Review: American Journey Watercolor Sticks

Today I am taking a look at the set of 24 American Journey Watercolor Sticks. They are watercolor pigment in a clear paraffin wax binder. I wanted to find out if they are more like a watercolor pan or a watercolor crayon.


For my test I am working on Strathmore Windpower paper. Watch the video to see how they perform!


The American Journey watercolor sticks are available in sets or open stock. The sets have a handy storage palette to keep them in. Open stock the sticks sell for $7.99 while a 12 color set in a palette goes for $59 bringing the per stick price to $5, a much better deal.


  • Price: They cost a bit more than Winsor & Newton watercolor sticks but are 2x as big. They are the same size as Daniel Smith but a bit cheaper
  • Pigment info listed on sides of watercolor sticks, stable lightfast pigments are used. If you are picky about your pigments I suggest getting colors open stock.
  • All usable product-you can save the shavings if you sharpen the crayons to use as watercolors. You can use all the product so no waste.
  • Drawing with the crayons give you more of a “watercolor pencil” experience rather than a watercolor crayon experience
  • Transparent (as long as the pigments used are) Most watercolor crayons are opaque and these are luminous and transparent, the reds are stunning and worth buying to supplement a watercolor crayon set that you might already have.


  • When used direct to paper from the stick (aka sketching and coloring) I don’t feel like you get as good color payoff as you would with a traditional watercolor crayon or water-soluble oil pastel. I don’t think this is a con for some people but if that is what you want with this product I think you will be disappointed. Also these American Journey sticks are more expensive than Caran D’Ache watercolor crayons which are better for a dry, direct to paper technique. It boils down to personal taste though.
  • Not great for glazing as colors easily lift.

Bottom line:

I like this product for sketching and then picking up pigment with a wet brush for washes (like pan color) for use on white paper. They are different from a watercolor crayon because they are transparent. I think they are better for direct painting without a lot of glazes because they are very liftable. If I had to recommend one color I would try any of the reds and they really stand out as different from other similar products.

If you would like to try your hand at some mixed media watercolor & watercolor crayon techniques enroll in my Craftsy Class Mix it Up Mixed Media Step by Step! We go though watercolor washes, stenciling, drawing and painting with watercolor crayons as well as play with other mixed media techniques, it is a lot of fun and the folks at Craftsy make everything look so nice!


Any class that you purchase at craftsy through my special affiliate link helps me bring more free tutorials to you here on my blog and I think you for your support! Happy crafting!

LIVE! Pretty Pastel Macarons in Oils! FREE Real Time Painting Class @ 12:30pm ET

Let’s paint pretty pastel macarons in oil paint at 12:30pm Eastern Time today on YouTube! Here is the painting:


And here is the reference photo from GraphicStock (I can post it here because I have a graphicstock subscription)


I don’t have a pattern to trace because we are going to sketch the design together on the canvas with oil pastels or oil paint. I will be using water-mixable oils for the sake of easy clean up but feel free to use traditional oils or acrylics if you like. The steps will be about the same! You can watch the live class or the replay in the player below but if you want to chat with us live you need to watch at 12:30pm ET on YouTube.

Supplies available from sponsor Jerry’s Artarama!

Want more art instruction? Check out these DEALS on upcoming classes I am taking part in instructing! Purchasing any of the awesome online courses help keep my free tutorials coming!

Creative Watercolor Course with Angela Fehr (I am a guest instructor, use coupon FIRSTDIBS to save 50% if the discount does not show up)


LIFE BOOK 2017 (Use coupon code FIREWORKS2017 to save 20% off the entire year-long class!)


OR Enroll in my Mix it Up Mixed Media Step-by-Step! Craftsy Class at 50% off!


I hope to see you at 12:30pm Eastern Time today for a fun & free oil painting class! Til then, Happy crafting!

LIVE free watercolor seascape class at 12:30pm ET Today!

Join me in an hour to watercolor! If you you want to hand out in the chat be sure to watch on the YouTube watch page. We will paint this:


You can watch live on YouTube or in the player below:

Want to make a travel palette like I am using today? Here is a free tutorial

Find the supplies I am using at sponsor Jerry’s Artarmama!
QOR watercolors

Mimik Brushes

Canson 100 watercolor Paper

Reference photo from John Warren at Paint my Photo

If you would like to take some great classes and support this channel please check out these classes at Craftsy or save 50% off my class Mix it Up Mixed Media Step By Step!

