Portable Painter Micro Review

Today we will have a look at the latest offering from The Portable Painter, the Portable Painter Micro!

The original portable painter is my favorite travel palette. I love everything about it and it accompanies me on all of my outdoor painting adventures. The main reason I love it is because there are two water buckets that attach to the sides making legs for my palette that can keep my paint up high off a sandy beach, or can rest on the arm of an Adirondack chair or rest on my leg as I paint from a Kayak or canoe. You can see the original in the photo below.

This is the original I recommend 100% The Micro is much smaller and comes with 6 half pans that you can fill with the paint of your choosing. They also make packs of extra half and full pans so you can have 1 full pan and 4 half pans or 2 full pans and two half pans is it works out better than having the original 6 for you. The extras are also handy if you want to swap out pans and rearrange them. All other half and full pans I tried from other manufactures fit in the micro palette so purchasing the extras from a portable painter aren’t necessary and that also means that if you have a collection of pans already you can put them in the micro as you like. No need to fill more pans, nice! The palette can be arranged for left or right-hand use. Watch the video to see more!

For me holding the palette with water in it will take some getting used to, I prefer it to sit on a table and it takes so little space it would be great for painting in crowded cafes or classes (on small projects.) I found as I used it more I preferred to use it with a waterbrush and use the water area as a place to mic or clean my waterbrush, I think putting a small sponge in that section would work better (with a waterbrush) then filling it with water. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

What the heck are phosphorescent watercolors?

Hi friends! I saw an intriguing new set of watercolor by Paul Rubens and I had to give them a try. They were labeled as phosphorescent. I think of phosphorescent as glowing under uv or blacklight but that is not the case here. Watch my video review to get the scoop and find out if they are worth adding to your collection.

Overview: This set costs around $60 at the time of review. You get 24 extremely transparent colors (more transparent than their original pans) in a heavy metal enameled tin. You can choose between pink or navy for the exterior color but the paint colors are the same in each. You can check them out here. (affiliate link) and if you scroll down you can see the colors in the set with pigment names which is handy because the print on the packaging is so tiny. Also, I noticed a typo on the printed swatch that came in the kit so I would refer to the info on the listing for accurate info.

Pros:

  • Low(ish) price, they run about $20 more than the original Paul Rubens 24 half pans but the palette is nicer
  • Wonderful vivid colors with a few unusual colors not typically found in sets.
  • Good mixing range
  • Subtle shimmer in all colors with the blues having the greatest glitter effect.

Cons:

  • The glitter is very subtle in this paint so if you want an opaque shine you will want their original glitter metallic paint
  • This paint will not show up well on black

Bottom line: I like these paints. They are more like a traditional watercolor than a metallic as they only have a hint of mica in them. They mix well and are a pleasure to work with. I recommend them as long as you don’t need a really metallic paint. If you want to see another review of this product check out Kimberly Crick Art’s review. It’s always good to get a couple of opinions before investing n a new product I think:) Happy crafting!

Review of Arrtx Jelly Cup Style Gouache

Hi friends! Today I have a review of Arrtx Jelly cup style gouache. Gouache is a really neat medium, it is opaque, fast drying and layerable but can be re-wet and reworked as much as you like. It is an opaque watercolor that can give a similar look to oils and acrylics with ease of use and cleanup. You can use gouache to follow along with acrylic or oil tutorials too with little modifications. I like materials that are ready to go when I am with little set up time and this palette fits that bill.

Watch the video for more info.

The new Arrtx gouache set features 18 jelly cup style containers of gouache. Each container is 30ml and housed in a sturdy reusable palette box.

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Comes with pigment information
  • Opaque colors-great coverage
  • Includes good mixing primaries
  • High-quality palette box including a washable palette that inserts in lid
  • Wells go all the way up to the top of the lid so if you prefer to let your paints dry out you won’t have to worry about paint cracking and mixing. You also won’t have to worry about liquid paints mixing but store it flat to prevent leaking between colors.

Cons:

  • The bright yellow color of the palette and box might be distracting when mixing colors (white or grey would be preferable)

Bottom line: I really like these paints. Often with affordable gouache, I feel like I need to let the paint dry out a bit to make them thick enough to perform well but these are great right out of the pot. I love that they use mostly tried and true pigments and that they include that info so I can better gauge how lightfast they will be. They painted out well, dried quickly on paper, and behave like other artist quality gouache I have used in the past. The colors are different from the 18 Himi gouache paint set and I do feel that the quality has improved over that set which was distributed by the same company Lightwish on Amazon. I think both sets would complement each other. You can find out more about this product here.

Happy crafting!

Comparing Colored Pencils LIVE 3pm ET today!

