Comparing 2 paints of vastly different price points…

Hi friends, I just saw Arteza has come out with an artist-grade acrylic and I wondered how it compared to the student grade (AKA premium) paint I have been using for a while. My general opinion of Arteza products is that you get a bit more than you pay for and seeing these new expert acrylic paints with a higher price tag piqued my interest. Are the worth double or triple the price of the premium paints I have been enjoying all along? I will compare the premium tubes and pouches to the expert paints in today’s video!

FYI: Arteza products come in 3 levels: Classic-children’s grade, Premium-Student grade and Expert-Artist/professional grade. I have used many of their premium and expert products and they all live up to the claims.

Video:

Affiliate links to the products I mention. If shopping at Arteza website you can use the coupon code PROMO10 FOR 10% off. I also linked to Amazon because sometimes the price can vary between sites.

Characteristics of the premium acrylics:
*Semi-gloss sheen
*Bright colors
*High tinting strength.
*Colors mix well
*Large range of colors to choose from
*Some colors are semi-transparent due to pigments used and gloss-addition of mediums and perhaps extenders.
*soft body consistency
Price is between .03 and .07 cents per ml

Characteristics of the expert range
*Matte to Satin finish (Browns and black are a bit shinier)
*Heavy body consistency
*Great tinting strength
*colors mix cleanly
*Available in 12 colors (good mixing range)
*Costs .15 cents per ml

Differences: I noticed that the expert paint went further in a stroke and have more solid uniform coverage where some colors in the premium range could be streaky and need another coat. The matte finish of the Expert paint is a difference as well but I think is more about personal preference than a quality issue. I also noticed that even though they kept the names and color numbers consistent they did use different pigments in 4 of the expert colors but the crimson was the only one that looked different swatched out.

Bottom line:
This 12 color set would last a while and you could learn to paint and mix colors without hindrance however the premium paint is still really good at half to a third of the price. If you are someone who preferred to have a lot of colors to play with go for the premium, you can’t beat it. I think learning to mix colors might be easier with the limited palette of the Expert 12 color set tho. I like the big pouches myself because I tend to mix colors if I am painting and when I am working on crafts or furniture I like to have a large amount because I go through it. Choose what is right for you, it’s all good:) I’ll say the best value per ml is the premium tubes if the smaller tubes are useful to you.

One thing I forgot to mention is light fastness and both the premium and expert ranges had great light fast ratings so you shouldn’t worry too much about fading in either product. Which would you pick? Til next time happy crafting!

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Black Watercolor Paper?!? & 43% off Birthday Sale!

Howdy friends! Today I turn 43 so instead of dwelling on the creep towards my middle 40s (I say I’m still in my early 40’s, hubby say’s I’m in my mid-40s) I decided to celebrate by giving everyone 43% off the regular price of any of my classes in my Teachable School. Just use the coupon code HB43 at checkout. This coupon will work on payment plans as well so if you have been waiting for a sale now is the chance. The sale/coupon code is good through Sunday 7/14/19.

Today we are going to do something different, we are going to paint watercolor on black paper! What? Yes that’s right! I had some requests to paint a hummingbird after my failed attempt a couple of weeks ago so I decided to paint that bird again on black watercolor paper. I didn’t have high hopes for the paper. After all I like my watercolors transparent and that wouldn’t show up on black but then I realized that my metallic watercolors would look great on black and it would be nice to have a paper designed for that. I was able to request a free sample of the Stonehenge Aqua Black on their website (sadly that offer doesn’t seem to be available anymore) and that is what I will use in today’s demo.

Supplies (affiliate links used)

Save 43% on Any Class!

If you click any of the photos above it will take you to the class with the discount applied. If for some reason you don’t see the sale price use coupon code HB43 at checkout. I only run this sale one a year so if you have been thinking about taking a class now is a great time. Here are some reasons why!