See you at 12:30 ET today or in the reply! Happy crafting!



Easy Birch Trees in Acrylic!

This is a quick painting that can be done in a half-hour. Watch the video and paint along with me!


Grab your acrylics, brushes, a canvas and a palette knife and give it a whirl!


I hope you enjoyed this fun little painting tutorial. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Let’s Paint Sheep! Long Painting Tutorial for Beginners!

Hi friends! Thanks for encouraging me to post this long tutorial, it was one of the photos I took at the common ground fair last week. It was really fun to paint!


Here is the reference photo:


And here is the video! Get comfy, make a hot cup of tea or pour a glass of wine and let’s paint!

8″x10″ DaVinci Pro Panel
Turner Arcryl Gouache (or the acrylic colors you prefer)
12 Shades of Gray Acrylic Set (or you can mix your grays)
Black Swan Brushes
Hog fan brushes
Watercolor pencils (any brand is fine)
palate and water bucket

1. Sketch the sheep on the panel with watercolor pencils.
2. Paint the background shades of green (mixes of green, cobalt blue, burnt sienna, lemon yellow) and let dry. Try not to cover your sketch as much as I did to save time later!
3. Start painting the sheep using a small filbert and tapping strokes. Start with white in the highlight area and pick up gray and add it is as you move to the shadowed areas.
4. Add details with a mix of black and greyed brown.
5. Use a combination of fan brushes and yellow-green paint to paint the foreground grass and then add detail grass with a liner brush.

I hope you spend some time painting this weekend! BTW, if you hear the gentle sounds of rain in the video it is because I filmed it Wednesday and we got 5″ of rain LOL! I am lucky I wasn’t swimming in my basement studio! Thanks to Jerry’s Artarama for sponsoring this video, that to you for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Let’s Paint Lupines!

Hi friends! Wow, it’s Friday! I had such a busy week! I taught 3 art classes at my local library in collaboration with my town’s Olde Home Week (you know it’s fancy when you add an “e”!) Both watercolor classes were packed which was so nice, I hope my students return next month when OHW is done. This was my first idea for class but I was not happy with it…


So I reduced the size and went with a simpler plan for a class of beginners and it was good I did because every one finished in the nick of time, right before the librarian was about to kick us out ha ha!


Do you want to try it? Here is the card tutorial.

Go ahead and flip the orientation and make it bigger if you like. I posted the larger photo in case you wanted to give that a whirl. The larger one has more of a focus on a couple flowers in the front but it is pretty much the same thing. I had the children’s watercolor class make the bigger version with focus on the flowers and they did fantastic! All my students did, I really hope the join me again next month. Thanks for painting with me today and til next time happy crafting!

Let’s Paint a Cat! A long tutorial by request!

Hi friends! It feels like it has been a long time since we had a chatty tutorial…the last one being the snowy winter scene I think. I kept this tutorial narrated live in real-time for the first 40 minutes (watercolor portion) and I thought the painting was done at that point but I was not totally happy with it so I grabbed some colored pencils to enhance it. You will have to let me know if you liked it better before or after I added the pencil at the end. I did voice over the end of the video because there was a lot of noise and commotion here with everyone around and the colored pencil was an afterthought.

DCF 1.0

I used 4 colors of paint: Ultramarine blue, burnt umber, light red (a rusty color) and yellow ochre. I used an assortment of earth toned colored pencils at the end. You can download the pattern here if you do not wish to draw it but I will show you how to draw it in the tutorial. You can find the photo by Lisa Martin I worked from at Paint my Photo. I hope you enjoy this tutorial!

This was fun to paint. I do not often paint animals and I think this is the first time I have ever painted a cat…maybe I did as a child, it is hard to remember. Let me know if you think it was better with or without the colored pencil, I might have been a bit hasty adding it. I think you should probably let a painting sit overnight to decide. All in all it looks quite a bit like the new addition to my house. Maybe I’ll donate it to the humane society if they have an auction. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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