I went for a days painting with my mums art class, got chatting to some of the ladies and discovered Pat Southern-Pierce, an urban sketcher, and how she has twisty pen crayons. I promptly started following Pat Southern-Pierce on Instagram and googled what materials she uses (Peter Pauper Studio Watersoluble crayons and the Duke 551 Confucius Fude Fountain pen). After some debate I bought some to try out, and wow.
Texture wise they remind me of oil pastels, but they blend like a dream just using a finger and don’t transfer to badly in a sketch book. The colours are so vivid and vibrant, and go over dark pastel paper well. It may just be me, but I haven’t had much success at getting a smooth watercolour like wash with them, but it is still fun to play with.
I also got a pack of the Faber-Castell ‘gelatos’ which are…. Water-soluble crayons. Just shorter and fatter. They’re not as silky as the Peter Pauper ones, and are more expensive. It’s hard to tell if they have more or less product in them as the packaging is so different. I weighed an individual crayon from each brand and the Faber-Castell are 11g, and then Peter Pauper ones are 12g, but I think that the Peter pauper ones could have a heavier twist up mechanism.
With the Faber-Castell set there’s a leaflet and a brush included. The leaflet has ideas of how to use them, that I found useful. I would’t have thought of stamping or letting them drip down the page like watercolour without it. The brush is very nice if plastic, has firm bristles and keeps a point.
The main difference is the Peter Pauper are smoother, blend better with water and have more of a pen shape to them, which I personally prefer. Both crayons can cap the lid on the end whilst the crayon is in use. The Peter Pauper one doesn’t roll due to the pen lid. If you wanted a bigger range of colours you could supplement the cheaper Peter Pauper set with Faber-Castell, but I find you can mix colours very nicely. The only downside I can see is they’re not refillable, so there’s a lot of rubbish, and you have to buy a full pack I each time as they’re not available individually.
Price: I paid £18.08 for the Faber-Castell set of 12, £1.50 a crayon. Peter Paupers set of 12 was £8.99, and works out neat £0.75 per crayon.
Bottom line: I bought Peter Pauper sets for my students.