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Archive for the ‘Product Review’ Category

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Light Weight Drawing Board from SAA.

SAA Lightweight Drawing Board

SAA Lightweight Drawing Board

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; SAA
  • Item number: DBS Quarter Imperial Light Wieght Drawing Board 431 x 330 mm / 17″ x 13″
  • RRP at time of writing: £11.99  or £10.75 for SAA members

Reason For Buying

I wanted a light weight drawing board to make it more portable and to use with my table easel.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Superbly light
  • Great size as I tend to work A4/A5 size paper
  • Board has a little flex and give to the surface
  • Smooth surface – great for pencil drawings
  • Good price for good quality board

Cons

  • Bit worried about damaging it because it’s so light. So far storing it in the card sleeve it came in. Time will tell how robust it is and I’ll update the review after more use with it.

Build Quality

Great, the drawing surface and edging are super smooth

Value for Money

Excellent

Would I buy it Again?

Yes

Summing up

This board is excellent, much easier to move around being lighter weight. This means it will be used more often than other boards I have. I was initially worried about the flex to the surface but since using it the effect on my pencil drawing is that it evens out my pressure. Sometimes I press harder than intended but the finished sketch using this board came out with much more even pencil coverage and blending than I usually achieve.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Hobby Gift Knitting Frame. This is a folding Knitting bag on feet that holds your yarn as you knit. It folds shut to store away when not in use.

Knitting Frame; Stand up storage for knitting projects

Knitting Frame; Stand up storage for knitting projects

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Groves: Hobby Gift Knitting Frame
  • Item number: CB334
  • RRP at time of writing: £23.99

Reason For Buying

I have had cloth totes to hold my knitting projects but get annoyed when the sides fall in and you have to haul hard to get your working yarn free. Liked this as it will store project and yarn and folds flat.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Superb quality fabric. It is Clarke and Clarke Bird Trail fabric but the curtain weight fabric not the very light cotton fabric that other bags of this kind often are.
  • Nicely finished wooden frame. The wood sections are all round section and varnished which gives a very beautiful finish.
  • Comfortable to carry with the round section handle.
  • Looks beautiful really makes you want to create
  • Folding flat means it takes up little room next to your chair when not in use
  • Having the top open wide and the sides stay out-of-the-way means it is a joy to use.

Cons

  • No pockets inside or outside the bag. Some other knitting frame have external pockets which are handy for putting little notions into. I am using a zip up make up style bag inside for all the little odds n ends, but a pocket would have kept them from tangling in the yarn as they can do in use.
  • I hadn’t realised it was the price it was till after I got it home, I had seen a £12.99 label on one and loving this fabric I jumped at it. Only on further investigation of the tag when we got home revealed the higher price. BUT It is beautiful, I still love the fabric and it is much much better quality than others priced between £10-£20 so it still is good value for money.

Build Quality

Excellent. Upholstery weight fabric should make it last longer. The wooden areas are nicely finished and varnished. Seams are nicely finished too and any raw edges still visible are over-locked.

Value for Money

Good. Given the high quality of the fabric and the good level of finishing it is a fair price for a quality product.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes, I still love the fabric and its pattern and it does a great job.

Summing up

If you have a knitting friend this is an excellent gift. Great for keeping your knitting projects to hand but out of harms way, stops the yarn running all over the floor and much easier to use than soft sided bags which make knitting life a pain when their sides fall in on your yarn or the yarn escapes.

If you go to knitting groups this is ideal. A beautiful bag and an excellent gift idea. Worth its price tag, the only way they could improve it is with a pocket or two either on the outside or the inside but that is just a little niggle. It’s a thing of beauty that does what it’s designed for, I’m very happy with it and I’m sure any knitter who also loves the fabric pattern would also be delighted with it.

Links

So, how about you, where do you keep your knitting?

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Winsor & Newton: Galeria; Modelling Paste. Acrylic Medium

Winsor & Newton: Galeria; Modelling Paste. Acrylic Medium

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Winsor & Newton: Galeria: Acrylic Medium: Modelling Paste
  • Item number: 304o815
  • RRP at time of writing: £7.60

Reason For Buying

I wanted to add some dimension to my projects, and experiment with different mediums to see what they could do.

