Waterbased Marker Review: Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers- Multicultural Colors

I have a confession to make.  I've become a bit obsessed with commonly available waterbased markers.  Specifically, I've become obsessed with Crayola markers.

I like a challenge, but the idea of competition makes me extremely anxious, so most of my challenges are only against myself.  And while working on the Walmart Art Supply Review series, I challenged myself to make Crayola Washable markers work for me.  The first taste of success happened when I realized that the 50 pack of Crayola Supertips make a WONDERFUL substitute for more expensive watercolor markers.  Sadly, that success was shortlived when I tried to use Crayola markers on Pacon marker paper as I would regular markers, and I was severely disappointed with the skintones available in my set.  All of them were way too pink, and far to vibrant to be useful as undiluted skintones.

Crayola introduced their Multicutural Skintone markers when I was in highschool, back when I still played around with Crayolas as a rendering tool, but I never picked them up.  I suppose this was due to the fact that their marker variants only come in 2 flavors- 8 pack of the broad line, or 10 pack of the broad line, and by the time you're in high school, the broad line markers feel a bit like a return to third grade.  Ten years later, Crayola still hasn't introduced a Supertip edition of the Multicultural colors, which is a little confusing as adult coloring books have become extremely popular.

I finally bit the bullet and ordered the 8 pack of Multicultural skintone markers after my initial Crayola Supertip review, and I had high hopes for the pack.  I ordered mine from Amazon, and if you'd like to help support this blog, you'll use my Amazon Affiliates search link to order your own.

This is technically NOT part of the Walmart Art Supply Review series, as I purchased these markers from Amazon after discovering that my Crayola Supertips were lacking in the usable skintone department.  These are sold at most Walmarts, Targets, and even Walgreens, I couldn't find these in the Supertips, so I ordered the regular sized markers, which are a little awkward compared to the Supertip markers.

This isn't a full review of Crayola Washable markers, if you're interested in that, you should read my Walmart Art Supply Review: Washable Markers post, where I compare Crayola Supertips to CraZArt markers, do a couple field tests, and explore using Crayola Supertip markers as watercolor markers.

The Packaging

Crayola markers haven't changed a whole lot since I was a little girl, and the box still looks very similar to the iconic box I remember from yesteryear.  These markers tout "Color Max", I'm not sure if this is supposed to mean these markers are more vibrant than non "Color Max" Crayola products, or if the ink is supposed to be fade resistant, so you can paper your walls with your drawings.  The box also promises that these are Ultra Clean, but I can't verify that as I have no intention of marking up my skin and clothes to find out how well these wash out.

The back of the box has washing instructions, in case you can't figure it out through trial and error, and explains what Color Max actually is.  Apparently

Crayola is dedicated to helping kids of all ages unleash the power of imagination in colorful ways.  That's why we developed ColorMax-a variety of innovations to reinvigorate classic Crayola products with the highest quality colors available today.

So I guess ColorMax is just the introduction of new colors to old products?  Couldn't they just mix these skintones in with the 50 pack?

The back also advertises that Crayola is now a Hallmark company, it's safety certifications, and that Crayola is made in the US.

The top of the box has swatches that show the colors included in the 8 pack.

The Markers

As these colors aren't available in Supertip, we're back at the old standby for Crayola markers- the chunky body with the large conical nib.

Unlike the Supertips, these markers do have the color's name printed on the body of the marker, and body detail is printed in an approximation of the ink inside.

Dry Swatch Test- on Pacon Marker Paper

Initial swatches on marker paper weren't particularly promising, and I felt like the color selection was somewhat disappointing, especially that beige.  If any of you with a 10 pack of the Multicultural colors would mind sending me a photo of your swatches, I'd appreciate it, as I can't seem to find swatches online.

On UCreate Sketchbook Paper

These seem much dryer than the Supertip markers, and honestly I'm disappointed in many of the colors offered.  There's a great selection of darker skintones (which is always much needed), but the lightest is beige, which is still too dark for what I need.  Ideally this set would include 4 more markers- 3 lighter than beige, and one darker than the darkest, sienna.  This set doesn't seem to offer many good options for Asian, Hispanic, or Native American skintones either.  I'm aware that there's a 10 color set available now, and that may offer a better spectrum, but I'd prefer not to buy a whole new set just to find out, and I'm having difficulty finding an open pack of the 10 color set online.  If any of my readers have this set, or can provide me to a link of the swatches, I would greatly appreciate it! Anyway, these colors limit me a bit in terms of how I can apply skintone, although this wouldn't be such an issue if waterbased markers didn't pill the paper when layers are quickly applied.

Regular readers remember that I decided to try using Crayola Supertips as watercolor markers, and they also know I was pretty excited about the results.  I decided to swatch the Multicultural Colors on the same watercolor paper, and see if they lived up to the hype.

Watercolor Swatch Test


These markers don't handle water nearly as well as the Supertip markers- I"m not sure if, as they're ColorMax markers, the ink is more water resistant and is more likely to seperate into individual pigments, so these markers can't really be used as watercolor markers the way Supertips can.  There are a couple of markers that handle water decently well- mahogany and sepia (the last two), but unless you use these colors often, I wouldn't recommend buying the whole set just for these two.

The Field Test

I did the field test on Pacon marker paper (link), and opted not to do a watercolor field test, as I was displeased with how the colors seperated.  If you'd like to see how other Crayolas handle being a watercolor field test, you should check out that Walmart Art Supply Review (link again).

This field test was inked with my trusty Copic and Waterproof Sailor Mitsuo Aida.

For this review, I don't intend on coloring all of Kara's skin with a single tone, instead I'm going to just knock in the shadows.  I'm not really excited about the lightest Caucasian option- beige, and I think using it all over would look terrible.  I'm also going to use my set of Supertips to color in everything that isn't skin.

Even though I'm using marker paper for this test, there's still some streaking.

I also used a Supertip to apply Kara's freckles, as the nibs on the Multicultural markers are big and unweildy.

The Supertip peach that's WAY too hot for skintones makes a decent sand color.

If you're careful about waiting for the ink to fully dry, and keep your layers to a minimum, you can do a little bit of layering with Crayola Washable markers, but it's still pretty difficult to avoid streaking, especially given how dry these markers feel without actually being dry.

The Verdict

Don't mistake me reviewing these markers as an advertisement- I don't think they're worth your time.  I just wanted to be thorough, and since the Crayola Supertips don't come with good skintones, I needed to see how the Multicultural Colors compared.  The biggest dealbreaker for the Multicultural markers is what sold me on the Supertips- compatibility with watercolor marker techniques.  Unfortunately, the Multicultural markers don't stand up to the addition of water, so they can't be used as watercolor markers the way Supertips can.

I tested these markers for those of you who are pretty much limited to waterbased markers, and are curious as to whether or not the Multicultural Colors will fill the gap that Crayola's Supertips, even the 50 pack, leave in the color collection.  I can't answer that question- we all render differently, so areas that I may find lacking with the 8 pack may not be an issue for you, but I don't see myself returning to these markers.