Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

Hey everyone! I got to play around with Faber Castell Gelatos and Ranger Distress Crayons so thought I would do a review of them and comparison between the two. 

First up: Distress Crayons. They come in packs of five in lots of different color palettes (I’m using set one). They’re really smooth and creamy and so fun to use! I made a rainbow that could be used as a background to test all the colors. 

Coloring with them is almost like using colored pencils because they don’t really blend together, but layer over each other to make new colors. They don’t smudge after you put them down on paper, which is great if you don’t want them to smudge around (but not great if you want to smudge them to blend them).

If you do want to blend them a bit more, they are water soluble. The water picks up some of the pigment but leaves your original marks behind, they’re like watercolor pencils. 

Of course I had to try to draw some faces with them. Here’s a quick one. I don’t think they’re that good for drawing on their own because they’re so soft that it’s hard to be very accurate with them. But still an interesting look. 

Now, Gelatos! Gelatos come in packs of twelve and include a brush and two blending sponges. They come in metallics, pastels, or brights. I used brights because it was the most comparable to the Distress Crayons I used and also the colors are just so pretty! Here’s my gelato rainbow. 

I think these colors are brighter - I don’t even doubt that a few of them would glow under a blacklight. They blend together and almost create new colors as you use them. If Distress Crayons were like colored pencils in how you have to layer them, these are a lot more like paint or oil pastels. You can use the blending sponges to smudge them together for a really pretty smooth look. Or you can use your finger - I put that in for a comparison to the distress crayons. 

Gelatos are also water soluble. They’re similar to the distress crayons in how they act under water. I tested out some water on the right side here. 

I made a face with Gelatos too. I kind of liked using these better, I like how the colors blend. They’re definitely even harder to draw accurately with because they’re really wide though.

I took some more side by side pictures to show the differences more clearly. Here are a few squares in yellow and pink to show what I meant by how they blended differently:

Here’s both of them with water. I think they’re pretty similar in that aspect.

They both look fantastic on tinted paper too!

I have to say I like the Gelatos better because some of my favorite things to use in my art are bright colors and lots of smooth blending. I think Distress Crayons are also fun to use, and both of them have so many possibilities with how they can be used!

Dead Pen? NO Problem! Try This Mixed Media Technique.


Have you ever heard the phrase, “All I needed to know, I learned in kindergarten”? Actually, there’s a book with a similar title by Robert Fulghum. This post isn’t about his book. However, I do want to share the idea that simple techniques that preschoolers or kindergarteners might use are fun for adults, too!

As a former preschool teacher I can tell you that even when you do a step-by-step technique, each person’s art turns out unique. Do you know why? It’s because we all have an inner artist. We all have our own way of choosing color, making marks, using our hands, etc.

So today, I’d like to invite you to try a simple preschool art technique that I was recently reminded of through Flora Bowley’s online class The Creative Revolution.

It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s meditative, and it’s surprising all at the same time!

Let’s Get Started!

Gather your supplies:

Step 1:

Use oil pastels and fill in an area on your paper.

Step 2:

Use matte black acrylic paint to completely cover what you just colored. (This can feel scary, but hold tight! It will be alright!)

Step 3:

Use a foam brush to spread the paint.

Step 4:

Let dry or use a heat tool to speed up the drying time.

Step 5:

Now that it’s dry, you’re ready for the stencil!

Place the stencil over the dried black paint.

Step 6:

Use a “dead” ballpoint pen to scratch through the stencil and reveal the colorful oil pastel underneath!

Step 7:

When you are done scratching through, remove the stencil and lightly brush off any paint and pastel residue into a garbage can.

Step 8:

Revel in the beauty of your creation!

Ideas to take it further:

  • Cut out your design and put it in your art journal with glue or thread.
  • Create a card for a friend.
  • Cut it up for collage.

Thanks for taking a look at this tutorial. I hope you have fun!


Briana of