Review: Fabulous Figures & Whimsical Girls! {New Books by Jane Davenport}

Hi friends! Today I have a book review for you, 2 books actually by the fabulous and creative Jane Davenport!


I was sent these books by the publisher and I was very surprised to see them on my doorstep. After flipping through Fabulous Figures for a couple of minutes I had to play. I think the mark of a good art instruction book is that you feel like you need to grab your supplies straight away. I loved her “water drawing” exercise so I decided to use up some leftover watercolor paint (from Saturday’s brush lettering tutorial) and have a go.

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It was addictive! Since we are always in need of bookmarks around here I laminated the watercolor sheets, chopped them apart and turned them into bookmarks. I had thought they would be fun for my girls to hand out to their friends at their 8th grade semi-formal dance (as the painted silhouette girls all looked like they were dancing in fancy dresses) but I did not have them finished by the time they had to leave…the bookmarks took little time, however styling my two daughters hair for the dance did LOL! Maybe this is a lifetime supply of bookmarks for us LOL!


Without further ado here is the video review so you can have a sneak peek at the books. Also on Amazon they have a generous”look inside” preview of these books if you want to see them in more detail.

Below are affiliate links to the books on Amazon, they offer a generous preview of the book so you can have a close look at some of the contents)

An overview of Fabulous Figures: This is a drawing instruction book that really succeeds in simplifying the female figure into a formula that even the most novice drawers can follow. Her charming illustration will sweep you into her lovely world of fashion illustration fantasy. If you are a fan of Jane Davenport iconic style and want to learn to draw like her you will enjoy this book. Even if you do not want to draw the photography and artwork make this book a pleasure. Jane also has a workshop to go with this book if you would like more guidance and it can be found on her website. *If it is not open yet it will be soon.

Whimsical Girls (Happy Hour Art Journal): This book is like a cross between and adult coloring book and an art journal with the hard parts done, it’s ready for you to add your own touch and fill in the good stuff! The book is filled with pre collaged pages and Jane’s beautiful line artwork for you to color. The paper is high quality to accept a variety of mixed media supplies. This is not an art instruction book, it is an activity book, ora pre started art journal that you can finish. It’s charming and fun and everything we would expect from Ms. Davenport.

Jane’s books never disappoint. If you like her style you’ll love her books.


Before I go, an apology…

I am sorry I didn’t have a sketchbook Sunday video up yesterday. It was my hubby’s birthday and I ran out to pick up the cake first thing (and that is when I normally sketch) and then we had company and I wanted to visit with them and relax. I tried to have my plein air sketching video I filmed earlier this week up but I didn’t have it finished. Ah well, nobody’s perfect but family comes first on the weekend and birthdays! I mentioned it Instagram but I should have noted it elsewhere as not to disappoint anyone. Have a great night and til next time happy crafting!


Review: Stampin Blends Markers

Hi friends! Today I have a very much requested review for Stampin Blends markers from Stampin’ Up! After posting this on YouTube last night several demonstrators let me know that they are only taking orders through Friday the 23rd (tomorrow) as they are almost sold out so they need to replenish their stock before they sell more. I wanted to put that info out there incase you were waiting on the review to order and you wanted to buy before sale-a-bration was over. I believe they will have them available to order again in a couple of months. Also I miss-spoke in the video, the markers are $4.50 each and not $4. Watch the video to see them in action.


  • 27 colors total (a light and dark shade of the following colors: Bermuda Bay, Calypso Coral, Cherry Cobbler, Crumb Cake, Daffodil Delight, Night of Navy, Old Olive, Pink Pirouette, Pool Party, Pumpkin Pie, Rick Razzelberry and Smoky Slate as well as 3 single colors: Bronze, Ivory and a clear color lifter marker)
  • Price: $4.50 per marker, no discounts for buying in a set
  • Each marker features a brush nib and a bullet nib and printing on the barrel tells you which is which.
  • These markers are available exclusively through your local Stampin Up demonstrator or from their website. This link will take you to my demo Wendy’s website.


  • The colors, as the name suggests, blend beautifully, mainly because the colors are picked out and designed to blend with each other. If you have never colored with alcohol markers before this will take out the guesswork and lessen the learning curve. Here is a demo of me using them.
  • This set has a great range of colors with nothing superfluous, It could use a deep violet however if you glaze over rich razzleberry with the light Night of Navy I think it will do. I like how they picked a limited palette with plenty of color options to get you started.
  • Since all of the markers are available individually you can replace a color as you use it up or build your collection a couple of markers at a time (and it is the same price per marker whether you buy in a set or singles.)
  • Colors are easy to erase with the color lifter (and I am glad they called the clear marker a color lifter instead of the typical “clear blender” as it describes more accurately what this pen does)
  • If you have CSS (Complete Set Syndrome-trust me it’s a thing LOL!) you only have 27 markers to collect as opposed to hundreds in other marker lines.


  • The nib is a felt/fiber type nib and not foam like copics so it is less springy and flexible.
  • You can’t refill the marker or replace the nib.
  • The caps might be a bit tough to snap on and off but they do stay on securely!

Bottom line: I think these markers are priced fairly for the quality. If you are just getting started and you want to take the guesswork out of coloring these are sure to please or if you are an avid user of SU! products these will match.


If you would like to learn more you can ask your Stampin Up Demonstrator for more info or visit my friend Wendy’s website and she’ll be happy to help you.Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Triple Review: RENDR Marker Paper, NEW Premiere Brush Tip Alcohol Markers & Curio Stamps from Stampendous!

Hi friends! I have had requests to showcase a few new things and it made sense to do it all at once. It seems like there have been tons of companies revamping their marker lines over the past year and I am always curious as to the quality of them and how different they are from one another. Today we will look at the new Premiere markers sold exclusively at A.C.Moore. Along with RENDR Marker paper and Curio Stamps by Stampendous.


The new Premiere markers have a bullet tip and a brush tip and will not replace the old style Premiere markers that resembled Prismacolor with a bullet tip and tri-chisel nib. The curious thing was that the color names between the two versions are not the same…but I did find a similarity between the new brush pens and other new brush pens on the market. Watch the video for more details!

Premiere by Nicole Dual end brush alcohol markers:

These markers are available in sets or open stock at A.C Moore stores. Prices range from $3.99 for a single marker to $159 for a set of 48


  • Brush tip and chisel tip
  • Less expensive than Copic
  • If you have an AC Moore store near you they are on special or you can use a coupon on a set making them much more reasonable
  • They use the same color number and naming system as the following brands so you can replenish or fill in colors from other sets (Colors the same as Studio 71, #coloring, Artist Loft (Michaels stores) and Blick Illustrator  available at Blick stores but they are not going to keep stocking them and all they have now are 12 packs.) If you like those markers you will likely enjoy these as well as the nibs are the same.


  • It is a fiber/felt tip instead of a higher quality foam tip
  • Not suitable for brush lettering

*AC Moore will still be stocking the original Premiere markers with the bullet and tri-nib chisel ends as well as the new brush markers so you can shop for what best suits your needs. They do not have a shop online but they recently teamed up with Blitsy and they have the 12 and 24 packs of the original markers for sale so maybe the new ones will arrive soon. *Note the color names between the new and old style of Premier markers do not match.

Bottom line: I like the new Premiere markers but the regular retail price is high for what they are. This is a good item to use one of their 50% off coupons on or wait for a sale. Luckily they run good sales often and many weeks they have a 55% off coupon.

RENDR No Show Through Marker Paper 5.5″x8.5″ hardbound sketchbook

I had several marker users ask me to review this paper so I chose one of their smaller sketchbooks as they are kinda pricey. I have only used them for markers as their claim to fame is that alcohol markers won’t bleed through but other media can be used on the pages.


