Ever wished you had a pocket-sized version of your dog that you could carry around with you and occasionally use as a writing utensil? Us too! Which is why we are very much in love with Hoang Tran's custom pet portraits that are carved into—you guessed it—crayons!
Hoang Tran, a native northern Californian who now works out of Pittsburgh, PA, started his company, Carved Crayons, in 2013. For a mere $65, Tran will take a photo of your beloved pup and recreate its adorable face on the top of a crayon. Below, Tran talks about his surprising entry point into crayon carving, and what makes the microsculpting all worth it.
An Unpredictable Beginning
"A few years ago I was attending dental school when I decided to withdraw because I realized I wasn't passionate about it. Around the same time, a friend asked me to participate in an art show she was putting on. I had seen crayon carvings before, and the idea had been stuck in my head because I was doing similar work in dental school carving teeth out of wax, so I decided to give it a try using my old dental instruments. They turned out well and I enjoyed making them—so I've been doing it ever since."
The Limits of Wax *Do* Exist
"I've been carving crayons for a while now, so I've overcome most of the early challenges. The biggest challenges now come from trying increasingly complex designs and carving faces of real people. I'm a perfectionist, so if it doesn't look exactly like the person, I'm not happy with it. But I now know the limits of wax and have a good idea of what subjects will or will not work on a crayon. I rarely break a crayon while carving, and I've learned how to add in different colors by melting and applying wax from other colored crayons."
Wowing the Crowd
"I'm kind of a pop-culture junkie, so that's what often inspires me and I tend to focus on with my work—I enjoy carving something most when I have a personal connection to it. What's really popular, however, are the pet carvings. I often stylize the cartoon characters and superheroes I sculpt—but with pets I try to make them as realistic as possible. I enjoy seeing the reaction I get from their owners, and I love how amazed people are at how I can create something so lifelike on a such a tiny canvas."
Order your own custom pet carving at etsy.com/shop/carvedcrayons and follow Hoang Tran on Instagram at @mumblestohimself!