  • You have lifetime access! You can enroll now with the savings and enjoy the classes when you have the time.
  • Go at your own pace! My online classes are broken down into smaller lessons so you can work to your goal as you have the time. There is also a pause button and you can repeat a lesson as much as you like until you prefect the technique!
  • You can ask me questions as you go and upload your artwork for direct feedback from me.
  • The cost is much less than an in person class (these classes would cost $180 to take from me in person in a group class) and you can take it on your schedule.

Remember the coupon code HB43 is only good through Sunday July 14th, 2019 in my Teachable School so now is the time to snag that class you had your eye on! Thanks for stopping by and painting with me today! Are you going to try painting on black paper? It’s a lot of fun and I hope you do! Til next time happy crafting!

Paul Rubens Tube Watercolor Review (Floral Set)

Hi friends! Today I have a new (to the US market) set of watercolors to review that would be perfect for painting all of those summer blooms! I have been using this set for about a month and I am quite pleased with the Paul Rubens Floral Watercolor Tube set especially considering the price and I have a coupon code for an extra 5% off: 05TEFY81 Watch the video for the full review!

Paul Rubens first came on the American scene with a set of 24 standard half pans in a pretty pink tin. They now have a 48 half pan set which includes most of the colors from the floral and original set of 24 colors, plus you get a palette. I wanted to mention that in case you were considering getting both the original and floral sets as getting the 48 sets would be cheaper and you would avoid getting duplicate colors because there are a couple of duplicates between the original 24 half pans and the set of 24 floral tubes. I also recommend the cheaper set of 36 student grade paint they offer, they call it “Pretty Excellent” and it really is, I have a full review here if you are interested. To be honest, I preferred the working abilities and transparency to this under $20 set of paints. You get 36 half pans in a metal tin. The paint is in a plastic tray within the tin so you can’t remove the half pans (I’m sure a cost-saving measure) but dang, they are the best deal I’ve come across in watercolors. The lightfast ratings on them were surprisingly good too so if you want to try the brand out and not invest much I can’t recommend this set highly enough! I also wanted to mention that their metallic set of watercolor paints is probably the best metallic watercolor I have ever used. There is a full comparison here if you are interested.

Pros:

  • Price (under $60 for 24 12ml tubes, save 5% with coupon code: 05TEFY81 )
  • 19 of the 24 are single pigment colors
  • Colors glaze well
  • Paint is reliable, it does what I expect and works like my other professional paints
    *These remind me most of my Renesans Tube watercolors from Poland.

Cons:

  • I am not crazy about the earth tones. I like the Van Dyke brown but the other browns are weak and have odd undertones, also the raw sienna color (yellow sienna deep) is weak and hard to rewet.
  • The tube set does not come with a palette, consider the 48 half pan set if you want these colors in a metal tin.

All in all, I really like the quality and value of this set. They performed like other professional colors in my stash and I ended up storing them with my other tried and true paints to refill palettes when they get low on paint. With the exception of the Cyprus brown deep, umber and lavender I would use the other colors frequently.  What do you think? I think it’s a good deal if you need some paint, the quality is not quite as good as Sennelier, Daniel Smith of Schminke but they are on par with Winsor & Newton in my opinion as far as pigment strength goes. I hope you found this review useful and til next time happy crafting!

 

Easy to Use Markers for Stampers who Like to Blend!

Hi friends!  This week I had the chance to try out the new Tri-Blend markers from Crafter’s Companion. They are the newest markers in the Spectrum Noir family.

triblend

They feature Hexagon non-roll barrels and bullet tips. Each marker contains 3 smaller markers so you have a light, medium and dark version of the color to make blending simple and easy. You can see my review in the video below.

You can find the markers at Simon Says Stamp for $5 each and they ship worldwide. *Affiliate link

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • refill inks available
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Blends well
  • Takes little space to store
  • Great for travel
  • Caps hold tight but are easy to remove
  • Nonroll barrel
  • Fine bullet nibs perfect for stampers or coloring book enthusiasts.

