colouring crayon


[krey-on, -uhn]

A crayon is a stick of colored wax, charcoal, chalk, or other materials used for writing and drawing. A crayon made of oiled chalk is called an oil pastel; when made of pigment with a dry binder, it is simply a pastel. A grease pencil or china marker (UK chinagraph pencil) is made of colored hardened grease and is useful for marking on hard, glossy surfaces such as porcelain or glass.

Wax crayons are commonly used for drawing and coloring by children. Crayons are a staple at most schools worldwide. They are easy to work with, not messy (as paint and markers are), blunt (removing the risk of sharp points present when using a pencil or pen), non-toxic, and available in a wide variety of colors.


Europe was the birthplace of the “modern” crayon, a man-made cylinder that resembled contemporary sticks. The first such crayons are purported to have consisted of a mixture of charcoal and oil. Through time, powdered pigments of various hues replaced the charcoal. It was subsequently discovered that substituting wax for the oil in the mixture made the resulting sticks sturdier and easier to handle and to use. Soybean oil can also be used to make crayons, although this is not as common.

The world's largest manufacturer and inventor of wax crayons is Crayola LLC (formerly Binney & Smith Inc.), the manufacturer of Crayola crayons, which are made of paraffin wax, a petroleum product. The brand's first box of eight Crayola crayons made its debut in 1903, and was the first non-toxic crayon, aimed at children. The crayons were sold for a nickel and the colors were: black, brown, blue, red, purple, orange, yellow, and green. The word Crayola was created by Alice Stead Binney, wife of Edwin Binney, who took the French words for chalk, craie, and oily, oléagineux, and combined them. The Crayola Factory is located in Easton, PA.

Other brand name crayon manufacturers include Rose Art Industries and Dixon Ticonderoga. There are also numerous suppliers who create generic brand or store brand crayons.


Some fine arts companies such as Swiss Caran d'Ache manufacture water-soluble crayons. With or without water, once applied to media the crayons' colors are easily mixed.

Oil pastels are a popular medium for color artwork.

Conté crayons of clay and graphite are used for sketching, particularly in the trois crayons style. Antoine Watteau and Jean-François Millet are noted for using conté in their work.

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