Until I encountered the work of Hoang Tran of Sunnyvale, CA, it never occurred to me that a crayon could be used for much else other than drawing. But now, every crayon looks to me like an unused slab of marble.
Tran got the idea to carve crayons a few years ago when he saw another artist doing something similar. Last year, he started his own Etsy shop featuring his crayon sculptures,
When he got a commission to do a sculpted crayon version of a client's dog, he was game. The result was charming, and soon his friends were requesting ersatz Crayola dogs of their own.
I asked Tran to tell me about his process. He said:
First, I pick a color of crayon that will match the dog. Using reference photos, I envision how the dog would fit in the narrow column of wax and if I need to make any considerations for lack of space. For example, dogs with short snouts fit better than long snouted ones. Then I scratch out some guide lines on the crayon and begin carving away. I start out with a rough shape and slowly refine it from there. For different colored parts like the eyes or nose, I melt and carefully apply wax from other crayons. Once that cools, I can carve it as well. Hopefully by the end, I'll have a nice looking dog.
Tran has graciously donated a custom dog crayon portrait as a "perk" for our IndieGogo campaign. Thanks, Tran!