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Exploring Caran d'ache

A rapt audience of about 35 interested artists gathered in the Main Street Artists Studio one recent evening to learn about many of the Caran D’Ache art materials. The presentation was given by the company’s national rep, Stefan Lohrer. He was very interesting, informative and entertaining.
            Stefan explained that the company was founded in 1915 in Geneva, Switzerland, where the headquarters and manufacturing facilities remain to this day. Intriguingly, the name Caran D’ache, which was adopted in 1924, traces its origin to the Russian word for pencil – karandash.
Stefan talked about the manufacturing processes, quality control and technical considerations. Then he walked us through an array of products, including Luminance top-of-the-line colored pencils, Pablo colored pencils, Museum Aquarelle high-end water-soluble colored pencils, Supracolor Soft Aquarelle water-soluble colored pencils, traditional graphite drawing pencils and water-soluble graphite pencils, pastel pencils and pastel cubes, Neopastel oil pastel sticks and Neocolor II water-soluble crayons. He also introduced us to the Caran D’Ache Full Blender, a colorless pencil designed to blend, dry mix and intensify the colors of  colored pencils. 
          Stefan gave numerous examples for using the products, including some novel ideas. He certainly sparked the imaginations of the artists.
            At one point Stefan held up a tiny item, an aquarelle travel brush with its own water tank. It filled easily with water and Stefan cleaned it just as easily. It’s a perfect mate with Caran D’Ache water soluble pencils. The brushes come in a package of three different tips: large, medium and fine. I was ready to buy them immediately so I could follow Stefan’s suggestion and travel very lightly for outdoor drawing and painting.
          The audience was very intrigued by the Neocolor ll watersoluble crayons. The luminous colors have an ultra-high concentration of pigment. They can be used for many purposes, including a simple drawing and mono-print process to create self portraits. You can “color” your image directly on a mirror, then press a damp piece of watercolor paper on the mirror, using a roller to transfer the image to the paper. If you hear enthusiastic laughter coming from the MSA studios this fall you will know we are introducing visitors to this process. We’re experimenting and we’ll let you know when we’re ready to go public.
      Everyone who attended the presentation received a goody bag with a generous selection of samples. But if you’d like to check out these fine products, Rochester Art Supply Inc., which sponsored Stefan’s visit, carries a comprehensive collection of the Caran D’ache brand at the venerable store at 150 W. Main St.
 ~ Sue Hegan Henry



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It really amazes me that an artist could do wonderful masterpieces, while I am having a hard time drawing an egg. My art teacher would always say that an artist is made and never born, and I totally disagree. Maybe she just says that so she can inspire us to do our best, because I really think that being an artist requires a lot of artistic gene. I want to know how to be able to make such beautiful landscapes and portraits. But, I guess having a love for art does not mean that art will love you back.


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It looked like you had a very knowledgeable resource person for the presentation. There are many art materials that new artists have yet to discover. Who knows they could probably find potential in a new material and use it to create their art works. This would certainly look unique in artworks made of traditional materials like paint, crayon, etc. And it's generous of you to give goodie bags to the attendees of the workshop.
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