Hi friends! I couldn’t wait to play in my sketchbook this week. I decided to use my Grumbacher acrylic paper sketchbook because the paper is fantastic and doesn’t warp with layers of paint. It also works well for watercolor but I think it’s coolest feature is being able to remove a page from the book while you are working on it and put it back in afterward as I will do today. This is one of those projects where I enjoyed the process much more than the finished project and that’s how it goes sometimes but in a sketchbook you don’t need to be perfect or only stick to safe techniques, that ruins the fun! As yourself “what if?” and try it!
I also wanted to try some new supplies as several viewers asked me to try them out. The folks at Spellbinders/Jane Davenport were kind enough to send me a goodie box full of supplies from the Making Faces Collection of mixed media supplies and today I will put as many as I can to the test. I really enjoyed making this page and trying new things, I am not sure if anyone else will like it but at least you can see some new supplies in action and decide if you want to add any of it to your stash. I will go in-depth about what I think of each product (as well as substitutions you can use) below the video. Enjoy!
Non Jane Davenport Supplies (affiliate links used)
Let’s take a look at the Making Faces Collection. I don’t plan on reviewing all of the items in this line in seperate videos because there are so many but I can give you my impressions below. I will factor price and usefulness in my written reviews. Jane Davenport is the Maestro when it comes to selecting, inventing and packaging art products that we want to use. Her charming personality also makes us want to join in and create art. That said you probably have supplies at home that are very similar so if you want to do a project like this with what you have I will list alternatives but if you want to run out and get the cute new supplies I won’t blame you either:) I also wanted to mention that these are available at Michaels stores where there are often sales and 40-60% off coupons. I am using Michaels prices in the descriptions. You can also find these products on Jane Davenports website, the prices may vary as they are in Australian dollars but she does ship wordwide. *This is not sponsored although I did receive all of the Jane Davenport products in the review for free.
Let’s look at the cast in order of appearance…
Foundation Layers Stencil 3 pack ($12.99) These were high quality and very easy to use and make a front facing face. There are different options for noses, eyes and lips and you can selectively ink up the hair for different styles. I recommend this if you need help with drawing a face or if you just want to get that part over with quickly. The downside is that the face you make will only be forward facing and the same size but it’s a good start if you need it. there are 3 stencils and a canvas board in the pack. Tip: If you have no stencil you can trace a face from a magazine!
Colorsticks ($13.99) There are two collection of Colorsticks available: silky skin (neutrals) and Soul Window (bright colors) and they remind me very much of gelatos but these are way cheaper! These are probably my favorite product in the line and I find them to be a good deal and just over $1 a color full price and the container can be reused. These are water-soluble crayons that seem to fix themselves when dry. They are similar to any water soluble oil pastel you might have such as the Prima Oil Pastels, Crayola portfolio, Gelatos/Gel Sticks or Tim Holtz Distress Crayons. I did find other media layer well over this so they may be a bit less oily but the difference is small. I would recommend them if you don’t have a similar product in similar colors. They are a ton of fun and not too pricey!
Just a quick sidebar about gel/water-soluble crayons: Many products like this come in a plastic tube like a chapstick. Since they are not used up very quickly (I use products like this a lot and I don’t think I’ve ever completely depleted one) and it keeps the mess down I am not going to be a complete buzz kill here…..HOWEVER you can find plastic free water-soluble oil pastels that might leave your fingers a bit smudged but you will probably get more product out of them and they will cost less. Just something to think about:)
Matchmaker Set Acrylic Paint ($19.99) This takes the guesswork out of mixing skin tones. You get a 4oz bottle of a peach base color and then a 1oz bottle each of a highlight and a brown. You can use this to mix a solid color and paint an entire face in and then shade and highlight with other products or you can mix values as you go. This paint dries very quickly to a matte finish so I found blend the paint a challenge but take that with a grain of salt since I do not paint in acrylics often. Also the bottles have tips like fabric paint so you can easily apply the paint right to your page if you like. If that feature is not important to you a flesh/apricot/peach, brown and light pink/cream bottle of a craft paint like Delta Ceramcoat (also has a matte finish) would be very comparable at under $2 a 2oz bottle. Tip! To add more dimension to the paint you can mix with the Colorsticks! I like how the paint colors are simple and not intimidating.
Blend-In Blenders ($11.99) Surprisingly this was one of my favorite products. Each sponge featured different shapes and edges so I could use it with many colors at a time and keep them separated. There was even a very firm one great for stenciling. I found the shapes of these much more useful than the wedge cosmetic sponges I usually would use for this type of thing and they washed out well but they did stain. I would avoid using acrylic with these unless you are diligent about washing your tools right away. If you have art dedicated beauty blenders I imagine these are the same and I have seen similar beauty blenders at dollar stores and discount shops for $1-$3 but I haven’t compared them. I liked these a lot!
Palette Pastels ($19.99 -4 different colorways available) and Shimmer Pastels ($13-99-2 colorways available) These are similar to pan eyeshadow and Pan Pastels although they don’t seem to cover as well as pan pastels but that might be due to the softer blenders I used. I like that there are a lot of colors in a small space (honestly that is the reason my panpastels rarely get used on a mixed media piece) and they come in coordinating colors if you are unsure of what goes well together. Also, as always the packaging is beautiful and high quality (it doesn’t feel like the lid will snap off like cheap eyeshadows do sometimes.) Let me be really honest tho, a few years ago before investing in PanPastels I bought a cheap set of eyeshadows from target to see if they would work as well and used them on some projects and these worked just like my cheapies, that said the JD pastels, well the larger sets anyway, were not much cheaper and the case was more rugged so I’d say if you have cheap eyeshadow lying around that you aren’t going to use it will be comparable but if you need to go and by some get the JD because it will be about the same price. Also her pans are larger than the typical eyeshadow pans making them a better value if you had to buy new. I would recommend the Palette pastels over the shimmer pastels because you get way more colors for just a bit more money and there is a shimmery set. These are much softer and more pigmented that the tiny tins of pastels in her older collection.