  • Heavy #110 paper (although it did not seem as thick as other #110 cardstock I have used)
  • Does not bleed through so you can work on both sides
  • Sketchbook is bound nicely and had a grippy cover


  • The paper does not allow good blending with alcohol markers
  • When layering colors you get hard edges, it is nearly impossible for me to go back in and adjust something.

Bottom Line: RENDR paper is good if you want a sketchbook where you can work on both sides of the paper with alcohol pens without worry of color bleeding through. I have had a lot of people ask me to try other mediums on this paper so I will report back with my results in an upcoming blog post or video.

The comparison paper I used was #80 Neenah Classic Crest

Stampendous Curio Stamps

These attractive shaped wood stamps stamp beautifully and are designed to display.


  • Stamps great
  • Shaped mount is painted black so it stays looking pristine
  • Cute designs that you would be likely to use over and over again.


That was a lot of products to get through here but it is fun to put new things to the test to determine if they are worth the money or storage space in out craft room. As with any supply I think it depends. Only you know if a product will be useful to you so with my reviews I aim to be unbiased and to show you what they can do. As with all of my reviews they are not sponsored but I have used affiliate links at no cost to you if you want to check the products out and support my blog at the same time. Please don’t feel like you have to buy though and only buy something if it will add value to your life. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Arteza Colored Pencil Review & Unrelated Marker Sale:)

Hi friends! I posted this review to YouTube a week ago but hadn’t had a chance to blog it and I had grand plans to make cards with the colored samples from the video but that did not happen either. I even went down to my studio a couple of times to work on those cards but got distracted by reorganizing some things. I was actually a lot of fun because since my big konmari declutter last year I have not had to clean and rearrange much and I kinda missed that! Today we are going to take a look at the Arteza Expert Colored Pencil Set of 72.  I was curious about these pencils because they were new and almost everything I have tried from Arteza has beat my expectations. These pencils were no exception. Here is a hand colored swatch on the colors in this set. I blended the colors with Gamsol and the paper is from my Canson XL mixed media journal.


The colors in the set are very bright and they easily dissolved with solvent. They soft and smooth to color with requiring little pressure and I had no issues with breaking when I sharpened them. Fort a full review and to see them in action on toned and white paper watch the video.

Video Review:


I contacted Arteza about the lightfastness ratings on their products and got good news:
+++ = at least 100 years;
++= at least 25-100 years;
+= at least 10-25 years

Most of the pencils were +++ and up so it seems like we have a lightfast product, I think colors with white added are less lightfast because the pigments get spread out more (as is the case with watercolor) so that might be why the white only had a 1 star rating.


  • Low price
  • Thick creamy lead
  • Layers well
  • Vibrant color
  • Leads did not bread when sharpening or when used with heavy pressure
  • Color index is pretty accurate on barrel
  • Blends well
  • Works well with solvent
  • Packaged snugly in removable plastic trays in a high quality reusable tin for storage


  • Only available in sets
  • Not many pale opaque shades (this totally is a “me” thing because I almost always work on toned or dark paper.)

Bottom line: I like these pencils a lot. the perform well, are bright and lightfast. I prefer some more opaque light shades but I can use these with other pencils I have so it’s not a big deal. These Arteza set of 72 pencils are currently around $25 and so are the Prismacolor set of 72. Personally because I like to work on toned paper I prefer Prismacolor but they tend to break more easily. If you are only working on white paper I’d recommend the Arteza but they are very similar in quality so the choice is yours. I suspect that the Arteza pencil leads might be glued to the barrel the whole way down and that is why there was not any breakage because they feel as soft as prismacolor, it is a big plus! Both pencils will work well together so you can enjoy the vivid, bright transparent hues of Arteza with the softer, opaque, pastel tones of Prismacolor. I am grateful that these companies are bringing high quality pencils to a budget minded consumer. I have not tried the Arteza 72 watercolor pencils that are wood cased but their woodless set of 24 are amazing if you are looking for watercolor pencils. If you are interested in a review of their set of 72 watercolor pencils let me know in the comments and I will see what I can do:)

