Yup, More Budget Pencils (but they are pretty good!)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day friends! Sadly I just realized this right now and I don’t have any clever St. Paddy’s Day projects to share. Ah well, it’s been a weird year. Anyway, today we are going to take a look at a set of pencils I have had requests to review from viewers for a few months. The Magicfly set of 72 oil based pencils. At around $30 for a set of 72 they are right in line with other budget pencils that rate better than school grade but not available in open stock like professional grade pencils.

This set of Magicfly 72 oil-based colored pencils was sent to me for free to review. Affilate links used.


  • price (about 42 cents a pencil)
  • soft and blendable
  • vibrant colors
  • Easy to read print on the barrel


  • Painted ends do not match leads exactly
  • trays can be hard to remove from tin
  • No open stock

Might be a pro or con depending on your preference:

  • skinny barrels
  • pigment somewhat reactive with water
  • oil based

Final thoughts: I liked these pencils as much as Cezanne and Art-n-Fly and a bit more than Color it and Pagos (all in the budget range for an oil pencil.) They lay down really smooth with little effort. This would be good for people with strength issues in their hands and the large printing on the barrel is very easy to read. There is lightfast info on the tin but I really don’t trust pencils in this price range to be lightfast so I wouldn’t recommend these for paintings you want to last for decades hung in daylight. For sketchbook work, coloring books, and greeting cards they would be great. There are no open stock options so if you use up a color or have breakage issues and end up sharpening through a color you will need to find an alternative. Given this, if this meets your needs they are a lovely set of pencils.

Do you plan on giving these pencils a try? Let me know in the comments below and til next time, happy crafting!

Watercolor Crayons Might Surprise you!

Hi friends! Do you have a certain art supply that every time you use it you wonder why you don’t use it more often? That’s how I feel every time I use watercolor crayons!

They are convenient, reworkable and fun to use. If you have ever used a crayon you can use these. I had some request from Critique Club members to use watercolor crayons and it sounded like a fine idea. I wanted to create a tutorial that will result is a beautiful painting but would also teach all the tips, tricks and techniques I have discovered about the medium too. You can find the real time version of this tutorial in Critique Club if you like. Critique Club is $5 a month and you have access to all of the lessons (53 in all) in the group and I post 2 new ones every month! You can also upload your original artwork for me to critique to help you grow as an artist. That is optional, no pressure, if you just want to learn from the dozens of lessons that’s fine too:) If that sounds like something that would be helpful to you you can learn more or enroll here.

This painting is 11″x11″ and took about 2 hours. Enjoy the timelapse!

Supplies (Affiliate links used)

  • Watercolor crayons: first choice is Caran Dache as they have open stock and sets, and the quality is outstanding. Another very comparable budget alternative to Caran Dache is the Lyra watercolor crayons available in sets. They are about 95% as good for half the price *But if you want a really budget alternative you can try the Crayola Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels, they are awesome and a good way to test out this type of medium for a song.
  • If you want to transfer a pattern to a toned surface white transfer paper is handy
  • You can sharpen up edges and outlines with watercolor pencils. I dip the tip of the pencil in a drop of water so the pigment will release, otherwise it can’t grip the waxy surface of the crayons.
  • Reference photo

Remember if you want to learn more about watercolor crayons the tutorial on Critique club has a lot of information. I hope you give this project a try! If you don’t have watercolor crayons then you can get similar effects in colored pencils (I’d draw it smaller tho or it will take an age!) or oil pastels. You do you! Happy crafting!

Do your unfinshed projects mock you too? It’s Sat Chat Time!

Hi friends! Time for our weekly chat! If you are ever looking for my weekly say chats (I’m famous for forgetting to post them on my blog) you can always find that after 7am ET on my YouTube Channel on Saturday morning:)

Stuff I mentioned: (affiliate links may be used)

  • Critique Club *Check out the watercolor Crayon Workshop project I just posted! I mentioned the crayons I like, my first choice is Caran Dache, as they have open stock and sets, and the quality is outstanding. Another very comparable budget alternative to Caran Dache is the Lyra watercolor crayons available in sets. They are about 95% as good for half the price *But if you want a really budget alternative you can try the Crayola Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels, they are awesome and a good way to test out this type of medium for a song.
  • The square Brutfuner pencils are really nice to work and very pretty. *these do not stay in stock long but luckily the price is the same as when I bought them with the coupon. Be careful because when they go out of stock they put the Brutfuner rounds in there (which a good I hear) but I didn’t want you to order them by accident. Just look at the photo and description before ordering in case it changes.
  • This is the white acrylic I like, it is a really strong opaque white.
  • I also mentioned the Magicfly oil-based budget pencils that I drew the iris and pills with. A review will be up in a couple of weeks

OK folks, I am literally dozing off as I am typing this. Don’t forget to set your clock forward one hour tonight (for those of you who observe daylight savings time) and til next time happy crafting!

Suckered in by another novelty watercolor palette…

…but really, can you blame me. I mean, it’s really cute! This bad boy will be out in the kayak with me as soon as the ice melts for sure! This palette is related to a lot of the novelty palettes that have been popping up all over the internet the past few years. I think they are all manufactured by the same white label company. I think they are made by Superior, in fact the Meeden fan palette I bought a few years ago said Superior right on it and I am pretty sure that company will brand these paint for any art supplier. The color numbers are the same on all of theses types of sets and they also look to visually match. I am just say this so you know what you are buying and if you have a similar product already you may or may not want this one:)

Today we are looking at this double fan pallet from Artsy. This product was sent to me for free to review and affiliate links are used in this post. It is about the size of a cell phone (but thicker) contains 56 colors, 3 water brushes and had 3 mixing areas, and a removable sponge for cleaning your water brushes in use. This set has pastel and metallic colors as well making it a versatile collection for crafters who may not wish to mix colors.


