I wanted to be more active in sharing my art experiences with my friends and fans, and a few weeks ago I wrote a review for the wonderful Derwent Inktense color pencils I use on my paintings and dolls.
The review was very well received and a lot of you sent emails requesting me to review more of the products and materials I use on my studio, so I am reaching out to you to see what you’d like me to review next. Leave a comment here on my blog, or send me an email with your thoughts on what you’d like to see next.
If the reviews get enough interest, I may start a regular feature where I review my favorite art supplies, along with new products that pick my interest.
They say that the UPS truck is the adult version of the ice cream truck. And you know what? They are right!
Today the truck arrived and left a package on my doorstep that I have been waiting for a long time. Want to see what it is?
It’s a huge box of Derwent inktense color pencils. Yay!
The first time I heard about them, someone recommended them to me as an alternative of the wonderful Stabilo art pencil, my weapon of choice for all my pencil artwork and drawings in my studio, but they did not do what I wanted them to do at the time so I put the Inktense I got aside and continued working.
But now that I have been experimenting with watercolors and a new illustration style, I read about the wonders they can do so I gave the ones I got another go. And you know what? I loved them! I loved them so much that I ordered five, and then I ordered a tin of 24 and now I ordered a box of 72 and I wish they sold boxes with more colors.
What makes them so special that I changed my mind and I love them so much?
Well, they are not like ordinary watercolor pencils, they are heavily pigmented and produce solid color layers. Their secret is that when you add water, they do not release watercolor pigment, instead, they release ink, and it becomes permanent when it dries, so it opens the possibility of working with layers that remain when you paint over them, giving you a range of creative choices that are impossible to reproduce when you use plain watercolor. Once they dry, it’s done and will remain bright and undisturbed and will not mute or muddle when you add pigment over them.
I experimented and I found that the only way to mute the colors is to control the amount of water you use when you lay your initial layer, and it’s very important to keep them wet as you work with your painting, and you must make sure not to add too little water, because if you did not dissolve all the pigment, it will activate once again when you add water and your next color and will mix. It happened to me while I started to work with them. It can be a blessing or a curse, and will puzzle you when you use them for the first time.
There are several ways to work with them. You can touch a wet brush to the tip of the color and then use it as a regular watercolor over your paper for a permanent wash or an under painting. You can also use them as regular pencils and then fade the lines with a clean brush as you spread the color on the paper. And if you are daring, you can dip the tip on water and then draw with them as the water dries on the paper.
Each technique will give you a very different result, and a wide range of possibilities that you will be able to incorporate as you get familiar with them.
I tested how they mix with each other too and I used the different watercolor techniques for the sake of science… and fun!
Dry on dry, dry on wet, wet on wet and mixed separately on a metallic palette yield different results, all of them beautiful and fun to do.
No matte what technique you use, you can always pick up the excess and cleanup using a very absorbing paper towel to pick up the water and try to erase the color or reduce the intensity.
One of the secrets to use the derwent inktense color pencils that you need to be very aware of is that what you see on the tips is not always what you get, so I will advise you to create a sample color chart for each color so you know how they look when they are wet, and how they dry and with how much intensity and value each color renders.
Start with a strip of watercolor paper and write down the number and name of each pencil in the order they are in the box, and make the commitment to keep the box tidy in order to be able to reuse your chart.
Take each color and draw a few lines with a fading intensity towards one side of the paper, so you get nice gradient chart for each color. Then the fun begins!
Apply the same amount of water to each line and create the intensity gradient to see how transparent the color becomes, and keep on doing it for each color on your set. Be. Be careful not to mix each color with the next, Because you want each color to be try to the intensity, hue and value in your chart. The end result is a very beautiful color chart you will keep as a reference as you work with them in your artwork.
All in all, these color pencils are now a permanent part of my arsenal of art weapons whenever I have one of my art attacks. They are way above what I was working with before with watercolor pencils and I can definitively recommend them to use as the main focus of you art, or as accents like I use them when I create the faces and big, beautiful eyes of my handmade art dolls.
Although everyone is welcome to drop by to my studio and say hello, I know some of my friends are very far away, so I decided to film closeups of my latest watercolor paintings so you can appreciate the beautiful details and color swirls that only watercolor can create while I paint my beautiful girls and their unique eyes.
If you’d like to see more of them, you can visit my official website, danitaart.com where you can enjoy more photos of them, and if you decide, you can adopt one and take it home.
Buy maybe, you’d like to get closer? Close enough to feel the paint in your brush and the water on the paper?
This class covers all the basic and advanced techniques in in-depth videos about paper, types of paints and how to make the best out of them, while using one of my favorite subjects to paint: Frida.
After you complete the lessons, you will be able to start your own love affair with watercolor and your characters will come to life just like you dreamed them.
Enjoy a free, sample lesson about paint and color opacity. Once you are done watching it, head to danitaartclasses.com where you can sign up for the full class and enjoy all the lessons I have prepared for you!
I’ve been using acrylics to paint my dolls for a long time and I love them for covering the entire surface. But when I want to make a soft doll I want a paint that stays soft as well. That’s when I discovered DecoArt SoSoft Fabric Paint. It’s permanent, washable and really, so soft. So I thought I’d give it a try and see how well it worked. I also used some other products like Photo transfer medium and some stencils. Want to see the process and learn to make your own? Just follow these easy steps:
1. First, gather your materials. You’ll need:
A laser printed face (I used the face of one of my paintings for this)
2. Laser print or photocopy the face you’re using and trim it. Using the Decoupage Transfer Medium apply a layer to the muslin and other to the printed paper. Place image face down to the fabric and apply another layer on top making sure to smooth it out, working from the center to the sides. Remove excess medium with a damp cloth. Let it dry.
