Hi there!

I'm Eni Oken, artist and author of hundreds of articles, tutorials and books in print and online. For over 30 years I've explored art, color theory, fantasy and ornamental design.

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Midnight testing

Midnight testing

Another sleepless night. And when I mean sleepless, I mean ZERO hours of sleep, totally awake! After a couple of hours of tossing and turning I decided to give up and tangle. That was a bit of a mistake -- but it proved to me that Zentangle is not just mindless doodling, it requires focus and mindfulness -- impossible when you're so tired.

Eni Oken CZT • enioken.com

Couldn't focus, couldn't think. Got stuck on this. Ok, let's not put the tile to waste, chalk this one to the testing pile then! 

Pulled out my beloved and very neglected Caran D'Ache Neocolor II crayons, which are somewhat of a miracle of technology, they feel like crayons but dissolve in pure water producing the most beautiful vibrant watercolor effects. 

Eni Oken CZT • enioken.com

One way I like to play with these is to scribble a little on palette paper, then use a plain brush with water to paint it as watercolors. 

Eni Oken CZT • enioken.com

A long long time ago, seems like another lifetime, I was madly in love with these crayons and used them to create fabulously vibrant abstract pictures. 

Eni Oken CZT • enioken.com

At a large scale, you can apply the crayons directly on to the paper and then paint with water to blend in the colors:

Eni Oken CZT • enioken.com

Well, this measures 17x24, huge compared to the little 3.5inch tiles. Could I get the Neocolors to work? My concern was with the whites: in typical watercolors painting, you never get whites that are so bright as when you leave the paper untouched. However, the scale of the drawing would make it very time consuming to keep those highlight areas super white.

Here's a test with the top tangled portion leaving the white paper intact, painting only the darks and mediums values. 

Eni Oken CZT • enioken.com

The bottom tangled portion received an overall wash and the whites were created with white pencil and white gel pen after the watercolors were dry:

Eni Oken CZT • enioken.com

See how the whites are not as bright? It confirms what I already suspected, whites will never be as white as pure paper, unless you use a white acrylic paint. And still, at this scale, it's impossible to control the highlights and keep the line-art clean. 

And yet, the colors of the Neocolor crayons turned as vibrant and beautiful as I remembered, I must play with them more! They stay relatively fixed in place once dry and accept graphite and markers well. The only drawback is that they leave some residue on the paper, so tangling with black ink must be done BEFOREHAND. Other than that, they are always a joy to work with. 

You can get a basic set of Neocolor II crayons at Amazon here:

Copyright 2017 Eni Oken

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