A cheap Copic Alternative? Studio 71 Dual Tip Brush Marker Review!

Hi friends! When viewers ask me to review a product I try to make it happen. That’s how I happened to find out about the new line of brush tip alcohol pens by Studio 71 from Darice.

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I had seen these markers advertised from Consumer Crafts a couple of days before the request came in and I didn’t look twice at them but when I found out they had a brush tip and a chisel tip for a crazy low price I was intrigued! The set of 48 colors I am reviewing today sells for $49.97 currently and the clear blender is $1.47 and USA orders over $49 ship free so that makes the per marker price in the set $1.04. That’s pretty cheap. What to see the quality? Then watch today’s video review! *Even if you don’t need markers I have some blending tips and tricks that will work with any brand of alcohol pens:)

Video!

In all honesty the ink that comes in most alcohol pens are about the same quality and all alcohol markers that I have tried work well with other brands. The ink on the paper will practically be the same (in my opinion) no matter what brand you choose. With that said this review will compare the blendability, value and comfort and use of the Studio 71 set of 48 Alcohol pens from Darice. Here is my swatch of the colors in the kit on Neenah Classic Crest paper. Regardless of what brand of markers you have you should swatch them out on the paper you most often use so you can get predictable results in your coloring.

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Pros:

  • Price: $1.04-$1.08 per marker depending on the size set you buy, open stock is $1.47 *this is the least expensive I have EVER seen a quality dual tip brush alcohol marker.
  • Color selection in the 48 pack is superb, I feel like there is just enough shades of each color family that I can blend what I would need in most cases.
  • Marker Nibs: The brush tips make coloring and blending fast and easy and the chisel tip is useful for forcing blends if I am making a big jump in color of if I want to highlight, or lift out, a darker color.
  • Non-roll triangular barrel, comfortable to hold
  • Easy to Remove caps (Also easy to replace caps without worry of damaging the marker tip)
  • Product packaging can be used as a storage case allowing you to store the markers flat or upright. (I recommend storing flat)

Cons:

  • Not refillable (at this time)
  • As with most art markers there are some duplicates between sets so if you are buying multiple packs check the colors. Spectrum Noir is the only brand I know that has no duplicates between sets/packs. *Note: The Spectrum Noir Core Essentials set from Hobby Lobby WILL have duplicates but not the packs from online retailers like Consumer Crafts or Hallmark Scrapbook. (I just got that info this morning.)

Here are the blending examples from the video. I noted what colors I used next to each shell. I hope you find it useful! You can look up the colors from the swatch above if you are trying to get these blends with other brands of markers as well, like I said, the ink in any alcohol pen is pretty much the same. The quality of the nibs and the price is where the brands differ.

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Summary: I found the Studio 71 markers to perform as well as any of my other brush tip alcohol pens. The nib flexibility was between a Copic and a Winsor & Newton Brush Marker (The Copic being a slight bit more flexible but that may be because I have been using it longer.) These markers blended very well and the color selection in the 48 pack contained all of the essential colors needed to produce all the shades I’d need for 95% of my projects. (of course it is easier to blend the more colors you have but this set has a great selection.)

Bottom Line, You can’t go wrong with the quality of these markers for the price. I looked at converting my Spectrum Noir alcohol pens to brush pens but the brush nibs are about $2 each and you can get a whole studio 71 marker for around $1. It comes down to what your needs are, if you want hundreds of refillable markers than this is not for you but if you want great results with a smaller selection of quality pens on the cheap give Studio 71 a try!

Resources/supplies:

I hope you enjoyed the tips and tricks in todays videos. Remember the best supplies to use are the ones you already have but I always enjoy finding out what’s new on the market! Thank you for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

 

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Chameleon Color Tone Pencil Review {Are They Worth the $$$?}

Hi friends! Today we will take a look at the new Chameleon color tone pencils.

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They are dual ended pencils that have 2 shades of the same color on each pencil so all you have to do is flip the pencil around to shade your image.
Cost: $50
Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Blends well
  • Little wax “bloom”
  • Highly pigmented
  • Opaque
  • Quicker coloring due to the fact the coordinating shade/highlight color are on one pencil
  • High quality
  • Price (25 pencils = 50 colors-about $1 per color)
  • Strong lead resists breaking
  • Layers well
  • Smooth laydown
  • Intense color can be varied with pressure of coloring
  • Nice packaging serves as a storage caddy so you can see all of your colors when working.

Cons:

  • Only 25 pencils available for a total of 50 colors
  • Currently no open stock available (they do offer open stock for their markers as well as replacement nibs and ink refills so maybe they will offer open stock pencils in the future)
  • No lightfast rating given (Although the pencils are made from the Breviller company in Austria and is known for quality, it would be nice to have this info though but it is often left out for products aimed at the craft market vs. fine art market.

Watch the video demonstration to see them in action!

Observations:
These are a medium/hard colored pencil. They are not “creamy” like a prismacolor or as soft as a polychromos. They are wax based but not as waxy as others and burnishing produces very little bloom. These are semi opaque and are nice if you want to color on dark cardstock as well as light. Colors dissolve well with solvent.

Bottom line: I like these for quick and easy coloring. I would still probably take the time to pull out my Coloursoft, prismacolor or Polychomos pencils if I was doing a large serious artwork but for cardmaking and papercrafting I would reach for these first because they are space and time-saving. I like them:)

You can find Chameleon Color tones pencils as well as all of their markers on their website. Click “buy” and select your country and you can get the products worldwide.
In the USA the prices are a bit better on Amazon. They have good prices on their markers too.

You can find the stamp set I used from TopFlight Stamps. Use coupon code thefrugalcrafter10 to save 10% on your order!

What do you think? Are they worth the money? I think they are great for portability and for keeping 50 colors on hand in a small space. They are a bit harder than I like but that keeps them from breaking as easily, again making them portable. Let me know what you think in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

Rembrandt Watercolor Review & Programming Notes!

Hi friends! First up I want to let you know that I will be away teaching a workshop on beautiful Monhegan Island this week so there will be no live stream on Friday. I do have a long, live narrated watercolor tutorial of peaches in a bowl coming up next Tuesday or Wednesday but I might not have a new watercolor tutorial for you before then. Luckily I have hundreds in the archive so you can check out my vast number of playlists if you are in the mood to paint:) I will have a couple cardmaking videos and a vlog posting this week but I didn’t want my watercolor friends to think I abandoned them:) Hopefully I will return from my trip with lots of new watercolor inspiration and coastal scenes to paint! Today though we have a review of Rembrandt watercolors. There were a great deal on Amazon recently and I grabbed a set, unfortunately they are now almost double the price so if you are interested I’d just keep an eye on them to see if they drop. Here is the video review.

Here are a couple paintings I did with these paints:

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I have been painting with my new set of Rembrandt watercolor for a couple of weeks and I am really enjoying them. They are high quality watercolors (with high price to go with them usually) but when I saw a good deal on them I decided to try them.

The paints are available in tubes and pans. I am reviewing the 48 half pan set. You can also get a 12 half pan set and a 24 half pan set. *Note, the half pan sets are usually cheapest at amazon but if you want to refill the pans you will likely get a better price at Jerry’s Artarama, Blick or Cheap Joes.

Pros:
vibrant colors
26 single pigments *out of 48 set
Wonderful for glazing, colors stay bright and luminous
Nice palette included, no sharp edges

Cons:
The price has been jacked up on the 48 set since I reviewed it and list price is $510!?!
Two of the reds in the 48 set are very samey (they even use the same mixed pigments) and I found them rather dull, I would much rather have a Quin rose than the carmine or scarlet

This paint is quickly becoming a favorite and if you can try it at a reasonable price (not the crazy list price) I would recommend it. I have also used rembrandt in the tubes and find the quality of that excellent as well. The company who makes Rembrandt also makes a fantastic student line called VanGogh and it is one of the best student paints and I recommend them if the Rembrandt paints are not in your budget.  I hope you found this review helpful and til next time happy crafting!

 

Easy Peony Flower Painting & Viviva Colorsheet Review!

Hi friends! Today I have a new product review and a tutorial. We will paint a peony flower and learn about Viviva Colorsheets, a new watercolor that comes in a paper booklet.

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I recommend using a paper with a good amount of sizing, these watercolors work well on cellulose watercolor paper like Starthmore Visual Journal.

Review:
Pros: Very transparent color, convenient to carry (compact), bright concentrated color (a little goes a long way), I really like this for coloring stamped images for cardmaking

Cons: Dye based color may fade easily, limited amount of color on the sheets (vs tubes or pans) might not be the best value for large studio work

Bottom line, these a bright and fun, they can be slipped into a bag or sketchbook for travel. I like them for small sketches or cardmaking. You can find out more about these watercolors here. Happy crafting!

Schmincke Akademie Watercolor Review

Hi friends! Today I have a review of Schmincke Akademie watercolor. They are student grade paint made in Germany. They are hard to find in America (Thank you Dave in Munich for sending these to me for review) but can be purchased affordably in Europe. I have had many requests to review these paints so here goes….

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Video review!