3. When It’s completely dry, apply water and let it soak a bit. Slowly remove the paper with your fingers, rubbing the paper until it comes off.
4. Your fabric will be wet when you’re done removing the paper. You can let it air dry meanwhile you work on the body. I started by applying Yellow Ochre to the muslin with a stencil.
5. Then I mixed some Blue and Green to make a beautiful Aqua and use the same stencil in a different position. I also use some deep brown and red.
6. Then I used another stencil and used it in the center of what would be my doll’s dress and painted around the head with the aqua color I just mixed.
7. Then I painted the face using yellow for her hair, aqua for the eyes and some red mixed with white for the cheeks and lips.
8. When everything was dry I sew freely around the doll’s head and the body of the doll, attaching them together.
9. Then I used my writer to add more details.
10. Use a piece of fabric as the back of the doll and add a thin layer of cotton batting and the doll’s front.
11. Sew around everything and cut the excess.
12. Your doll is ready! You can further embellish it with some buttons or ribbons. You can use your kid’s or grand kids faces to make them personalized dolls. It’s so much fun!
The second product I got for review is the Prima Marketing Watercolor Pencils.
They come in 6 sets of 12 pencils. I got the Earth Tones, Hair and Skin Tones and the Basics. After making a quick search on google for an official color chart I think I’ll have to get the Scenic Route too… Those colors are my faves!
When you open the boxes they look like this.
I like the fact that they have the color on top, it’s easier to spot them when you’re using them. I’ve used other brands and they all look the same and you have to be checking the name or the point and that sometimes can be a pain.
The first that I tried out is the Classics set.
They’re pretty intense when dry and the colors are beautiful.
But again, it’s when you add the water when the magic happens.
And the more water you add the more they dissolve and spread out.
The earth tones are a little bit less soluble than the classics, and when they were wet were so much stronger than when they dried (typical in watercolors). But I didn’t see as much change in the classics in vibrance. Maybe because they are more vibrant?
Here’s the scanned swatches. They’re as closed as the original as possible, but you know how things look different in different monitors?
And here are the Hair and Skin Tones.
I like this set because it has a variety of colors to make any skin color you’d like and you can make them as saturated or as light as you’d like by just adding less or more water.
I used them to sketch a girl on the watercolor paper before painting it to have a foundation on which to paint my girl without the harsh lines of the pencil to show through. You can also use them before the acrylic on your canvas and they will blend beautifully.
Pros: Easy to use, the tin package can be used as a blending palette, beautiful colors, last a long time, easy to transport.
Cons: Have numbers instead of names (I wish they have both), You get repeated colors if you get all sets (which can also be a pro if you use those colors a lot), a bit of color shift when dry, don’t specify lightfastness.
Lightfastness is a property of a pigment or paint that describes how resistant to fading it is when exposed to light. Light striking a painted surface can alter or break the chemical bonds of the pigment, causing the colors to bleach or change, in a process known as photodegradation
In conclusion, I think they will be great in my mixed media projects, specially for outlining before painting with watercolors or acrylics. I will definitely go and get the Scenic Route set!
The other day I was thinking about sharing reviews of many of my art supplies with you, specially the watercolor ones because I usually go through a process every time that I get new stuff which consists on taking everything out and make color swatches on a journal.
I like to do that, specially with watercolor products because they tend to look very differently in the palette than they do on paper and it’s super useful to have that info on hand and try them out so you can make better and informed choices when you are going to make an art piece.
Also because there are so many products out there is so hard to choose which ones to get and how and when to use them.
I think the guys at Prima Marketing were reading my mind because I got an email from a very kind lady (that’s you Sharon!), asking me if I’d like to get some samples of their new watercolor line for me to try out. And of course I said yes! I had seen the products at the CHA show but I didn’t have the chance to play with them.
What? Water Soluble Oils? Yes. That was exactly my reaction.
This set contains 24 yummy colors.
I took one of the Watercolor pads and the brush pens and got to work. I had to try them out.
The colors, as I said, are yummy. The consistency is very creamy and they’re very saturated. They’re very easy to apply, they have a buttery consistency.
I loved them even before I added water.
But when you add water the magic begins.
And you can also blend them directly on the paper and just add water.
I think they can also be used as watercolor pans, taking the pigment right out of the crayon and paint with it. But applying them to the paper is so nice I wouldn’t like to miss that sensation.
There are some colors that are easier to dissolve than others, but it only adds to the charm. I think I’ll have to stay a little bit late today to keep playing with them.
One word of caution. These contain oil, so you have to use a thick and resistant watercolor paper or they will bleed.
I used the Prima Watercolor Paper which I’m guessing is 90 lb. and it bled right through it. When I used them on a 140 lb paper they did not bleed. I didn’t have that problem with any other of the products so I’m assuming this happened because they are oil pastels.
So, if you’re using a paper pad it will be best for you to remove the sheet of watercolor paper from the pad when you work so the next page won’t get stained.
Here’s my color chart after it dried. I scanned to look as close as possible to the original.
Highly pigmented, easy to apply, smooth consistency, easy to blend, very affordable, a little bit goes a long way, portable.
I can’t find info about their lightfastness. As much as my kids begged me to let them play with them, they have a warning saying they’re not for kids under 14, which may or may not be an issue for you if you’re keeping them all to yourself (like I am!).
(Lightfastness is a property of a pigment or paint that describes how resistant to fading it is when exposed to light. Light striking a painted surface can alter or break the chemical bonds of the pigment, causing the colors to bleach or change, in a process known as photodegradation.)
In conclusion… I love them! I would definitely be using them a lot on my art journal and personal pieces as soon as I find out how lightfast they are.