Using Caran d'Arche Neocolor II pastels

Caran d’Arche Neocolor II water soluble wax pastels

I’ve been asked a few times to explain what these wax pastels are that I’ve been using lately.  They are Caran d’Arche Neocolor II water soluble wax pastels, also called Aquarelle Artist Pastels.  Now, be sure that you’re buying Neocolor II and not I– Neocolor I pastels are water resistant.  they still do very cool things but under different circumstances and with different media.  I’ve been using the NII pastels in mixed media pieces, mostly with casein and acrylic paint.  
In the images above, I simply scribbled some NII into the areas that I wanted to use as a thin paint. The pigment in the pastel is so concentrated that it really works well either on its own or blended into other paint.  If you’re working on top of casein, the water will reactivate the paint and your colors will blend.  If you are working on top of acrylic, as I am here, then you will make semi-transparent layers of paint on top of your color.  Use it on its own for a nice underlayer of color.

You can also lay down some paint and, while it’s wet, use the NII to scratch into the paint to reveal the colors underneath. Vary the heaviness of  your hand to reveal deeper layers.  Things get interesting when the color from your NII is left behind in your marks.  If you want to increase the likelihood of this happening, wet your NII before drawing. 
I like to paint/draw/paintover/draw/paintover/draw/paintover … until I feel like it’s done.  This is the beginning of a small painting I’m working on but thought it was ok enough to share for purposes of explaining the Neocolor II pastels.  
It’s hard for me to pass up a colorful art supply I come across– I’m glad that I picked these up to experiment with!

The Chicken Chick

5 thoughts on “Using Caran d'Arche Neocolor II pastels

  1. Interesting textures, Jamie. What is the material you're working on – paper, canvas or wood?Thanks for the tips, it's always great to see examples in progress!


  2. This one is on Arches cream watercolor paper mounted on a cradled wood panel. I've also worked directly on the wood panel and that works well, too, but tends to scrape down to the surface quicker. The paper usually give you a little extra depth because of the softness. I haven't likes how they work on canvas at all, I wouldn't recommend using the two together.And I totally changes this painting last night in the studio. It's fun to attack it and see it turn into something completely different!


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