Schmincke Akademie is a student grade watercolor that can be found in 24 colors. I am reviewing the 12 color set.

Pros:

  • Price: Around $25-$40 where available, about half the price of Schmincke’s artist grade Horadam colors
  • Paints uses the same tried and true pigments you expect from quality paint.
  • Nice lightfastness.
  • Clean vibrant colors
  • Good mixing ability
  • Glazes well (2 layers)

Cons:

  • The tin these came in had raw edges that were sharp as opposed to rolled edges found in most paint tins, not suitable for children.
  • I found the colors to wear down quickly, after a couple small paintings I had noticeable “wells” in the paint pans.
  • If applied thickly or in too many layers it will tend to streak or dry with glossy spots. *a common trait with student paints, par for the course.

Bottom line:
These are a lovely student grade set on par with Cotman, Grumbacher Academy and Van Gogh just be aware that the 12 pan tin might be sharp. I have seen this set packaged in a tin holding 24 colors (room for 12 more) so that might be a better idea for a child or clumsy adult (like me LOL!) I hope you found this review useful and til next time happy crafting!

New Marker Review! {Cheaper Alterntaives?}

Hi friends! I recently received some markers for review from Mozart Supplies. They have dual tip brush markers and also a real brush style of marker. What sparked my interest about this company is that they will be offering an ink refill pack for the brush pens (my main criticism of the Zig Real Brush pens is that they are not refillable) Here are some sketches I did with these pens:

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The swatch and color above were done with with the brush tip pens, the color blended out well with water even after the the ink was fully dry. The sketch below was also done with the same pens but I did use some opaque acrylic pens and a white gel pens for highlights.

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The dual brush pens are very similar to other dual brush pens on the market. The ink appears to be identical to the ink in the brush tip pens. Below is a sketch I did with the dual brush pens. I used a washi tape eyeball sticker (Jane Davenport) and some opaque markers to highlight this sketch:

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In the video you can see these pens in action!

The brush tip pens are very similar to the Zig clean color real brush pens. The brush tips on the Mozart pens are a bit longer and they come to a fine point. Refills for the Mozart pens are coming soon (according to their website) where as the Zig pens do not have refills. As far as the ink it is very similar, I can use both brands of pens together and they blend with other just fine. I own the 24 set of Zig and the 20 set of Mozart and there was not a lot of color overlap between those sets but they are very similar so if you have Zigs already you probably don’t need these as they preform identically. The Mozart pens are a bit longer and their caps need to be pushed on firmly. I recommend keeping the storage try they come in because they only fit in the storage tray if the cap is secure. I love that they cost less than Zigs (retail anyway) and they preform just as well and I can soon get refills. Currently they cost $26 for a set of 20.

Dual brush pens:
These appear to use the same ink as t These pens feature a firm (felt like) brush nib similar to Tombow, Memento, Stampin Up, Distress etc and a fine writing tip. The fine tip reminds me of the old Whispers/Sugarloaf dual tip pens. The nib size is similar to stampin up, distress or memento (vs the thicker bullet nib of Tombow.) The fine tips work well now but I have not had these markers long enough to determine weather or not they will hold up. On the Whispers markers I had the fine tip dried out easily but it is too soon to say here. The blend out like Tombow, Distress or Spectrum Aqua so if you like water-coloring effect you will enjoy these. They are also suitable to marker stamping where you color a rubber stamp with markers (instead of ink) and stamp. I like these as well as any of my other dual tip watercolor markers and they cost less than most at $18/set of 12

Bottom line, if you don’t already have similar markers from other brands Mozart markers are just as good. I love that they are making a refill ink pack available. Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post but I did receive these markers for free for review purposes. Til next time happy crafting!

Winsor & Newton Watercolor Review!

Hi friends! Please excuse my brain cramp yesterday, I can’t believe I blogged the same project twice and t never occurred to me until I was scrolling through my blog looking for something this morning. Sorry about that. Today I have a paint review for you, one that has been requested a lot! Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolors. These are the paints I used on the barn owl painting on Friday.

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In this watercolor paint review we will look at Winsor & Newton Artist watercolors vs their Cotman range and also compare them to other artist quality watercolors.

I am reviewing the 24 color halfpan set I purchased on Amazon for $87

Pros:
Strong pigmentation of colors
Most single pigment colors
Good flow
re-wets easily
Paint does not bead up on metal palette
Available worldwide

Cons:
Weak earth tones
Can be very expensive (I bought them because I got a deal, this set retails for about $212)

Bottom Line, these are lovely paint and probably the most famous watercolor brand. They are nice but there are other cheaper brands on the market that are just as good though. I hope you found this review helpful and til next time happy crafting!

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