makeup sponge, you will need to make sure that you have enough pigment to work with. Color thoroughly, then blend away the excess to get a smooth texture. At the end of the process, I could still see some stroke marks, so I also used a smudger tool to get into the teeny, tiny nooks and crannies of this coloring page.

 

Gelatos

Faber-Castell Gelatos

Gelatos are great for covering a large area of a coloring page and work excellently with either a wet or dry blend.

Wet Blend= Gelatos blend easily with water and look just like watercolor when finished. If you want to avoid all strokes or unevenness, you can even use a waterbrush to pick up color from the end of a gelatos stick and transfer it to the page just like watercolors.

Dry Blend= Gelatos is definitely the winner when comparing dry blends. They smooth out easily with a blending tool and create a nice, smooth finish. Gelatos were the only tool that truly could be blended without water to create even color.

 

I think the biggest surprise of this little experiment is that all three needed blending in order to look “finished.” Below is the below and after images to prove this. The pre-blended image shows a lot of strokes and plenty of white space in between each line. However, Faber-Castell Gelatos, Tim Holtz Distress Crayons, and Prima Marketing’s Oil Pastels all responded well to water and blended smooth with just a brush or blending tool.

The most impressive result was the hair on this piece. You can see that the random streaks of color that look very haphazardly done in the before picture ended up looking very polished and dimensional when blended lightly with water.

Before and After Blending Pictures

 

Trés Chic Canvas Project

Trés Chic Canvas Project

  1. Attach a piece of patterned paper to a canvas or wood substrate with gel medium.
  2. Using a plastic palette, scribble olive green Distress Crayon, then blend with water until it is the consistency of a watercolor. Brush over entire patterned paper, adding more color to the palette as needed to create a soft green.
  3. Cut out girl from The Coloring Studio and adhere to the canvas with gel medium.
  4. Hand-letter “Tres Chic” on a patterned paper scrap with Tombow Brush Markers. The amazing hand-lettering in this project is courtesy of Wile’e Malia Gillespie.
    Hand-Lettering on Trés Chic Canvas Project
  5. Adhere sentiment to corner of the canvas and add a few strokes of the Distress Crayons to give it a mixed-media style border.

What are Your Favorite Color Tools to Use? Leave a Comment Below!

Related Posts: