There's Plenty of Room in This Great Big Wonderful Box For All The Crayons

Let’s face it though, some of them just ain’t pulling their weight.

Cerulean? P’ugh. And the same for it’s insipid twin cornflower.

The sienna brothers, raw and burnt? Feh. They’re brown, brown I say!

Scarlet? As a fever, pretty scary. As a color? Not so much goodly.

Goldenrod? Earwax. Goldenrod sounds better, but it’s still earwax.

Spring green? A pastey imitation of green yellow. Green yellow itself is highly suspect.

You need some colors. The primaries, of course. The wellspring of all crayons: red, yellow and blue. The bedrock, the solid foundation of all colors. Then there are the secondaries. Not as fundamental as the primaries (by definition), but no self-respecting crayon box would be caught dead without orange, green and purple.

Black is important. How could you draw a bear in its cave at night eating an unwary camper without black. Black, the backbone of all crayon based art. You need it for outlines if nothing else.

A good brown is essential. No wussy brown like hazelnut or mocha. If the name of a color is also a Beverage of the Week at a local coffeehouse, you just can’t respect it as a crayon.

That’s the basics. A good set of crayons has red, blue, yellow, orange, green, purple, black and brown. Then they throw in white. How useless is white as a crayon? If you’re coloring on white paper, it’s useless. If you’re coloring on colored paper, the white won’t go down thick enough to cover. It must just be cheap to make. That’s all I can figure.

Now you really want some good colors? You need the big box. The box with the flip top and the sharpener on the back. Crayon Nervana. Yeah, you get lame-assed colors like cadet blue, but you also get

red orange

the pinacle of all crayon hues. The epitome of the marriage of wax and pigment. This is the color all other colors want to be. Heck, they should get rid of some of the more questionable colors and give you two… nay, three red oranges. That would be sweet.

But some yob would sustitute orange red. “Oh, the kids won’t know. It’s all the same to them.” Bastards. The kids will know. They’ll know they’ve been cheated, they’ve been shafted. Orange red is an abomination. An affront to the sublime beauty that is red orange.

Crayola® red orange. Accept no substitute.

Don’t get me started on Prang®.

Apparently, crayons have personality. Red orange is warm, sociable, good-natured, jovial and glowing. If red orange were a person, I might like to be its friend.

But red means “Stop!”. It’s a pushy colour. If we were friends it might try to push me around, forever telling me to “Stop!”. I wouldn’t stand for that.


My favorite was always a green-grey-blue kinda blue. I had to get a new box of crayons as soon as that crayon was gone, and the big bummer for mom was that it was only included in the big boxes. Mom wanted to write Crayola and see if she could just buy that single crayon. She never did, and I ended up with a dozen or so almost complete boxes…

Ya’ll forgot the evil (EVIL, I tells ya!!) that is lime green.

And don’t give me that “you need it to draw grass” nonsense. Lime green is the work of Satan (and not on one of his good days, either).

Am I the only kid that loved the turquoise/aqua colours? I could stare at those for ages (the Doper who meditates on crayoned paper -speaks volumes, no?).

I like red. I don’t think it means “stop” - I prefer to think it indicates red-hot and rarin’ to go! Yep, red’s my color. In fact, at this very moment, I’m wearing… well, mostly blue, but there’s some red embroidery on the front of my shirt. And my ID card lanyard is red. And the mosquito bite on my leg is kinda red.

I picture Rue as a mellow, green kinda guy - soothing, easy on the eyes, one with nature… maybe a bluish green. Then again, I might be confusing this with his Thanksgiving thread… that diaper comment kinda stuck with me…

I think I’m gonna go now.


You claim to be a guy. A male. A manly-man.

And you, with the BIG BOX o’ crayons choose “red-orange”?

< snort >

Red-orange is just one small step away from cornflower blue in terms of hairy-chestedness

REAL men, when given the BIG BOX, choose the metallic colors: Silver, Gold and Copper.

While red orange is good for drawing flames and stuff, you can’t draw giant robot alien-invader spiders being attacked by F-15s without the metallic colors. C’mon Rue…I know you’re a good guy. Step back from the brink and think about what you’ve been saying!

