Review: American Journey Watercolor Sticks

Today I am taking a look at the set of 24 American Journey Watercolor Sticks. They are watercolor pigment in a clear paraffin wax binder. I wanted to find out if they are more like a watercolor pan or a watercolor crayon.


For my test I am working on Strathmore Windpower paper. Watch the video to see how they perform!


The American Journey watercolor sticks are available in sets or open stock. The sets have a handy storage palette to keep them in. Open stock the sticks sell for $7.99 while a 12 color set in a palette goes for $59 bringing the per stick price to $5, a much better deal.


  • Price: They cost a bit more than Winsor & Newton watercolor sticks but are 2x as big. They are the same size as Daniel Smith but a bit cheaper
  • Pigment info listed on sides of watercolor sticks, stable lightfast pigments are used. If you are picky about your pigments I suggest getting colors open stock.
  • All usable product-you can save the shavings if you sharpen the crayons to use as watercolors. You can use all the product so no waste.
  • Drawing with the crayons give you more of a “watercolor pencil” experience rather than a watercolor crayon experience
  • Transparent (as long as the pigments used are) Most watercolor crayons are opaque and these are luminous and transparent, the reds are stunning and worth buying to supplement a watercolor crayon set that you might already have.


  • When used direct to paper from the stick (aka sketching and coloring) I don’t feel like you get as good color payoff as you would with a traditional watercolor crayon or water-soluble oil pastel. I don’t think this is a con for some people but if that is what you want with this product I think you will be disappointed. Also these American Journey sticks are more expensive than Caran D’Ache watercolor crayons which are better for a dry, direct to paper technique. It boils down to personal taste though.
  • Not great for glazing as colors easily lift.

Bottom line:

I like this product for sketching and then picking up pigment with a wet brush for washes (like pan color) for use on white paper. They are different from a watercolor crayon because they are transparent. I think they are better for direct painting without a lot of glazes because they are very liftable. If I had to recommend one color I would try any of the reds and they really stand out as different from other similar products.

If you would like to try your hand at some mixed media watercolor & watercolor crayon techniques enroll in my Craftsy Class Mix it Up Mixed Media Step by Step! We go though watercolor washes, stenciling, drawing and painting with watercolor crayons as well as play with other mixed media techniques, it is a lot of fun and the folks at Craftsy make everything look so nice!


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