Art Supplies Review: Rikagaku Kitpas Wet-Erase Crayons

1 - Kitpas box closed

Review by Tina Koyama

Years ago when I was making abstract, mixed-media collages, one of my favorite media was Caran d’Ache Neocolor II water-soluble wax pastels. I don’t use them for urban sketching because the broad crayon sticks require larger paper than I want to carry, but I remember the fun of making huge scribbles, and then releasing the pigments with water. When I saw a set of Rikagaku Kitpas Wet-Erase Crayons (set of 12 for $16), they immediately called to mind that kind of fun, but at a lower price than artist-quality Neocolors.

2 - Kitpas box back

The box, which secures with an elastic band, includes a small well for water. The lid can be used to make color swatches or sketches that will wipe clean like a whiteboard.

3 - Kitpas box opened

I chose the set in which each crayon is encased in a plastic holder that retracts the crayon tip when not in use and keeps hands clean during use. (JetPens also offers a second set of 12 chunkier, paper-wrapped crayons for the same price.) The retractable mechanism seemed like an unnecessary gadget when I first saw it, but as soon as I used it, I liked it – it does keep my hands cleaner and probably also prevents the soft sticks from breaking.

4 - Kitpas crayon closeup

5 - Kitpas retracted

6 - Kitpas extended

“Sure to please people of all ages, especially kids,” Kitpas crayons are much softer than Crayolas or Neocolor IIs. Applied to paper, they feel more like lipstick – very smooth, waxy and slippery. Like a grease pencil, they can also be used on windows, plastic, whiteboards and other non-porous surfaces, then easily wiped clean. 

7 - non-porous surface

Caution: They remain tacky and smudgeable, even when you may not want them to. For example, to carry that glass jar back into the house after taking the photo, I had put it under my forearm so I could carry other things. The crayon left marks on my arm and shirt. I also found traces on my scan bed after scanning the sketch. Easily removed from all surfaces with a towel, however. 

I tested the Kitpas with techniques I commonly use with water-soluble pencils (tests made on 140-pound Canson XL mixed media paper). The crayons don’t contain as much pigment as artist-quality products do, but they release adequately with water applied with a brush or finger. 

8 - Kitpas testing

9 - Kitpas tests - scanned

Although the view isn’t inspiring, our backyard deck is shady and comfortable all day. On a warm Sunday afternoon, I took the Kitpas set out there to sketch the unkempt bushes and trees between our yard and our neighbors’. After scribbling on the color, I used a spritzer to activate the pigment efficiently and touched it up with a waterbrush. After it dried, I scribbled on a bit more dry crayon in some areas. Because they are so soft and slippery, they are fun and easy for loose, free sketching and less intimidating than high-priced, artist-quality sticks. (Sketch made on 113-pound Fabriano Accademia watercolor paper.)

10 - sketching on the deck

11 - Kitpas crayons, Fabriano 113 lb

My natural tendency is to make sketches that are more tightly rendered and detailed than I sometimes want. Using fat crayons is a sure antidote for that kind of tightness – no tiny details possible! If you don’t need artist quality, Kitpas crayons are a good value. Your kids might like them too, but get them their own set so you won’t have to fight over them.

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. This review include affiliate links. The Well-Appointed Desk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Please see the About page for more details.

tina-koyamaTina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

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