Licence to Quill Pen ($12.99) *I am also going to lump the Ultimate pens ($8.99) in here two because side by side the nibs and ink seems the same, there might be more ink in the LTQ pen as it is bigger and the LTQ is nicer to hold. This pen is great, the nib is responsive and you can get fine to bold lines. I’d probably wait for a coupon since $12.99 is a bit steep for a disposable pen but it is really nice. I don’t have a brush pen exactly like this but the Faber Castell Pitt brush pen would be a suitable replacement if you have one BUT if you intend on going over pastels and paint I would go with Jane’s pens as it held up, kept a dark line and didn’t clog with the media underneath. My Pitt pen was not this juicy out of the box, but if you only want to use ink on clean paper or over watercolor it’s great.
Dramasticks ($26.99 per set of 6 and there are 2 sets available) Folks, I am really torn on this product being an eco-conscience consumer. First off these are a super soft oil pastel that make opaque marks. They are what I have wanted every China marker to be but never was. The quality is lovely, they work great and sharpen like a dream and I think if you had issues sharpening them you could freeze them for 30 minutes and sharpen for a fine point. However, these are encased in plastic instead of wood (why Jane why?) so you are literally sharpening off shavings when you use them. I have learned too much about microplastics to be cool with this which is a bummer because they are so nice to work with. Speaking of packaging the plastic insert that keeps the sticks safe in travel is useless when you get it home so into the trash it goes. The tins are gorgeous and nobody in their right mind would toss those so I don’t mind that at all but the plastics and the price give me pause because $26 for 6 pencils is kinda high. Although these are dreamy my conscious recommends a china marker with a peelable paper casing over this ONLY because of the packaging. I really hate to give this a less than stellar review tho…
Baton Blenders ($7.99 for 30) I liked these a lot because they are long enough to stand up in a cup and keep handy. Because there are so many colors you can assign a color to each blender so you can keep using them over and over again with pastels. I have used foam eyeshadow applicators for years with my pan pastels so there is no reason these won’t last a very long time assigning a color to each blender. You might even be able to split a pack with a friend. I recommend this as long as you are not treating them as a disposable product because that would be an unnecessary waste.
Velvet Pastels ($7.99 each, 8 colors available) These seems to be a very thin, matte opaque acrylic that is quite durable (I know this because I swatched some on my arm and it took a lot to wash it off!) and has a built-in applicator like a lip gloss. This product seems best to add little touches to a product. Coverage on a flat hard surface like paper is tough because the foam applicator seems meant for softer surfaces (hey, it worked great on my hand LOL!) so personally I will probably use this to add a touch of color to a 3D clay embellishment or something embossed rather than an art journal page. Also to consider: it seems to be a small amount of product in an elaborate plastic container and the price isn’t cheap. Given the mixed materials in this packaging it is unlikely to be recycled. I am so sorry to ruin all the fun things in life… Of course if you are just using this as a touch here and there it will probably last you a long time. I think any matte acrylic would be a suitable replacement and you can apply it with a Q-Tip if you want a similar applicator.
Magnetic Personality Brush Set ($44.99) This set features 4 very stiff brushes with magnets in the ends and a metal frame you can suspend them from or stand them up in. The stiffer filaments in these brushes make quick work of dissolving watercolor crayons and pushing around heavy body paint. The brushes are more suitable to acrylics because they are less absorbent and stiffer, I have no qualms with the brushes. The thought behind the holder is that after you wash your brush you can hang them to dry but after trying the hang the wet brushes they seemed too heavy to be held by the magnets and they fell. Hanging them while dry was not much better as they could get knocked out of the box very easily and they wanted to clump together due to the magnets. With these issues and the price I don’t recommend this product. It also takes up a fair amount of space on your table where 4 brushes could easily be put in a cup with other supplies. To be fair I am not a believer that brushes need to be dried upside down. The biggest culprit to swollen cracked handles and loose ferrules are letting your wood handled brushes sit in the water too long (like forgetting them over night and I did that yesterday when I started this project and no amount of hanging brushes upside down will correct that LOL!) Simply wash your brushes, wipe them dry and put them bristle end up in a cup. Or let them dry flat on a towel. No need for contraptions IMHO. Maybe I am missing something here, I mean you can use this as a riser on a shelf and you can put magnets on it to hold notes and stuff but it seems like an odd product to me. If I am missing something please let me know.
The Palette Hotel with Built in Penthouse Storage Stand ($29.99) This I really loved, it held almost all of the collection and it was easy to fetch out the supplies I needed quickly without spilling everything else out. At $30 this is an item to use a coupon on but it is very compact and functional. A great space saver! *This was not shown directly in the video but it was on my table holding all of my supplies.
In conclusion I really like the collection as a whole. These products are fun and inspiring and if that gets you to create then I am all for it. Keep in mind the prices I noted are MSRP in American Michaels stores. You will pay less if you use coupons or wait for sales. I urge you to be mindful of the packaging in the products and keep in mind what you have so you don’t buy the same color of paint or pastel in a new form if you don’t intend to just because the container is cute. As always Jane Davenport has delighted us with another beautiful and inspiring collection. We all have different tastes and styles so just because I like, or dislike something doesn’t mean that you will. You do you. Til next time happy crafting!