There are impressionable children reading your stuff. Think of the responsibility you have!


Silver, gold and copper? Yeah they look good in the box. All glittery and inviting.

Once they hit the paper, though. A completely different story. Grey, yellowy and red brown. Yeah, these are some hot colors.

Somehow I thnk Fenris is overcompensating for his affection for puce (quite similar to copper). Maybe taupe.
-Rue. (the impudent foole)
Puddin’? “Red orange is warm, sociable, good-natured, jovial and glowing.” That’s me all over, bay-bee.

Well, you gotta have pink. I mean, for your daughters, that’s the ticket. Yep, that’s what I meant.

Actually, my favorite name was always raw umber. Do they still make that one? I hope so. I’m not even sure what color it is, but it just sounds cool. I always suspected that Dungeons & Dragons threw in Umber Hulks just as a nod to the Crayola people.

Look, you rude intolerant buffoon. Let’s say you’re a third grader in East Podunkeroo, Nebraska. For your social studies project, you’re supposed to draw a little map of your state with some things that symbolize its greatness. After failing miserably at an attempt to draw a western Meadowlark (state bird) your self-esteem is wobbly at best. You’re a sniveling, frustrated, pathetic little kid, desperate to make good on this project but unsure that you ever will. This, my friends, is a breeding ground for future delinquency, possibly even serial killerdom.

But wait! You realize that you can, fairly easily, salvage the meadowlark by adding in a little Goldenrod! Yes, the state flower! Easy to draw! Capable of camouflaging ugly misdrawn avian disasters! Salvation awaits! Maybe, instead of a life of sociopathic crime, you’ll go on to greatness! Perhaps the cure for cancer will reveal itself in your careful research! Perhaps world peace–nay, universal peace–will result from your diplomacy and wisdom! The sky is the limit!

You reach for your crayon box, groping hopefully for the Goldenrod crayon. Yes, the goldenrod crayon, because what other crayon could anyone sensibly use when coloring goldenrod? None. Nada. Must be goldenrod. So you reach out, hopeful, enthused, dreaming of the triumph you’ll feel when your teacher pins YOUR state picture to the bulletin board. Maybe your classmates won’t pick you last for dodgeball this week, they’ll be so impressed with your goldenrod!

But wait. Where is the goldenrod? What?! There IS no Goldenrod. Why? Because some pompous self-important boob on the Straight Dope deemed it useless and redundant and guilty of bearing a falsely fancy name. Your hopes are crushed. You dreams are crushed. Your spirit is crushed. You are a pathetic, useless loser. The world is against you. Suffer, little child. Suffer and die inside, a slow miserable death drowning in your own misery. Until all that is left of you is a husk. A husk capable of wielding an axe and going on murderous rampages, of course, but a husk in which no life or love of life truly remains.

Way to go, Rue.

Rue, Rue, Rue. ::shakes head::

“Grey, yellowy and red brown”?

::makes 'tsk’ing sound::

You’ve never done the hot lightbulb trick, have you?

Y’take your piece of construction paper, and hold it over a light-bulb. This allows the wax on the crayon to melt and provide proper coverage, thus allowing your alien spider-bots to be copper, gold and silver.

You never studied, did you?

And red orange is for people like you who can’t handle the excitement of periwinkle.

And I want “Blue-Grey” and “Raw Umber” back, dammit. Can’t do a civil-war motif without Blue-Grey, and Raw Umber sounds like a monster from D&D. (“So, Rue, your elf continues down the hallway, turns right and comes face-to-face with 10 Raw Umbers! They’re armed with ugly-sticks…judging from your character sheet, looks like you’ve been whacked a few times already!”)

But Rue, despite the vast color-gap, can we unite and agree that (God help us)“Fuzzy-wuzzy brown” has no business in a Crayon box?


::high-fives ShibbOleth::

And I thought I was the only one who liked “Raw Umber”. None of the other kids in class liked it, so I’d trade the wimpy colors (like “Periwinkle” - mine always seemed to have a weird greasy coating where the colors wouldn’t lay down right) for another “Raw Umber” crayon.

“Burnt Sienna” runs a very close second, but “Raw Umber” definitely wins out. It takes a specail person to really appreciate the intrinsic qualities of “Raw Umber”.

