New Vs. Old Prismacolor Colored Pencils {Comparison and Review}

Hi friends! I have a product review, demo and comparison for you today. After hearing a lot of complaints from people who said Prismacolors were not as good as they used to be I decided to compare a brand new set to some colors I had for the 1980’s and 1990’s. I have always loved my Prismacolor pencils but was hesitant to recommend them after hearing other people’s experience with the new ones made by Newell Rubbermaid in Mexico.

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*Disclosure, I bought the pencils I am using.

I picked up the 23 pencil Magna set to test because is currently $7.66 I didn’t want to buy a big set in case they were bad quality.  The larger sets have been really cheap lately on Amazon. The 72 set is probably the best deal at $24 but they have sets from 12 to 150 pencils. This is the toned tan sketch pad I used. Watch the video to see how the new pencils compare to the tried and true pencils from yesteryear.

Video!

Prismacolors pencils are known for their smooth, creamy waxy lead that is more opaque than other colored pencils. They blend well. The downsides to these pencils is that the fragile lead can shatter in the pencil and break whenever you use it. Also the wood casing have been known to separate and crack. The complaint of the new Prismacolors were that the leads were not centered so they broke more easily and some say the pencils are less pigmented.  What I found was the lead was the same quality as the lead in my pencils from the 90s and 80s but I found the lead size to be a bit thinner, maybe to reduce breakage. I noticed some of the newer pencils had off-center leads. The new pencils come pre sharpened and I think that may be a way to check them for breakage before they leave the factory. Back in the “olden” days we would glue out pencil stub to a fresh pencil and keep on truckin’ so no pencil was wasted but this is not possible with the new pencils.

Bottom line: I did not notice a major quality difference between the new and old pencils. I DO think that when Rubbermaid first took over the line they sent out some shoddy product but I would say after the new set I purchased that they have worked out the kinks. Making the lead slightly thinner and pre sharpening the pencils have probably solved a lot of breakage issues that other artists complained of. The prices of these pencils are about half what I paid in the 90’s for the majority of mine and I think it is a great deal. I assume when Prismacolor earns back the trust of the consumer the prices will return to what they were. For now tho I recommend grabbing them if you see a good deal! I hope this comparison helped you! Happy crafting!

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Glorious Graphite! (and other sketching stuff)

Hi friends! When was the last time you sketched? There is nothing quite like the silky smooth glide of a soft graphite pencil on a fresh piece of paper. I prefer the soft, dark leads of a 6b-8b lead, probably because I was so heavy-handed as a child my art instructor made me use a 4H LOL! I still look at the harder pencils with disgust and disdain…it’s probably why I didn’t fulfill my dad’s wish for me to be an architect. Well, it was either those darn hard precise pencils or my dislike of math, straight lines and measuring. I prefer organic lines and a more loosey-goosey approach to art and that is the wonderful thing about sketching, you have both options! With one set of drawing pencils you get the thick, dark delicious smudge-ability of a 6B pencil and the tight, hard, precise line of a 4H and everything in between!

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The downside is that if you don’t know what the different pencils are for you might be confused with the options and not want to bother with them and go back to your trusty #2 pencil. There is nothing wrong with sketching with a regular #2 pencil, I do all the time. In fact I have a trick for you on how to remember what pencils is what using the #2 as a neutral starting point. The #2 pencil we all love are equal to an artist’s HB pencil. That is our bipartisan pencil, truly in the middle of the road. Think of H standing for “hard: precise, holds a point, makes light lines” and B stranding for “black: soft, smudgy lead that wears down quickly and makes thicker dark lines” The higher the number the more the properties are enhanced. For instance a 8B pencil is darker than a 2B and a 5H is lighter and harder than a 2H. Sometimes you will see an F pencil which simply means it is a thin hard-leaded pencil that can be sharpened to a fine point. F=Fine point.

(Photo credit: Pencils.com)

In today’s video we will use the content of the November Smart Art Box to create a sketch of a fox. We will work on developing tonal values because when you are working with graphite you are working in monochrome so you have to convey the depth and color of a scene in one color. It is a wonderful exercise that you should do often!

Video!

As shown in the video graphite pencils can come in a traditional and water-soluble formula. They are inexpensive tools to create beautiful art. I also like mixing media in this piece with the India ink and pastels. If you plan to use a lot of ink or water in your sketch make sure your paper is thick enough to handle it. A brown paper grocery bag is a wonderful choice for a substrate if you plan on layering chalk or pastels. Experiment and have fun!

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I want to thank Smart Art Box for sponsoring this video and til next time happy crafting!

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PS I am working on a Drawing class that will be released early 2018, if you would like to be notified when it launches please join my mailing list!

PSS My Cyber Week sale is still in full swing! Get 50% off current classes with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY (coupon good through 12/2/17)

Have a great weekend and til next time happy crafting!

Sketching Desserts and New Supplies! {Inktober}

Hi friends! After falling off the Inktober bandwagon I finally did a sketch!