Cons:

  • The markers have a small inkpad inside them so they will run out of ink much quicker than other markers, especially the light tones which you will use a lot. (note, refill inks available at about $5-$7 but it would refill these minis dozens of times, also the refill ink is not sold many places so you might have to hunt for it.)
  • Upon further invstigation, not all colors are a perfect match for the Spectrum Noir inks but they are in the middle of a rebranding so hopefully, they are addressing that. This is only an issue if you are reinking them.
  • With only the bullet nibs it will limit the size of the artwork you can make.

Bottom line, I really enjoyed using these, they were probably the easiest markers for creating blends in small stamped images. I recommend them for rubber stampers who are new to alcohol markers or who love markers and want a travel set. Two thumbs up from me! I hope you found this helpful and til next time happy crafting!

Is it worth it to refill your markers?

Hi friends! About 10 years after originally getting my Copics, I finally need to refill a few favorite colors. Let me be totally honest with you, I am not a marker snob and I love trying out different brands. People with fewer markers will likely need to refill them sooner than I did. Since my Copic Sketch markers were such an investment, I decided to order refills when they started to feel dry. You want to refill them before they go totally dry to prevent wear on the tip, especially the brush nib that is costly to replace. I shopped around and found the best prices on Copic Refills at Scrapbook Pal. I ordered some and they shipped the next day and I had my refills in a couple of days. Shipping is free if your order is over $25. I paid $5.29 per refill and I am glad I ordered them there, because they were $10 each at the stamp show! I was so pleased with the service that I became an affiliate, so if you do order after clicking on one of my affiliate links I will make a small commission without costing you more. Thanks!

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I also wanted to mention that Simon Says Stamp is having a 25% off sale on Copics with coupon code MARKERSALE until 6/26 but they are still $2 more than Scrapbook Pal’s normal price. I thought I’d mention it if you were going to place an order there and just needed one or two inks.  Both are great stores!

Here are the refill colors I bought at Scrapbook Pal: Barley Beige – E11, Blush – R20, Buttercup Yellow – Y21, Chartreuse – YG13, Cotton Pearl (Formerly Skin White) – E00, Honey – Y38, Mignonette – YG11, Mint Blue – B01, Pale Yellow – Y11, Robin’s Egg Blue – B02, Sugared Almond Pink – RV02

These colors are all very light. I could tell these were all getting ready to need refilling when I could feel a drag on the paper. You want to refill it before it goes dry so you don’t damage the nibs. I use my markers to color stamped imaged in cardstock usually. The super light colors are my most used, because I use them to achieve the color blends. If a color is hard to blend I prime the area with the lightest color, then add my shadows, then my middle color (by coloring over the dark and into the medium tone area) then I go over about half of the middle value out to the highlight with that pale color. You can see how I use 4 to 6 times more of the lightest colors vs the dark and medium tones. Also, I find if you invest in refillable lighter colors, you can use a cheaper set of basic colors and have a fabulous set at an affordable price. I was going to make a video on how to refill them, but Copic already has a wonderful one so I’ll just post that:)

One of the questions I get all the time is “can you refill these?” anytime I review a new brand of markers. Since I have had the opportunity to review dozens of markers, I have determined that you can refill just about anything without messing them up as long as you can find the appropriate ink or something that matches really closely.

There have been a lot of fabulous markers that have come out in sets at a very low price point recently. The following brands use the ShinHan touch equivalent inks so if a color goes dry you can look at the last 2 digits on the marker and order the refill in the ShinHan Touch range. There are other generic markers on Amazon using this system, but I am only listing ones I have personally tried. Having a refill is awesome because you don’t want to have to rebuy a whole set because you need to replace one or two colors.

  • Ohuhu *I really like these!
  • TouchNew
  • Concept (Jerry’s Artarama)
  • Arteza (these are a bit tricky because they have a 4-5 digit code so look at a Shinhan swatch to be sure you have the right color/number code. I think they plan on offering refills as well as brush tips in the future so you might want to wait and see. I love the case these come in!
  • Arrtix (now with a 168 set!) I love how the bullet and chisel nib’s caps are different and easy to identify.