Hi friends! One of the upsides of being home with a light workload is that I get to explore things that I otherwise wouldn’t have time to. I recently received a new set of colored pencils and while I was using it I found the need to compare them to another brand I had, which made me want to try that next a another brand which lead to to swatching out nearly all of my artist grade pencils and I took notes on their unique qualities and differences. While the info was fresh in my mind I thought it might be useful to do a live comparison for you so if you are in the market for a set of pencils you could see how they compare and ask question about any particular brand. I asked my friend Harry from The Art Gear Guide to visit in the chat to provide more info as well. It should be a really informative hour! If you want more info on any particular brand you can use the search bar on my blog to look up a review on it, I think I have done separate reviews on most of the brands I am discussing today.

My table awaiting the live-stream.

You can watch the livestream or reply in the player below but if you want to ask me questions during the broadcast you will want to watch on the YouTube watch page at 3pm Eastern Time.

Here is a list of the pencils we will look at today. I have grouped them but similar feeling pencils. This by no means is a representation of all the pencils available on the market (I don’t know anyone who has them all and part of the reason I have so many is because in addition to ones I purchased I have been given gifts over the years as well as had brands send some for review. You do not need this many.) Pencils with a * are also available open stock so you can purchase a couple of pencils to try them out before investing in a whole set. That is what I did with any sets I personally purchased.

Soft (waxy) pencils:

Medium firmness oily feeling lead:

Medium-Soft/Dry feeling pencils:

Medium Hard Waxy feeling Pencils:

Hard Dry Feeling pencils:

Specialty pencils:

I recommend seeking out several opinions before investing in expensive pencils. A couple of colored pencil reviewers I really like are The Art Gear Guide and Coloring Bliss. Owings Art also has quite a few colored pencils reviews on his channel. I respect the views and opinions of these channels and I am sure you will glean some useful info from them. For colored pencil tutorials, I recommend Lachri Fine Art. She is super talented, upbeat and energetic!

If you would like to improve your drawing skills and save 50% please check out my course Learn to Draw with Lindsay (there is even a couple of colored pencils tutorials in there) and get half off by clicking this special discount link, Regular price $79, with coupon $39.50. If the discount doesn’t show up use Coupon Code NOFOOLING to take 50% off this or any other class in my online school through tomorrow. It’s a great time to learn something new! Offer ends 5/1/2020, click orange “add coupon” at checkout and type in coupon code NOFOOLING to receive 50% off any class in my online school.

I hope to see you at 3pm ET on YouTube! Til then happy crafting!

Review of Altenew Watercolor Brush Pens

Hi friends, today I have a review of the new Altenew watercolor brush markers. These pens are actually a fine tip ink filled water brush meaning when you run out you can refill them with liquid watercolor or wash them and reuse the pen as a water brush. I want to mention that because I love being able to reuse a product once empty or refill it. These pens come in a variety of themed sets and I was sent the Spring Garden set to review.

Pros:

  • Refillable, ink refills available for purchase or you can buy the markers with the ink refills for a discount.
  • Individual ink refills available
  • High quality reusable water-brush.
  • Fine point on brush
  • Easy to squeeze to get started however I recommend starting the ink flow on a palette so you don’t get a surprise blob of ink on your work.
  • Colors blend and mix well
  • Very clean and transparent color

Cons:

  • As with most markers of this ilk they are probably not lightfast so more suitable for cardmaking, art journaling or sketchbook work and not art that will he hung on the wall for long periods of time as fading may occur.
  • The marker only has a tiny dot indicating the color on the label and the ink looks march darker than it is so I recommend taping a swatch of the ink on the marker as I did in the review for quick and easy color identification.

Bottom line:

I think the fact that these brush pens are good quality, have a fine tip and are refillable make them a solid value. There is an initial upfront cost as with most media but would be very economical over the long run. As with any supply though, it’s only a good buy if you actually use them and they make your other supplies more useful. They are very similar to the Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers so if you like those but want a finer tip you will like these too. Since these pens are filled with a liquid ink you may not like these if you want a more slowly controlled ink flow like you would get with the Arteza or Zig Real Brush pen with a felt in the barrel. I did not find the Altenew watercolor brush markers difficult to control but there is a lot more ink ready to go at your disposal than a marker with a felt inside so I wanted to mention that. I hope you found this review helpful and til next time happy crafting!

Disclosure: Art materials were sent to me at no cost for the purpose of review. Affiliate links used.

New Altenew Artist Grade Watercolor Review

Hi friends! Let’s Have a look at the new artist’s watercolors from the stamping company Altenew. Altenue created these watercolors as a step up from the previous 36 half pan of student/craft grade paints they previously released. I never tried the first version so I can’t compare them. This review is only on the new 24 half pan set. I received this paint set for free for review. This paint set retails for $49.99 at the time of review You can find the 24 Artist watercolor set here.