Description

Quote from packaging: Stir well before use. A fine texture paste with a soft yet thick sculptural consistency. Build up depth in layers. Do not over thin with water. Apply with a palette knife and clean equipment with water immediately after use.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Mixes well with coloured paint, but will lighten colours because its white
  • Minimal smell
  • Smooth texture – feels like hair mouse but thicker
  • Cleans up easily from tools using water
  • Dries with a matt finish
  • Great size tub with options of nozel for small amounts or unscrew the lid to use with a palette knife.
  • Lid fits well and is secure

Cons

Haven’t got any. Does what it says on the tin :)

Build Quality

Excellent

Value for Money

Excellent, it costs less than the artist quality range, so is more affordable for trying out ideas, but performs well.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes

Summing up

Great for vintage metal and rust effects for adding some dimensional texture. You can stamp into this when it’s still wet or use it over stencils for specific patterns/designs. Great fun to experiment with, a great addition to your creative palette.

Links

Check out the Art tab at the top of the blog for links to suppliers and manufacturers.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Adventures in Acrylics: Online workshop

Adventures in Acrylics: Online workshop

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Derwent Graphitint pencils, the tin of 24.

Derwent: Graphitint Pencils. Tin of 24

Derwent: Graphitint Pencils. Tin of 24

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Derwent/Graphitint
  • Item number: 0700803 (Set of 24)
  • RRP at time of writing: £35.75

Purpose

Quote from Product packaging:

  • Used dry Derwent Graphitint is a hint of colour but adding water transforms the tint into rich vibrant shades.
  • Available in 24 colour tints ranging from Soft Greys, blues and greens to glowing russets plums and browns.
  • It is ideal for landscapes, animal studies and portraits.

Reason For Buying

When dexterity allows, I’m getting back into pencil sketching. Although I like pure graphite sketches, when I heard about these I just had to try them. I was getting my sketching supplies together, when I dug out a little set of 6 of these that I forgot I had! They were great. So I invested in the whole range of 24.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • The round casing on the pencil makes it comfortable in the hand
  • Great colour coverage either on its own or over other graphite
  • Works well on a variety of surfaces. Lovely on smooth paper but for more textured projects try using on rough watercolour paper.
  • Colours are subtle and you can add highlights to a drawing using them dry
  • Colours activate well, and when the water is added the colours really pop.
  • Add more water to blend away pencil marks, or only just touch the surface gently to keep the original drawing. Depending on the style you are creating.

Cons

A yellow or lighter ochre would have been a nice addition to the palette. Also I find the lids have a tendency to drop off in transit, so I always secure them with an elastic band.

An old soap box grumble, I find the lids of these tins to have a tendency to drop off if you store the box in a sketching bag. This is a shame as the 24 tin is a great one to take on field trips and to classes. I like that the lid is fully and easily removable and that you can sit the pencils back in the lid, so if you are short on space its ideal. Their wooden boxes are superbly designed and hold everything secure, which are available for other products in the range. Perhaps if the lid was hinged and had a catch it would solve this issue. I have a work around, I always use elastic bands or other ties around the tins, at all times. Even if I’m not going out and about with them, the water-soluble cores are more delicate and need respect and TLC.

Build Quality

The pencils themselves are superb. Quality wooden casing, colour core is superb and a joy to work with, whether you are using them on smooth or more textured surfaces. The colour is super smooth and has great coverage. Delightful dry or used wet.

Value for Money

Derwent: Graphitint Pencils. Tin of 24

Derwent: Graphitint Pencils. Tin of 24

Excellent. These aren’t the cheapest pencils but they are top quality and well worth the asking price. I haven’t seen any other make produce a product that looks like graphite with just a hint of colour, let alone one whose colour transforms like this does, when wet.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally. I have the full range now, but the pencils are available individually which is great so as they wear out I can replace them.

Summing up

If you enjoy sketching in pencil, do give these a try. The colours are really subtle when used dry and would be a very gentle accent to a project. Adding water really makes the colours pop. If you aren’t sure you can buy individual pencils to give them a try.