  • Price: Under $20 at time of review
  • Compact Included everything you need except paper
  • Nice color selection The basic colors are very vibrant and transparent like I would expect from quality watercolor, the metallic have good coverage. The pastels are semi-opaque as expected.
  • The water brushes are decent quality
  • The mixing surface is good, the color doesn’t bead up and I haven’t experienced much staining.
  • Colors layer well and you can lift the non-staining ones as with other quality watercolors.
  • Colors can be mixed without mud.
  • The paint is very concentrated and will last a long time (judging from my original fan palette)


  • You want to let the pans dry before closing the palette (might be inconvenient if travel painting.)
  • If you live in a very dry climate or high altitude the paints might dry and curl up in the pans if you go a long time without using them. I have not had this happen myself but a viewer did with an old fan palette.
  • There are very small pans and there are no refills available, I would refill with Qor watercolors.
  • When all of the pans are fanned out it is pretty big, best for holding the pallet and not for desktop use.

Bottom line, this is fun, the quality is good and I like it. This would make a lovely gift or palette to toss in your travel bag for painting on the go. I recommend it! You can check out this Artsy palette on Amazon. Happy crafting!

Using Colored Pencils on Pastelmat For The First Time!

Hi friends, today I am going demonstrate colored pencils on Pastelmat paper by Clairfontaine.

Pastelmat is a unique textured surface that was designed for holding many layers of pastel but is also popular with colored pencil artists. It has an almost flocked feeling to it but the surface is hard and not soft like velour paper. It’s textured but not rough like sanded paper (one of my favorite colored pencils surfaces.) If you want to see colored pencil demos on sanded paper I have a blue jay painting here and a sunset here. Although these are both textured paper they are very different in how they take colored pencil.

Pastelmat allows the artist to apply more layers than they would on ordinary paper but doesn’t grab as much pigment as sanded paper does meaning you can add more thin layers on Pastel mat and it also means that it will take a lot longer to create a finished work of art. In today’s real time demo I will paint one bud, a branch and some leaves. I’m not sure how long I spent on the flowers but it was several hours. I really like the look of my painting on this paper but it sure took a lot of time. I plan on testing this paper with different pastels next to see if I like it more with those mediums.

Supplies: (affiliate links used)

So, what do you think? Have you tried Pastelmat? I need t use it more and with other media before I make my final decision. I do like the lo of this painting but it was very consuming. Let me know what you think and til next time happy crafting!

PS I forgot to post my SatChat here yesterday so if you are looking for it you can find it on my YouTube channel.

Let’s Draw & Paint a Vintage Inspired Botanical (free line art included)

Hi friends! Today I have a cheerful flower to remind you spring is right around the corner!

I snapped a photo of my line artwork with and without the shading incase you want to look at it when you draw or print it out and trace it. These are jpg files so you can print any size.

Watch the video see see how to create this painting step by step!

If you enjoyed this lesson you’ll love my Watercolor Flower Workshop with lessons on painting many types of flowers and how to put them together in bouquets, wreaths and swags, the options are endless once you know the basics! Click here to learn more!

Supplies (affiliate links used)

I hope you enjoyed this lesson and till next time happy crafting!

Derwent Inktense Pan Studio Set Review

Hi friends! I was super excited to see that Derwent added 9 new colors to the Inktense range in their new paint pan sets! Let’s take a deep dive into the paint pan range in this review. This paint set was provided to me by Derwent with no expectation of a review. *Affiliate links to Blick used in this post. You can find all of the Inketense Paint Pan sets and refills here for 35% off retail.

Overview: The Derwent Inktense paint pans feature the same formulation as the Inktense pencils and blocks but in a convenient half pan. They are available in 2* sets of 12 colors or in a set of 24 comprising all of the colors. Open stock is available and the standard half pan size will fit standard watercolor tins should you want to add a couple of colors to your watercolor palette. These are not watercolors, they are water-soluble ink that claims to be permanent (insoluble) when dry but you can use them as you would a watercolor. *Note, Blick shows 3 different sets of 12 and one set of 24. The Derwent site shows set #1 and se2 #2 of 12 colors each and a set of 24.


  • Price (half or less of what a professional watercolor set costs)
  • Good color selection
  • Layers well
  • Permanent on fabric
  • Lightfast info available: 22 colors are #8 (very lightfast) on blue wool scale with Fuschia a #6 and Cherry a #4. See ratings here.
  • Vegan friendly
  • Open Stock available


  • I did have some lifting on watercolor paper even with very diluted paint.
  • The white plastic palette will stain

Overall I recommend these for artists. I think they would be very nice for quilters and fiber artists wanting to design custom fabric. These would be a nice addition to a set of Inktense pencils but might be a bit redundant if you already have the blocks. I love that they picked mostly lightfast colors for this set. I did double check that these were permanent on fabric like the rest of the range and they are. I can’t wait to paint some cloth masks with these. I’ll share a tutorial when I do. Til then Happy crafting!

Learn to Draw Succulents in Colored Pencil!

Hi friends! It’s March 1st and it is pouring rain in Maine. In like a lion and out like a lamb they say, tomorrow it is supposed to be very cold with a wind chill of -15! Crazy huh? Speaking on March I have a new monthly prompt in Critique Club as well as a real time version of this tutorial posted so check it out if you are a member. If you are not a member but would like to be we would love for you to join! It’s $5 a month and you get access to 52 longer and more advanced tutorials (with 2 more added every month!) in a variety of media as well as the opportunity to post your work for critique from me. Lean more or sign up here.

Now, on to the timelapse!

Supplies (affilate links used)

These drawing were so much fun to do and very relaxing. I hope you enjoyed it and til next time happy crafting!