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Watch the video to see the process!

This was my take on yesterday’s #inktober2017 prompt “Juicy” and I had fun rendering this sweet treat in inks. I began drawing with india ink in my fountain pen and coloring with inks. I did use some watercolor to expand my colors. They both worked fine so use what you have. Supplies below.

  • Fountain pen safe india ink: (this is the exact ink I use, I can’t believe I found it!)
  • Fountain pen: Jane Davenort Inkredible pen, load the cartridge with fountain pen safe india ink as the inks that come with the pen are not waterproof)  *note, this is the old style pen, you can get the white and gold one from janedavenport.com
  • Bleed proof white opaque watercolor (I love this thinned with water for gauzy colors with ink of for sharp opaque highlights used straight from the bottle)
  • This is the watercolor paper I did my swatch on
  • And the art journal I worked in
  • First edition mermaid markers (from comparison at end of video)
  • All of the new Jane davenport products are available on her website (watercolors, inkcredible inks, new style pen etc)  *And will be in Michael’s stores across us and Canada after November 10th
  • Reference photo

I snapped a photo of the mermaid marker in comparison. The colors are not perfect matches but some will do in a pinch. I have not run out of any ink in my mermaid markers yet but I have refilled my Beinfang Watercolor brush pens with these liquid watercolors and they worked perfectly (you can even mix these colors to get just the right shade) so that is another option.

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If you want to see more of the new Jane Davenport products that will be out next month you can see my unboxings on my YouTube channel. The first box contained the inks I used today and more art journal/papercrafting stuff and the second box was more of the mixed media product stuff. I plan on doing a review of the new art media stuff so you can see what would add value to your stash and what just duplicates what you already have (and I think that this will be different for different people.) Let me know in the comments if there is anything in particular you would like to see me use first. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Couch Art?

Hi friends! When I hear the term “couch art” it is usually referring to pretty paintings that you would hang above the couch but today I am going to share a sketch created from the couch.

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Sometimes you just need to let go of perfection, take away the pressure to produce and just draw with no expectation. I think that is why adult coloring books are so popular nowadays.  We just need some quiet time to create. Coloring, drawing and painting can be very meditative and soothing, in fact you might be hard pressed to worry about anything when you are being creative. 🙂 So, if you are feeling restless, anxious, tired or down have a rest on the sofa, make a nice hot cup of tea, grab your supplies and create some beautiful couch art. Take care of yourself and happy crafting!

A Witchy Inktober Illustration!

Hi friends! Today I have a witch illustration by request! This is an #Inktober sketch that I uploaded to youtube the other day and I hope you enjoy it.

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Watch the video and give it a try if you like!

This is the book I recommended, I am really finding it helpful for getting better at fashion style figure sketches.

Supplies I used:

I hope you enjoyed this #inktober2017 project and til next time happy crafting.

Getting better at proportions…

Hi friends! One of my goals for inktober is to get better at drawing people. I want to improve my accuracy and skill and I can notice the progress already.

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I have been using a book I bought last winter as a guide and it is wonderful. It’s called Figure Poses for Fashion Illustrators by Sha Thamasebi. I just love the fun and carefree vibe of these sassy fashion ladies and heck, can we all use a bit of carefree fun once in a while? In today’s video I will show you a croquis I made and explain the figure proportions (a bit longer than normal) for a fashion illustration. You can learn along with me:)

Video!

A Croquis is a “paper Doll” that fashion illustrators use to quickly draw their fashion sketches. It is based on the ideal proportions of the body. In today’s video I will show you one I made and how I use it as a reminder when I am sketching figures.

Supplies I used:

Tomorrow I’ll show you how to adapt the croquis to sketch a witch flying on a broom!

Programming note: Due to an appointment that I need to keep I will be unable to host a live show tomorrow. I am sorry for any inconvenience but I will post a new stamping/doodling video on my YouTube channel in case you are in need of inspiration. Thanks for understanding and til next time happy crafting! 🙂

Inktober Day 6…7…8… eh, who’s counting?

Hi Friends!  I totally skipped Inktober Friday and I did not go with the Inktober prompt yesterday, instead I am honoring 2 viewer requests: 1. Draw a Pumpkin and 2. Use Inktense pencils:

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You can see my process in today’s video!

Supplies I used:

OK, now for my excuses reasons I did not have an inktober sketch Friday or today. Friday it took all I had to get the live show up and going and the kids were off school (4 day Columbus weekend) and today I did actually sketch but I wasn’t in my filming location (because that was strewed with various supplies for a card tutorial coming up this week) and honestly the sketch is not totally done but perhaps I will snap a pic of in the morning and post it to Instagram. Look at me, falling of the wagon and making excuses already LOL! The kids are off tomorrow too and we just bought paint to repaint the girls bedrooms so I am not holding out hope that I will get tomorrow’s Inktober done either but you never know. I’ll be painting something either way:) Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

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