Derwent Graphitint are available in individual pencils, blister packs of 6, tins of 12 and 24.

Have you used Graphitint pencils? I’d love to hear what you think about them too.

Links

  • Derwent Pencils Manufacturers website, colour charts, product lists, tutorials and so much more. Check it out!
  • Derwent on You Tube Tutorials on a selection of their products and previews of the DVDs
  • Graphitint pencils Manufacturers page about the Graphitint pencil range, and link to PDF colour chart.

Suppliers

Great places to buy your Derwent Graphitint pencils

For more details please check out my Art – supplies tab at the top of the blog.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Winsor & Newton Galleria Acrylic paint in the metallic colours.

Winsor & Newton, Galeria Metallic colours

Winsor & Newton, Galeria Metallic colours

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Winsor & Newton: Galeria
  • Item number
  • RRP at time of writing: £3.50 for 60 ml tubes

Reason For Buying

I love metallic colours for adding highlight to projects.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Galeria is a flow formula acrylic paint, which I find very versatile.
  • Easy to mix
  • Affordable price
  • Great quality
  • Each metallic colour more than doubles your existing palette by mixing and turning original colours metallic.
  • Well fitting lids

Cons

  • Haven’t got any.

Build Quality

Excellent. The tubes are durable, metal in the case of the 60 ml size. The lids fit well and the shape means there’s more to get hold of, when you want to remove them. Don’t be put off by the price, these are superb paints and perform well.

Value for Money

Excellent. A great price to try new colours without breaking the bank

Would I buy it Again?

Totally, I bought all the metallic colours currently in the range; Gold, Silver and Copper.

Summing up

If you haven’t tried metallic paint before, these are fantastic. The flow formula acrylic means they dry fast and are easy to clean off tools. They mix well with Galleria colours to turn your existing palette metallic. BARGAIN! I’ll be sharing how to do that in a later tutorial.

Links

  • Winsor & Newton Manufacturers site
  • Galeria. Manufacturers product page also links to colour chart

Available from all good art stores, check out my art supplies tab at the top of the blog for listings.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Adventures in Acrylics: Online workshop

Adventures in Acrylics: Online workshop

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Pocket Pencil Wrap by Derwent

Derwent: Pocket Pencil Wrap

Derwent: Pocket Pencil Wrap

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Derwent
  • Item number 2300219
  • RRP at time of writing: £5.60

Reason For Buying

I wanted a small ‘container’ for my essential items for field trips, something I can pop in a bag/ jacket pocket without having to take everything with me. All too often I carry far too much and get fed up with carrying a heavy bag, especially if the day was a day out and I was just taking sketching stuff, just in case I saw something to sketch.

Purpose

Sturdy canvas wrap, holds up to 12 pencils, Slips easily into a pocket.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Denim like fabric looks like it would last well
  • Edges are bound so less likely to wear
  • All sides of contents are covered, so it will protect your materials well
  • Top flap folds over a divided pocket and the whole thing folds in half so it takes up very little room.
  • Sturdy without being either bulky or heavy
  • Velcro closure when folded in half, so secure in your bag

Cons

Haven’t got any. Looks like it will do just want it says on the label and just what I want.

Build Quality

Great

Value for Money

Excellent. A great price for a great product.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally. I’m getting a spare one for myself and another for a Christmas gift for my husband.

Summing up

If you want to travel light but keep your materials safe this if for you. It does indeed hold 12 Derwent pencils yes even the thicker barelled ones. Alternatively it will also hold three water brushes and still have room in the second section for pencils/pens.

A fantastic item, ideal for sketching away from home, without weighing you down. Just add a box of watercolours and a sketchbook and your fave pencils/brushes in the wrap and you are good to go. Would make a perfect gift for anyone who loves to draw.

Inside the Derwent: Pocket Pencil Wrap

Inside the Derwent: Pocket Pencil Wrap

If you are a coloured pencil artist and want more storage, check out the larger Pencil wrap that will hold 30 pencils. There is also a much bigger variation; Carry All, which has pencil storage on a ring binder clips within a bag. (Which I’d like to see, but think it would be a bit big and heavy for me).

