Julie Prichard of The Land of Lost Luggage held a giveaway last month for her newsletter subscribers, and woo-hoo! I won! It was a gift certificate to Dick Blick, and I gleefully spent it last week. If you aren't signed up for Julie's newsletter, get on over there. She is an absolutely wonderful teacher of online mixed-media classes - I took her Art Journaling Super Nova class, Part 2, a couple of years ago, and was so impressed with how available she is to her students. The content was fabulous and I learned so much. You need to know what she's up to.
Anyways, here's what I got from Dick Blick (thank you Julie!!):
- Dick Blick Liquid Watercolor in Metallic Gold
- Strathmore Mixed Media Paper, 140 lb, 11" x 14"
- Loew-Cornell Fine Painting Pen
- Letraset Aquamarkers - Set 2
- Various Caran D'Ache Neocolor II Watercolor Crayons - some assorted browns, to round out my colors for shading faces
I'm linking to all this stuff at Dick Blick, because I know you can get it there. I'm not an affiliate or anything - just want you to be able to see what I'm talking about.
First, holy cow, the Liquid Watercolor! Forget Glimmer Mists, forget Perfect Pearls - I have found my gold spray ink!! It is a true metallic gold, shimmery and bright. It's relatively thick, and I found that I had to add equal parts water to watercolor in my spray bottle, to get it to spray as a mist - otherwise, it was coming out as a steady stream. It is just lovely - of course, the shimmer won't show up on the scanner, but trust me, it's shiny. Also, my theory is that because it's watercolor, it won't clog up the spray bottle like acrylics will. I will let you know after it's been sitting for a bit.
Next, let's talk about the Strathmore Mixed-Media paper. I've heard rave reviews of this paper from Samantha Kira - she shows in one of her videos how it remains flat, even with all of her paint layers (and that's just a miracle in my book - a paper that remains flat under mixed-media duress? No way!). I was excited to see how this paper held up.
It looks a little like cold-press watercolor paper - the surface is slightly textured, but not as textured as most watercolor papers. I painted a section with Martha Stewart Gesso, another section with Golden Soft Matte Gel, and then left the last section plain. I used some of my new toys over the top - the watercolor crayons, the Letraset Aquamarkers, and then the Fine Painting Pen. I also used plenty of water as part of my tests. Here's the results (click on image to enlarge):
The paper slightly curled at the corners where I laid down the gesso, but otherwise, it's flat as a pancake. I couldn't believe it - even where I added water to the watercolor crayon and marker, it stayed flat!
I think, since it curled slightly with the gesso (and I do mean slightly), it might curl up some with acrylic paints. But I'll have to test that out when I make an art journal out of the pad. I would have gotten the actual spiral pad of Strathmore Mixed-Media paper, but they perforated the pages in those, and I know I'd have pages falling out all over the place.
As for my new Neocolor II watercolor crayon, it behaved as I expected it to. It's more "slidey" over gesso and gel medium (it moves easier with water) than on plain paper. What I was really interested in was the color. It's called Beige, but the crayon looks pretty gray to me. The color turns out to be a grayish brown when water is added. Sigh. I was looking for a Titan Buff kind of color, and this is not it. Oh well, it will be great for shading faces.
Next - squeee! The Letraset Aquamarkers! Rhomany of Rhomany's Realm recommends these markers (and she's not a brands kind of person, so if she recommends a product, she's got good reasons). I was so excited to try these out. They're watercolor-esque markers, meaning, water will move the pigment. Rhomany had said they behave in an interesting way over gesso, and she's right. The pigment moves some over gesso, while still maintaining the original marks. In my test, you can see where I colored with the fine tip, the broad tip and then the broad tip again, but with water brushed over it. Over gel medium, they behave more like a true watercolor than over the gesso (which makes sense, gel medium being more plastic than gesso). On the plain paper, the pigment absorbs more into the paper, but is still slightly activated by the water.
I can easily see these markers going into my portrait arsenal, for easy shading and blending. They also work over acrylics and gesso, so I can use them for writing and doodling over backgrounds.
By the way, these are not brush-tip markers - they have a firm, felt-tip point to them. And, considering that these are water-based, I doubt they're permanent when dry (just something to consider for those that like to layer). Also, for some reason, the fine tip seems to lay down a brighter blue than the broad tip. Can you see it in the photograph above? I can't for the life of me figure out why that would be. Any ideas?
Now, for the piece de resistance! The Loew-Cornell Fine Painting Pen - I am in love. It's a metal contraption (for lack of a better word), where you can add inks or paints to the well, and the ink/paint comes out of a fine point on the end. No more messing around with a fine brush for details or writing. I can just add some fluid acrylics into the well of this pen, and voila! Details! In any color I want!
I found that with fluid acrylics, it's best to add just a touch of water before adding it into the well of this pen - otherwise, there's a lot of tapping involved, to get the paint to come out. Clean-up is a cinch (just rinse it out with water), and it even comes with a fine-needle cleaning tool.