And speaking of deals…

When I reviewed these Studio 71 markers a few months ago they sold out overnight and were out of stock for months. They are a great deal at regular price but Consumer Crafts has the packs on sale this week, the 6 packs are $6, 12 packs are $10, 24 packs are $20 and the much coveted 48 pack that was sold out for months is on sale for $36. Their open stock markers are not on sale but they are $1.97 everyday (although they go on sale for $1 sometimes) and I love that they have all the colors available individually. These colors match the Blick Illustrator, #coloring, Artist Loft and new Premiere by Nicole dual brush markers (review coming soon) and all of the color numbers are listed on the website when you order so you can check that you are not buying duplicates if you own any of those other brands. These markers are also loads cheaper than the above mentioned brands and feature a brush and chisel tips.


The brush tips on the Studio 71 markers are fiber/felty and not foam like Copic so they are not as flexible and they may fray if you are rough with them. They would not be great for brush lettering because the amount you would want to be able to flex the nib would wear it out quickly but if you want a nice brush tip marker for coloring these will do the trick! I have the set of 48 and I was able to make these blends for the markers in the box, I think it is a great deal and for 75 cents per marker in this set you can’t beat it. I wrote the numbers on the swatch next to each shell so you can have the recipes and remember the numbers are the same for Artist Loft, Premerie by Nicole (the new ones), Blick Illustrator, #coloring as well as the Studio 71 brand so you can use these blends with any of those brands.


Please don’t feel obliged to buy anything I recommend, as always use what you have first. I just wanted to make sure you knew about the sale if you were disappointed they the sold out after the review I did last summer. That’s all for today, thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

A quick sketch with new alcohol pens

Hi friends! I have been waiting months to share a sketch I did with some new markers. I am fortunate to have to opportunity to occasionally test new products and offer feedback before they are released to the public for purchase. I get to share what’s great (or not so great) about a supply with a manufacturer so they can see if the product is ready for market or not and avoid disappointed customers or costly mistakes. I had no qualms with these markers, they were rich, juicy and comfy to use! Here is a sketch I did with the new pens, they are the Azure alcohol markers by Royal & Langnickel.


You can’t see it in the tutorial but they also come in plastic trays that stack and can be reused as storage. I haven’t seen the markers online for purchase yet but they are being shipped to stores as we speak so now I can show them to you!


I added a bit of white gel pen and colored pencil over the markers as shown in the video. Colored pencil does not like to grab to marker paper so the effect was subtle and sheer. That’s all I have for today, I just wanted to pop in quickly and share this sketch! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

How To Draw and Paint a Bird of Paradise Flower (for beginners) and a Cheap Paint Review!

Hi friends! I developed this project to satisfy three viewer requests:  1. Paint a Valentines card, 2. paint a bird of paradise flower and 3 review the  MozArt Komorebi  watercolor paints.


These paints remind me a lot of Gansai Tambi watercolors, you can see my review of those here. In today’s video we will sketch and paint a bird of paradise and discuss the difference between eastern and western watercolor paints. This is a great beginner project of warm up for a day of painting. Have fun with it!


Review of the MozArt Komorebi watercolors.

Product details:
40 full pans of colors that are housed in individual full pans that can be removed. Comes with a paintable color chart, plastic liner that can be used as a mixing surface and metal tin.

Cost: $25
Rich vibrant colors including 6 neon and 8 metallics
Contains good bright clear primaries as well as convenience mixes
Works well on lightly sized paper like art journals and cardstock as the paint is a bit thick.

No pigment info available
Does not move much on paper compared to traditional watercolor paints
No refill pans available

Who is this paint best for? This is an “eastern style” watercolor paint which means it is thicker and designed for use on unsized paper like rice paper so I would recommend this paint for cardmakers, scrapbookers, art journalers and papercrafters as it will be much easier to work with on uncoated papers and cardstocks than traditional watercolors. Also because I can’t find pigment info the colors are probably not lightfast so I wouldn’t recommend them for permanent work that will be hung in sunlight. They should be just fine in a journal though.