Highly recommend this Pocket Pencil Wrap to everyone.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Derwent Inktense pencils.

Derwent: Inktense Pencils. Tin of 24

Derwent: Inktense Pencils. Tin of 24

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Derwent/ Inktense
  • Item number: 0700929 (set of 24)
  • RRP at time of writing: £35.75

Purpose

Quote from Packaging: Derwent Inktense combines the brilliant intensity of pen and ink with the versatility of line and wash. Apply pure, vibrant dry colour then wash the pigment out completely to leave a translucent ink like effect. Once dry the colour is permanent and can be worked over with other media. The possibilities are endless.

Reason For Buying

I went for these set of 24, for the wider range of colours. These pencils appealed to me for the fact they say once dry the colour doesn’t re-activate. I love water-soluble pencils but have struggled when using them, as when I try to overlay colours the earlier layers wash off. I hope to use these for mixed media work as well as quick sketches.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Love the colour range
  • Super smooth application of colour
  • Colour mix beautifully if applied in the same layer.
  • For a glaze of another colour let first layer dry and new layer will keep its own colour and not blend with earlier ones.
  • Able to layer with more colour without disturbing earlier layers
  • The 24 are a great mix of colours which you can blend for even more colour options. A great size for location/classes
  • The round pencil casing is comfortable in the hand for sketching for longer periods.
  • Useful that the lid comes off completely and will sit neatly under the box, while in use. Handy if you don’t have a lot of room.

Cons

The only issue I have with Derwent is the tendency for their lids to come off when you don’t want them too. I took a tin like this out in a sketching bag and when I opened the bag the tin had opened and the pencils were loose in the bottom of the bag.

This was on a different tin but of the same design, by the same company. Now I always err on the side of caution and always use an elastic band around the tin to keep it secure. The lid is easy to remove but it would be nice if it was more secure for travel, as this 24 pencil set is a great size for on the move.

Build Quality

Superb, the colour core is fantastic quality and the wooden casing is top quality and from sustainable forest.

Value for Money

Excellent. Like with anything of top quality not cheap, but the quality is well worth the price tag.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes! I bought the 24 set thinking that would be plenty, but the pencils were so good, like the colour magpie I NEED them all. MIL gave me a donation for my birthday so I’m saving the difference and going for the LOVELY wooden box set of the full range of 72.

Summing up

Derwent: Inktense Pencils. Tin of 24

Derwent: Inktense Pencils. Tin of 24

These pencils are wonderful, the niggles I had about water-soluble pencils are solved by these Inktense ones. I love the versatility that you can use them like regular pencils dry, add water for a vibrant ink/wash effect and work over the colour without disturbing earlier layers. The quality is fantastic, if you are unsure if they are for you, the pencils are available individually so you can get just one to see if you like them.

I highly recommend the set of 24 as the colour range is more versatile than that of the 12s, the pencils are available in the following sizes

Individual pencils, blister packs of 6, tins of 12, 24, 36 and 72. For a special present there is also a wooden box of 72. I have had other wooden boxes and HIGHLY recommend them, not for travel but they are the most beautiful storage and take care of the pencils. Full sets are an investment, its worth a little extra for the wooden box for the security of the case which doesn’t drop open and looks and feels delightful to use.

Can’t wait to see all the things these pencils can do, really enjoying experimenting with them to find out. There are colour charts available on the manufacturer’s website. If you haven’t used water-soluble pencils before there is also a DVD of hints and tips available separately. It’s a great introduction to the media and you will truly get more from the pencils if you watch it.

Try these pencils, even if you can only get just one. They are a joy to use and will take your art in a new direction, maybe even tempt you to sketch outside (if the weather allows). A great partner product to these pencils is a set of waterbrushes. I use the Pental ones. Ideal for use on location and less fuss than carrying lots of kit.

Links

  • Derwent Pencils Manufacturers website, colour charts, product lists, tutorials and so much more. Check it out!
  • Derwent on You Tube Tutorials on a selection of their products and previews of the DVDs
  • Inktense pencils Manfacturers page about the Inktense pencil range, and link to PDF colour chart.

Suppliers

Great places to buy your Inktense pencils

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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