Do you need a “brush tip”?

I am going to be honest, it is easier to blend with a brush tip, and Copic is the gold standard. I don’t think you need every color in a brush tip if budget is a factor. If you can swing your lighter colors (see my most used color list above) in brush tip markers (in either the Sketch or cheaper Ciao version-ciao – it has the same nibs, it is just a skinnier marker so it holds less in but if you have refills it is not a big deal) then you can totally get by with the affordable chiel/bullet tip markers and have great blending.

Here are some brush marker recommendations:

  • Copic (I’d pick and choose rather and buying a full set)
  • Bianyo (these have very flexible high-quality nibs at 1/4 price of Copic) No refills but you could try matching up to a Copic chart. *If you don’t need a refill this is the best deal!
  • Blick Studio Brush marker (not the seasonal illustrator line) they now sell refills for these. Best budget brush marker if you DO want refills.
  • Prismacolor Brushmarker
  • Windsor & Newton Brush Marker (formally Promarker by Letraset) *These used to have refills when owned by Letraset not sure if they still do tho.
  • ShinHan Touch (the line of refill inks I mentioned above) also has a high rated line of brush tipped markers but I have not tried them personally)

These brush markers are less expensive generally but the tip is less flexible. They blend well but will fray over time especially if they go dry. They aren’t bad but they are more of a disposable option. If you only use markers occasionally they might be the best choice for you.

  • Studio 71  *Most affordable and equivalent to the following brands listed in this section.
  • Ohuhu Brush Markers (available in a couple of weeks)
  • Premiere (AC Moore) *Open stock available in store (I prefer the chisel nib in their original design markers tho)
  • Blick Illustrator
  • Stampin Blends ($4.50 each from a Stampin Up demonstrator)

Spectrum Noir also offers chisel, bullet and brush tip markers in their spectrum noir marker coloring system as well as refill inks. These markers offer all of the options of nib choices and refill inks at a lower price point, and money-saving packs of markers if you are just getting started and want to buy a lot at once. They are not as cheap as the chisel/bullet combos I mentioned above, but you do get more training and support online, such as free downloads on their website. I like this line of markers and I will be posting a review of their innovative TriBlend markers on Saturday.

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Wow, I did not intend to make such a long post! I guess for me it’s worth it to get refills for these markers I am using a lot and depend on (my philosophy with ink pads as well) but there are colors I will never run dry at my level of use. I suggest waiting until you need a few colors and order them at once to minimize shipping costs or get free shipping. Ordering refills is not as exciting as trying a new set of markers but in the long run, it is more cost effective, especially if the markers you are considering trying are duplicate colors to what you already own. What do you think- have you refilled any of your markers before? What is your favorite brand? Let me know in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

 

 

 

Does it blend? New vs Old Blending Brushes and Sponges

Hi friends! Today we are going to compare the new “make-up” style ink blending brushes to color dusters (they look like shaving brushes) as well as blending sponges.

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I tested them over a stencil (above) as well as fading the ink off onto paper as I did with the clouds below. (Cloud die from My Favorite Things)

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Watch the video to see all the brushes and sponges in action and see what’s right for you and how your favorite tool compares!

An overview of the materials (Affiliate links used when available)

New Ink Blending Brushes. I purchased mine at a stamp show, the multi-pack I bought was $20 from double Trouble but they are sold out online. Prior to purchasing, I used a friend’s set who said she ordered this set on Amazon half what I paid at the show. I was so impressed I bought a set!

