A Blue Poppy Real Time Watercolor! {greeting card quickie!}

Hi friends! Man, it has been a long time since I did a quick fun watercolor on a Strathmore watercolor card. I want to do more of these and hopefully it won’t take 3 tries to record it next time LOL!

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I used a couple new products from Jane Davenport. Her new mixed media line is hitting stores tomorrow and I have had several viewers asking me to demonstrate the new watercolors and watercolor crayons and I aim to please. Watch the video to see how they perform and hear my thoughts and observations on these new paints!

Video!

I had a few people ask me how these compared to Dina Wakley’s new Scribble Sticks as well as Caran Dache Neocolor 2 crayons. There are a lot of points to compare here. Essentially they are all sticks of watersoluble media and you can use whatever watercolor crayons you have to get a very similar effect. You can even use watercolor pencils in some instances. One of the differences between crayons is the waxiness or dryness of the media. Watercolor pencils feel drier to color with where a watersoluble pastel like Prima is very slick and creamy/oily. Caran Dache falls nearer to an oil pastel where Dane Davenport Aquapastels are more dry like a pencil (very much like the ls Derwent Aquatones that were discontinued a few years ago-oh the humanity!) Dina Wakley Scribble Sticks are between the Aquapastels and Caran D’ache on the softness scale. These are small differences. Both Dina Wakley’s Scribble Sticks and Jane Davenports Aquapastels are more bright and transparent than the Caran D’ache Neocolor 2 crayons but that might have to do with the fact that they have a larger range including pastels so they would be overall more opaque (that said I have a hard time getting a vivid red in the Caran D’ache line but THAT said Caran Dache is my favorite watercolor crayon but they also usually have a steeper price tag but Amazon has the set of 15 for less than the two sets I am focusing on here, of course you can’t use a coupon like you can at the Big-Box.) I decided to compare the Scribble Sticks and Aquapastels together because a. I had several people ask me to and b. I already did a comparison on watercolor crayons last year before these came out and c. These are both brand new and aimed at the papercraft market. Here is a photo of both sets of crayons next to their tins.

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I am a sucker for good packaging and they both are cute:) The scribble sticks are a bit larger but not as much as the tin might have you believe. Both sets have an insert to snugly hold the pastels. I’ll probably remove the insert on the DW tin and add some random crayons I have floating around:) Both crayons have paper wrappings to keep your hands clean, it’s pretty standard. The next image is a scan of each set watched so you can see what colors are in each set.

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I was happy to see no overlap in color, here I swatched them all together in rainbow order. I think I might have too much free time on my hands.

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The Scribble sticks felt softer as I colored with them and filled in the tooth of my paper easier, they were also better for picking up pigment directly from the stick with a brush.  The white crayon can be added to either the other scribble sticks or the Aquapastels to make a color more opaque which will give you the versatility of working on a colored surface or dark painting layer. The Aquapastels had less drag when sketching and coloring which is nice if you want to work quick and they held up to drawing on wet paper without the tip softening. Again minute details but worth mentioning. They felt more like a woodless watercolor pencil only a bit softer than a pencil.  Bottom line I like them both and they work great together. Amazon has the Scribble sticks for $23 and the Aquapastels are $24 at Michaels so they are comparably priced. I hope that helps anyone make a decision on what to get. As for the Glitz Sea watercolor set I found the quality to be the same as the original two watercolor sets she released earlier this year and you can see my full review here.

Phew, that was a long post but I wanted to get the info out while it was fresh in my mind. Will you be checking out any of these new art supplies or adding them to your wish list? Let me know in the comments below!  There will be a live show tomorrow at 12:30pm ET, til then, happy crafting!

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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!

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.

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

Details:

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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!

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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!

Fancy a Spot of Tea? Real Time Watercolor Tutorial!