Pros:

  • Beautiful high-quality tin/palette-no sharp edges
  • Each pan is labeled with color name.
  • Pigment info on Pan
  • Colors mix cleanly
  • Colors are vibrant and very transparent
  • Colors have a nice flow and blend well.
  • Glazing 2-3 layers is possible
  • Colors lift easily.
  • Very easy set to paint with

Cons:

  • Typos on Pigment info
  • Many mixed pigments and fugitive colors
  • Color names are non-standard and may hinder someone trying to paint along with tutorials where customary color names are used.

Bottom line: Honestly, I liked painting with this set of Altenew watercolors very much, I found the paints easy to use and I loved the fact the half pans were labeled making it easy to see what color was what. These are designed to coordinate with Altenews other inks and markers but I found the names were not the same as their other products. I think these will work well over stamped images as they are transparent. I would recommend these to stampers, or artists working in a sketchbook due to lightfast concerns or any beginner who wants to play with paint and have an artist quality experience without the hefty price tag but I would encourage them to transcribe the colors to traditional artist color names so they can more easily follow tutorials. the only real negative I have is the fugitive colors and typos on the pigment numbers which I have seen on other brands too. Other than that I give them a thumbs up!

Review of Paper Fashion Watercolors by American Crafts

Hi friends! Today I am reviewing the 12 set of watercolor from Paper Fashion by American Crafts. It’s never been a better time to be a watercolor painter because in addition to the pricey established professional brands of paint that might be out of reach for many there are good quality craft brands you can try and see if it’s for you without a big outlay of cash. In today’s review we will take a look at these paints, see a couple paintings I did with them and compare them to other similar brands that you might already have or know about.

Pros:

  • Price (I paid $16 for this set on Amazon, MSRP is $30)
  • Good quality for price (similar to Mungyo, Prima and jane davenport-I surmise they are the same paint actually)
  • Nice color selection *Needs a strong blue like ultramarine tho
  • Nice tin
  • Vibrant saturated colors
  • Great flow

Cons:

  • I would like an ultramarine and phthalo blue in this kit
  • I personally don’t care for a white and black in a limited palette set but that’s just me.
  • $30 is too much for thin in my opinion so snag it with a coupon or on amazon where it is less.
  • Lifts easily, not great for more than 2 layers

Bottom line, this is the same quality and feel as Mungyo, Prima and Jane Davenport paints. If you like those you will like these. The is a different color arrangement but you will find these colors in the 48 Mungyo set for around $50 if you want more colors and no duplication like you will get if you collect the JD and prima sets. I have reviews for the other brands I mentioned here: Prima, Mungyo, and Jane Davenport. If you are considering any of these paints I recommend watching the reviews and then going with the palettes that meet your color preferences because there is no point in buying the same colors in duplicate unless you are using them up at a fast clip. I hope you found this useful and til next time happy crafting!

Art-n-Fly Watercolor Review

Hi friends! I have another inexpensive watercolor set review for you today. This palette was sent to me for free from Art-n-Fly with no strings attached. I have really enjoyed using their markers and oil based colored pencils in the past so I decided to give them a try and they surprised me in a couple of ways. Watch the review to see why.

Details: This set of 72 watercolors runs around $40. It features 72 half pans of watercolor, 2 waterbrushes in a large tin where the lid is white for ample mixing room. there are sponges for cleaning your waterbrushes. The palette is metal with a plastic clasp around all the metal edges for stability and no sharp edges. Paints can be purchased on the ArtnFly website or on Amazon.

Pros:

  • Paints rewet well (in fact I don’ recommend preactivating them with water of they can get thick)
  • Colors are bright and transparent with the exception of the pastel shades.
  • Large mixing area on the tin lid (paints don’t bead up on lid either)
  • Price: about 55 cents a half pan
  • These paints mix cleanly (use bright transparent colors for best results)
  • Wonderful gold and pearl pigments
  • Strong fluorescent colors.
  • Super opaque dark clean black
  • Colors match Pantone number system

Cons:

  • Paints activate easily but wear down easily too. I have notable wear on the pans over just a couple uses.
  • Pastel colors are streaky
  • Some colors are very same-y, There are several similar reds, yellows and blues in this set.
  • Palette is quite large and thick and may be inconvenient for travel or if you have a small work desk.
  • If used thickly on watercolor paper you will get a gloss finish, this might be undesirable.

Unique features: These remind me of Gansai paint with their quick activation, creamy consistency, and bright, glossy colors. If you like Gansai Tambi and want smaller pans with a greater variety of colors you will love these.

Bottom line, If you like to play with watercolor on a variety of surfaces this might be the paint for you. It is acceptable on watercolor paper but if you work in layers you will end up with shiny spots on your work. If you primarily do loose work in one layer these will be great. Like Gansai Tambi these are also good in poorly sized paper like cardstock and rice paper giving you more bang for your buck and versatility. I would use these more for crafting or Sumi-E/Chinese brush style work and use my traditional western watercolor for work on watercolor paper but this is a fun set to experiment with or lend to my kids or any craft friend looking to try watercolors with a very forgiving paint. I hope you found this review useful and til next time happy crafting!

