For beginners I would suggest either the Staedtler or Faber Castell brand of pencils. These produce significantly better results than bargain bin pencils, provide good colors and allow you to try some simple shading and blending techniques. With practice the best coloring results can even be achieved with the most modest tools!
Many crayon artists (you can find a few online) use solvents to soften their appearance. It can be a wonderful look but, personally, I love the pixilated look the crayon creates when applied just as is. Look at the art examples in this post _ you can see the speckled look crayon has when applied in layers. This adds to the realism, especially when creating an out_of_focus background, such as in these two images.