Hi friends! I almost titled this post “Don’t buy the new Prima Watercolors until you read this!” but it felt a little two click-baity. Although I think that this post will give you some valuable info on the two new Prima Marketing Watercolor Confections set Pastel Dreams and Shimmering Lights. First off, I really like these but if you are planning on using them like ordinary watercolors you might be disappointed in the results. That’s why I created a free painting tutorial to help you make the most of these unique sets.

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Here is the step by step video and review of these new paints.

Here are links to the Prima Marketing Watercolor Confections sets. Hallmark scrapbook is having 15% off Prima watercolor products! Woohoo! They have free shipping on USA order over $99 and reasonable rates for worldwide shipping.

  • Pastel Dreams (I use mostly colors from this set in the teacup tutorial)
  • Decadent Pies (I used a blue and green from this set to achieve the rest of the colors for the teacup tutorial. This is a great landscape painting set)
  • Tropicals (If you can only get one set go for Tropicals, they have the brightest cleanest colors and mix well)
  • The Classics (A all around useful set with basic colors and a white and black if that is important to you)
  • Shimmering Lights (A very opaque paint with mica added to create a subtle elegant sheen)

There are NO duplications in any of the colors in these sets so if you want to collect them all you will have all unique colors. 😀

I wanted to also show you how the paints look in a more opaque fashion.

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They remind me a lot of gouache, the paint feel very buttery when applied thickly (not chalky like I thought they might) and they would show up nicely on colored cardstock for cardmaking and scrapbooking. In these swatches you can see the colors from Pastel Dreams and Shimmering Lights. I overlaid a thicker swatch of the pastels over the wash layer once it was dry so you can see how the colors shifts darker in thicker layers. I swatched the shimmering colors on white and black as they look much different on each. Again, great for cardmakers and scrapbookers.

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I also played with using the Pastel Dreams and Shimmering lights with lots of water. Because there are no strong darks other than red and brown it is difficult to get darks so you would not want these sets as your only watercolors, they are better as add-on collections.

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So now you have the skinny on these two new paint sets from Prima Marketing. If you have any questions let me know in the comments below and if you like this project please share it with a friend or on social media:) I also wanted to let you know that most other watercolor products are also on sale at Hallmark Scrapbook and anything you purchase through the affiliate links in the post support the free tutorials on my channel, thanks! I’ll be back tomorrow with our live Friday painting class, til then happy crafting!

Review: Grumbacher Academy Watercolors

Hi friends! Today I am reviewing a paint which might be the best student watercolors on the market in my opinion: Grumbacher Academy. I have had many of these colors in my stash for over a decade bought on clearance and I grabbed a couple extra to do the review. Watch the video to see how they fared.

Video!

Details:
Price: $3-$5 per tube
Pros:
good transparency
high pigment load
stable artist pigments used
price
rewets well when dry in palette

Cons:
Can’t think of any:)

I don’t want to think that if you have watercolors you like that you need to run out and get these two. I still find them quite comparable to Van Gogh and my beloved Cotmans. I also recommend Prima and Koi (but I wish I could know what pigments are in them) and Sonnet (I know the pigments and some are shady but most are good!) 😉  Mostly I want you to be able to make informed decisions and not waste money on junk. Since we all live in different countries with different products available affordably I want to help as many people as I can.

Programming note: The next two weeks are a bit crazy, the kids have short school weeks and I have some videos I am working on for you that might take a bit longer to produce than usual so if there is a day without a video that is why:) Luckily I have over 1400 videos in my archive if you need a crafty fix. I have them organized by type on my playlist page so poke around and find something new to you! Thanks so much for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Aqyla Review

Hi friends! Over the past week I have had the chance to try out a new type of paint that is a cross-breed between oils and acrylics. It’s called Aqyla and it is from the Japanese company Kusakabe. A viewer asked me to review the paints and the company kindly sent me a sample. This is not a sponsored post, none of my reviews are sponsored but I like people to know if I received a product for free so they can make informed decisions. Rest assured, you will always get a truthful review from me.

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Watch the video to see how I liked the paint and learn the pros and cons of this medium.