Another Weird Palette You Might Like.

Hi friends! Boy oh boy have companies upped their game bringing out strange watercolor palettes?

With the holiday’s rolling around I thought you might enjoy seeing this one and the paint is actually quite good, just like the paint in the fan palettes that were all the rage last year. Either one would make a fun stocking-suffer for a painter or hobbyist.

Today I am reviewing the ARTSY 38 color folding watercolor palette with 3 water brushes. (affiliate links used)

This novelty palette features removable pans that can be rearranged to your liking and comes in a storage wallet with 3 refillable water brushes for under $20. The paint seems identical to the fan palette I reviewed last year, infact they also make an identical palette with the artsy branding on it.

Both palettes have a separate mixing area and a sponge to blot your brush on. As the paints are identical in color and quality I will review them both here (and my review would be the same as the other fan palette I reviewed)
Pros:

  • Low price
  • clean transparent colors
  • Colors glaze well
  • Included water brushes are good quality
  • Packaged in a reusable clear plastic wallet for storage

Cons:

  • No lightfast info
  • No replacement pans available

I think this is a great option for travel where lightfastness is not a concern (such as working in a sketchbook) or for practice or crafts. This would be a nice stocking stuffer too. You really can’t beat this quality for the price (under $20) and you have to admit the small fold-up aspect is super cute.

That it for me today! Happy creating!

They’ve Changed! Spectrum Noir Illustrator Markers Review

Hi friends! I had been asked to review Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers a few times since they came out a couple of years ago. I was hesitant because I have noticed with Spectrum Noir products they tend to come out with a product, get feedback from customers and then improve it on the next version. I basically didn’t want to get their test run LOL! Especially since all of the Spectrum Noir markers are a refillable product if I am going to have it for years and years I want the best version. My instincts were right on these markers because they just released an improved version of the marker with higher quality brush nibs. I heard the older version’s nibs were the kind that frayed and wore out easily but I am happy to report that’s no longer the case. Watch the video to learn more about these markers and read the full review below for additional info.

The new spectrum Noir Illustrator markers feature flexible (foam-rubber like) fray resistant nibs and are available open stock and in sets of 6, 12 and 36 currently. They are part of the Spectrum Noir coloring system and match your other SN markers and can be refilled with the SN refill inks making them a totally reusable marker. If you have the older style Illustrator markers (or even the classics) you can use the new replacement nibs in them if they wear out. The nibs will be available soon and ll 216 colors are ink is now available on the Crafter’s Companion website. BTW Blick has the refill ink on the old glass bottle packaging at a lower price if you wanted to stock up!

As with any marker I recommend swatching them on the paper you typically use so you know what color to expect. Crafter’s Companion offers free color charts you can print and color yourself here. *Or if you want the swatch stamps I use you can find them here.

Pros:

  • Price- $4 individual or $2-$3 each if bought in sets
  • Smooth ink in vibrant colors
  • Sets are arranged in thoughtful color groupings
  • Refillable, reinkers available here.
  • Easy to blend
  • The flexible brush end gives wide to fine strokes and the bullet tip is ultra-fine for tiny details.

Cons:

  • There may still be old stock out there so be sure you are getting the new version. I asked my contact at Crafter’s Companion how to tell new from old stock and she said this: The Illustrators have a darker font on the pen itself, the new is a grey the old is a beige. Old nibs can be swapped out for the new ones tho so if you have the old version no need to upgrade, just replace the nibs as needed.
  • The color chip at the end is inlaid so it is hard to tell what color is what if the markers are laying on your table. I would want to make a swatch to wrap around the barrel of have them standing in a cup as I worked. It’s a small annoyance and doesn’t affect the performance of the marker but it would keep me from grabbing these over others.

Bottom line…

I like the Spectrum Noir coloring system. I like how you can refill markers and if you were a stamper or a coloring book hobbyist starting from scratch this would be a nice option as you could build your stash as needed and refill your markers when they go dry instead of tossing them. The bullet tip is very small so I see that being the biggest plus to stampers or coloring book artists who want an alcohol marker to make fine lines. If you already have the classic Spectrum Noir markers or the old illustrators I wouldn’t necessarily recommend upgrading them unless you love the look of the new version because the rep I talked to said you can use the new nibs in the old bodies so the only reason to upgrade to the new style would be purely cosmetic. Crafter’s Companion has been around for quite a while and they have invested heavily in coloring tools so I trust they they will be around for a long time to support their materials which is huge. What do you think? Have you used these markers? Let us know what you think in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

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