These are the Life Changing Brushed from Picket Fence Studio if you want the best of the best. (or at least the first ones to be used with crafting)  That set has the 4 larger brushes for $25

Pros of the new “make-up style” brush:

  • Captured fine detail for stenciling
  • Very Smooth ink blending with both dye and pigment inks
  • Easy to clean, most ink transfers to paper with hardly any left on the brush. Wipe brush of a rag and move on to next color without needing to wash it.
  • Very smooth fades when working off a mask on for rouging the edge of a paper.
  • No awkward ink blotches even when you stat on the paper instead of off the edge. Foolproof blending.
  • These can be compactly stored on your table in a small jar

Cons of “Makeup Style Brushes”

  • It takes longer to apply the ink over a surface
  • They can be more expensive than other methods HOWEVER you don’t need as many as they wipe clean so easily between colors
  • You could snap the neck of the brush and stain your wrists if you hold the brush at the end rather than supporting it at the head/neck area. My natural inclination was to hold it at the neck with my finger supporting the back of the bristle area and it was very comfortable to use. Not much pressure is needed this way.

Color Dusters (Judikins, Rubber Stamp Tapestry and the new Tim Holtz/Ranger ones in the silver tubes are all examples. Also called ink sweepers and sometimes come on long handles. These have stiffer course bristles made of hog)
Judikins color dusters
Tonic
Tim Holtz
Rubber Stamp Tapestry

Pros of Color Duster style brush:

  • Quick soft blends
  • Easy to use
  • The more you use a brush the better it gets as the ink buildup in the brush primes the bristles
  • They won’t wear out

Cons of Color Duster style brush:

  •  You need a brush for every color family (reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, browns, greens, blues, purples, greys, black)
  • You get a less defined look when used with a stencil or mask.
  • Although you get a very even application of color with little effort the stiffness of the bristles give the blend a bit of texture

Foam style blenders. Examples of this are:
Ranger blending foam
Colorbox Stylus
Fingertip daubers
My Homemade make-up wedge and bottle cap blenders (my favorite!)

Pros of Foam Blenders/ Blending sponges

  • Inexpensive
  • You can achieve a bold saturated color or a softer blended color (skill required)
  • The more you use them the better they get (until they wear out)
  • They are inexpensive enough to have a blender for every inkpad you have and many brands (such as Ranger) have a reusable handle that you can swap out the foams on so you can store a lot is a little space.

Cons of Foam/Sponge blenders:

  • You need a sponge for every color family, many crafters have a sponge for every inkpad to ensure they don’t cross contaminate their pads as it is easier to transfer color from the sponge to a pad.
  • They take practice to get good results
  • It takes longer with foams than color dusters to blend.
  • They eventually wear out and start to break apart but you can get a couple years out of them.

I also wanted to mention the Darice sponge daubers I showed at the end. I like them for coloring stamped images but not for use with stencils or large areas because I don’t think they can take the heavy use. Unfortunately, I can’t find them online. I got them at a stamp show years ago.

What is your favorite? I think they are all useful and you can pick one and be happy with the result. The most important thing is that you practice and learn to use what you have.

 

See What I Got at The Rubber Stamp Convention!

Hi friends! I had a lovely weekend with crafty friends and it was just what the doctor ordered! Yesterday after filming this video I made project kits combining the new things with my older supplies so I won’t forget all of the ideas I had at the show when I purchased these things. I find when I put my items away they are easy to overlook and if I leave them in a basket on my desk I sometimes forget what I had intended to do with them so I think this makes the most sense. I can’t wait to get crafty!

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In addition to the fun new products I also got to swap with some inspiring artists! You can see those treasures too in today’s video!

Thanks to all the lovely ladies who swapped with me!

Products in order of appearance-mostly: (Affiliates likes used if available) The Haul starts at around 9 minutes:)

I think that batch of shopping will probably do until next year (well, it probably should anyway!) Good thing I get to make crafty videos for a living! If a project I mentioned sounds extra good and you want to see me do it first let me know in the comments. The ink blending brush comparison video is the most popular idea among my YouTube viewers but I’d love to see what you think! Thanks for visiting and till next time happy crafting!

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