You can find out more about Aqyla here and save 10% using the coupon code: thefrugalcrafter

Update: The Aqyla mixed with acrylics dried just fine:) It did take a couple of hours though.

Pros:

  • Affordable, the 18 colors set I used was $46
  • Open stock available in 72 colors and effects mediums
  • Compatible with oils, acrylics and watercolors
  • Easier to blend than traditional acrylics but dries faster than oils
  • High pigment load, no extenders
  • Lightfast and uses tried and true pigments I recognize from other artist grade paints

Cons:

  • You need to mail order it

I hope you found this review helpful. I base what I review on viewer requests so if you would like a product reviewed just let me know in the comments below and I will try to accommodate it (if I haven’t reviewed it already!) Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Water Brush Comparison!

Hi friends! I have been asked by a few viewers if I would compare all off of the different water brushes on the market and while I don’t have them all I do have quite a few and today I will share the benefits and failings of each. I also welcome you to share your favorite water brushes in the comments section below.

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A waterbrush is a brush with a hollow handle that you can fill with water (or ink, paint etc) so you do not need to bring a separate jar of water with you when travel painting or if you don’t want to deal with a spillable cup of water at home. These can also be handy for stampers or scrapbookers that want to add some mixed media to their art but don’t want a pot of water on their table that might spill on their project. Whatever the reason fo you wanting to use a waterbrush I will show you the features of some of the most popular ones out there.

Video!

I compared 8 different brands of waterbrushes. Personally I like waterbrushes for travel sketching. I think you can get better brushes for your money for in studio work that are not waterbrushes but for times when it is inconvenient to have a bucket of rinse water nearby they are a great option!

Here are the brands I demoed:

Caran D’ache $8-$10 each or 3/$24 small, medium, large point rounds

Koi $7.50 each or it comes in the Koi watercolor pocket box that I use en plein air painting:  This brand offers the most compact brushes, including really short mini brushes. Don’t throw away the black stopper that comes with these because you can use it to plug the water in the handle if you want to take apart the brush for compact travel storage. These brushes are very easy to squeeze to release more water.

Niji $10  or  These were the first water brushes I owned and they are going strong after 15 years of frequent use. I think they were the first to make a waterbrush and probably have improved in technology over the years. A tried and true brand.

Prima Round (2/$8) and Flat (3/$10) HS or SSS  I really like the rounds, I have been using them for over a year and really like them, they are a bargain too. Soft bristles come to a nice sharp point.

Aqua Stroke (4/$12- 3 rounds 1 flat)  I have used these for years too, they are fine but the barrels are harder to squeeze and would be hard for people with arthritis or other strength issues.

Mudder (6/$12 3 flats, 3 rounds) These are a decent bargain and I have painted with them a few times since I filmed this comparison and I like them. Beware when replace caps on the flats that you don’t squash the bristles

Royal (3/$5 rounds)*I do not recommend these brushes as water brushes, they do not have a regulator inside so it is hard to control the water coming out and it tends to suck paint back into the barrel making the paint water dirty. I use these to make DIY glitter pens.

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These are some brands YouTube viewers have listed as their favorites:
Tim Holtz/ Ranger has a round detailer $10 and flat $12
Derwent Waterbrush had mixed reviews from YouTube fans which leads me to believe that there might have been a bad batch made at some point. I recommend contacting Derwent if you get a bad brush. Many viewers listed this brush as their favorite.
Pentel Aqwash  These got great reviews from YouTube viewers and they are quite affordable. Also I think the larger bulbous barrel might be easier to squeeze.
If you have a recommendation let me know in the comments!

Bottom line, other than the Royal water brushes (which I do not recommend) I found that most of them preformed about the same with no big advantages over the rest other than price so see what you can find in your price range and have fun!

*Note: Affiliate link to Hallmark Scrapbook and Simon Says Stamp used. I find Simon Says Stamp has the BEST selection BUT Hallmark Scrapbook has better prices but they sell out fast! They are both wonderful & amazing companies though:)

I hope you found this useful, Happy Crafting!

 

 

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