Crayon Comparisons

You may recognize Crayola as the go-to brand for art supplies in general, but when you're on a budget, you could find yourself at the 99 Cent store, hoping to save a few dollars. Let me save you some time! I've purchased different brands of crayons and put them to the test for you. Here are my field notes for which brand is best and why.

crayon comparison rating

Crayola

The number one brand for a reason. Bold colors, not very breakable, and you get a great variety of colors in their 24 packs. These will last a long time, even if they're broken or the paper peels off toward the middle of the school year. As you color, the crumbs, or as I call it, "fallout" is minimal. Each crayon has a color name printed on the paper in English, Spanish, and French. A+

Bazic

These crayons are truly horrible. I'm serious. Two of the six that I used to color the rainbow above broke with only a little pressure. The fallout is really bad too; I had to sweep the crumbs out of the way several times. The paper wrappers don't have color names on them, so it's hard to distinguish between shades of blue, purple, and black. These crayons won't last long, I promise you. D-

Cra-Z-art

Not bad for dollar store crayons! Bold colors, not much fallout when coloring, and each crayon has a fun color name printed on the paper like bubble gum, molten lava, and berries 'n' cream in addition to the usual red and blue. B+

Playskool

This is a name you can trust when it comes to toys and other kids' things, but not for crayons. The colors are the opposite of bold, they're very crumby, and are super waxy. Coloring with crayons should be smooth, but these just feel cheap. C-

Imperial

The colors of these crayons are very faint; they hardly show up at all. They break easily, they don't have color names printed on the paper, and you can't truly tell which color you're working with by looking at them. I actually mistook the purple for brown! Very crumby, very waxy, and not smooth at all. D-

So there you have it! Each crayon brand graded so you know what to expect. The clear winner in this test is Crayola, with Cra-Z-art in second place. I actually don't recommend any of the others unless you plan to melt them or make a sculpture out of them. Your students will thank you and your crayons will last you a lot longer if you just pay the extra dollar or two. Remember, teachers get discounts at craft stores and there's always a 40% off coupon at Michael's if you just search on your phone. Keep your eyes open for Crayola specific sales too!

Learning Value in Art Making

Value is one of the 7 elements of art. Essentially, it's making light and dark with varying values in-between. Think about black, white, and lots of different grays.

Each student will need:

  • Writing pencil
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • Value Practice Sheet

Students as young as Kindergarten can see and feel darks + lights when making art. They push down more (but not so much that they break the pencil) to make their marks darker and less (like "whisper" coloring) to make them lighter. When I discuss darks + lights with my kindergarteners, I use a deep voice when talking about coloring dark, and a teeny high voice when talking about coloring lightly.

In this exercise, they start with a simple 3-part scale, coloring the left one super dark, then the right one super light, and just medium in the middle. This is a good warm-up to feel how hard or how soft to press their pencils. Then they do a 5-part scale with more grays in the middle.

I tell them to do dark and light before coloring the grays in the middle because their brains can fill in the blanks more easily when the parameters are set in place.

Students practice on a scale to get used to pressing down a lot or just a little.

Students practice on a scale to get used to pressing down a lot or just a little.

Students color dark to light on the first two scales with their regular pencils, then choose two colors to do two more scales at the bottom.

Students color dark to light on the first two scales with their regular pencils, then choose two colors to do two more scales at the bottom.

Make it fun by giving them clipboards and sitting around the classroom.

Make it fun by giving them clipboards and sitting around the classroom.

Now students can use their shading skills to make a realistic picture. Notice that the lighter side of the house is closer to the sun and the shadow is farther away from it.

value-shading-house.jpg

Print the image below for your own Value Practice Sheet!

Value Charts Practice Sheet.jpg