Bottom line: If you like the popular Gansai Tambi watercolors you will like the MozArt Komorebi  too as they feel and behave the same as far as I can tell from my work with both brands of paint. Good paint for the price!

Layered Marker Blending Tutorial, A Marker Review & More!

Hi friends! Happy 2018! Today I am going to share a fun technique I call marker layering. It is a great way to get pretty blends with alcohol markers even if you don’t have many colors.


First let me share a couple of tips for using alcohol-based markers:

  1. Use a compatible stamping ink (if stamping) or pen if sketching. Basically you want an ink the markers won’t react to. My favorite ink is Memento (any color you like but I use Tuxedo Black and Rich Cocoa the most and the small pads are fine) and my favorite pens for touching up of sketching before coloring are Pigma Micron.
  2. Use a smooth cardstock or marker paper. My favorite is Neenah #80 Classic Crest in Solar White. I get it by the ream and it lasts years. By the ream it is about 15 cents per 8 1/2″x11″ sheet.
  3. When buying markers start off with lighter colors, you can layer and blend easier with these and they are much easier to control.
  4. Get a range of greys to start out with can you can color an image in grayscale and glaze colors on top (kinda like tinting a photo) for a complete look that is easy on the wallet!
  5. Store double ended markers horizontally so both ends of the marker stay inked.

Now on to the video! I will be demonstrating with the Blick Illustrator Markers which apparently are the same in color and number as the Studio 71, Art Alternatives #Coloring and Artist Loft ones. You can follow along with whatever you have that is closest in color.

The bird stamp I am using is from Rubbernecker.

Review & Comparison of Blick Illustrator Markers!


  • Price (24 set was $29 regular price, I paid $18)
  • Brush tip*
  • Nice light colors in set make blending and layering easy. Great starter colors
  • The 24 set has a lovely assortment of light colors that are wonderful for layering and blending. Most smaller sets only have vivid colors which are less versatile for stampers.


  • Limited time only product, might not be available once sold out.
  • No open stock (but they are the same colors as Darice Studio 71 so you can get replacements from them)
  • Brush tip is fiber/felt, and not the more durable foam like copics
  • No grey tones in the 24 set.
  • Only availabe in sets of 12 or 24
  • Not refillable

Bottom line: These are nearly identical (except in marker body shape) to Studio 71 markers by Darice. I have a review on the Studio 71 markers here. 16 of the colors in the Blick set of 24 were in the studio 71 set of 48 and those also run about $1 a marker in sets so you can replace markers with that line if need be or if you want to add to your set to avoid duplicates as they are numbered the same. The Art Alternative brand also uses the same number color system. I did find replaceable brush nibs for the Art Alternatives markers that should work in any of these pens but the are more expensive than buying a brand new pen!

A Bargain Pick (but no brush nib)

If you are looking for another bargain marker but one with a bullet Chisel nib the Ohuhu markers are the best deal at about 50 cents a marker in sets. And if you need to replace a marker or add to the collection the Concept markers from Jerry’s Artarama are the same in color name and number, and so are the Nicolle Art Marker but I think those only come in a 24 set at AC Moore. You can see my Review of the Ohuhu markers here. *The color numbers on these markers (in this paragraph) do not match the Blicks. I just thought it was neat to group up markers that seem to use the same color coding or were made in the same factory. That way you can add on and avoid duplications ans get replacements if you run out of a favorite color without having to rebuy an entire set. I was annoyed that I go so many duplicates but Then I thought it would be a good teachable moment. 🙂


Keep in mind that the ink in any brand of alcohol pens is very similar and you can use them together. It is a shame to buy duplicates if you can help it so hopefully this review was useful.

One more thing! Only a few hours left to save 35% on my classes!

Use coupon code: HOLIDAY17 to save 35% on any of my watercolor courses. This deal ends at midnight tonight, January 1st 2018, Eastern Time!


Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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