Ok, had I previewed, I woulda known earlier that ShibbOlith is a talented, thoughtful individual with true grit unlike some [sub]orange red[/sub] people I could name.


Cranky sweety, darling, sugar doodle, while I feel for your illustrationary third grader (who I’m sure bears no likeness to your at all), if the little mope turned the art project into a craft project, surely as sure an acceptable substitute for goldenrod could be found. (A color like unto earwax… where ever shall I find a substance with a hue like unto earwax?)

For the clever, a lost crayon isn’t an obstacle, it’s an oportunity.

Fenris, you seem to think this is posted in Great Debates or possibly IMHO. Nope.

You wanna trumpet the virues of glittery metalic colors (like some girl, always drawn to the glittery metals) start your own thread.

Go ahead, I won’t stop you. But with language like that, it better be in the Pit.

But I do have to chime in with:
Great Bob in Heaven and his holey trousers! Fuzzy-wuzzy brown? Cripes! What were they thinking?

And periwinkle is the white bread of crayon-dom. Not zip. No pizazz.

And: Yes! Orange red is a thing of the past. Like other bad things that aren’t around any more. (Thanks for the link Fenris, I knew you were good for something.) Too bad it took raw umber with it. A total bastard to the end, vile orange red.

The big box. Everyone just raves about the big box. Well, sure, you have to have the big box around somewhere. For emergencies. When you really, really need, say, aquamarine. Or you’re feeling nostalgic for Indian Red.

But let’s not forget the wondrous pleasures to be found in the humble box of eight.

Go out and buy a new 8-pack right now and open it up. You won’t believe how long and perfect those crayons are compared to that box of 64 stubs you’ve been using. No cramped fingers today. Fits right in your pocket. And the smell – that wonderful crayon smell – so much stronger than from the musty old 2[sup]6[/sup] box you inherited from your big brother. The sharpener? Inherently cool, but you sure won’t miss those ubiquitous odd-colored shavings laying waste to your masterworks. And let’s face it… the sharpener was always style over substance anyway: you’ve always gotten better results just by wearing away the sides with judicious scribbling on scrap paper (or walls).

What has mulberry done for you lately? Simplify. Cast away your sepia crutches, and treat yourself to a new 8-pack today.

I must defend the honor of my favorite color in the whole wide world!
Cerulean ranks second in America’s Favorite Top 50 Crayons[sup]TM[/sup](thanks, Francesca)
What’s wrong with cerulean? It is a better color for the sky than “sky blue”. It’s also great for water. It’s what you use when “blue” is too dark and “sky blue” is too light. I do agree that cornflower leaves something to be desired. It has that strange greasy texture that screech-owl speaks of.

[sub]I have the 96 box![/sub]

Heh, heh, they have beaver. Heh, heh.
Puddin’ is just lovely, isn’t she?

for my money, they should just fill the box with dark blue and the mother of all crayons:

Brick Red. Not quite as cheerful or alarming as Red, but rich, gorgeous and perfect for coloring turkeys.

Cornflower, on the other hand, should be taken from the box, put in the driveway and run over with a Cadillac Escalade until it’s nothing but a smudge of fake blue death.


Here at work our printer is a Tektronix Phaser 350.

It is not an inkjet, or a laserjet, it is (and I swear this is true,) a crayon jet printer!

It’s got these three jumbo crayons, one in each primary color, and when you want to print it takes five minutes to warm up (it’s melting wax.)

Then it prints out perfect crayon pictures. The printing is raised and it’s continuous! You know how how you have to go back and forth with a crayon a whole bunch of times because it doesn’t fill all the paper the first time?

Not so with the Tektronix Phaser 350!

It gives you a cool even coating of crayon wax, and it smells yummy.

All great crayon artists know that if you want to be serious about it, you have to melt your wax, either by bakeing your picture in the oven on low, or melting your wax before you apply it, but the Phaser Tektronix 350 takes crayon art into the 21st century!

Give me Prussian Blue or give me death!

Scylla, please note the “hot lightbulb” method of crayon melting.

Once again, you and I stand firm against a tide of people who just don’t get it

Fenris, crayon-melter extrodinare