Tag Archives: markers

A snack with zero calories

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I love getting stuff in the mail.  I don’t mean bills, promotional magazines, or jury duty summons.  I mean fun stuff!  One of my daughters treats herself to monthly makeup subscriptions (Boxy Charm and Glam Bag) and my son subscribed to a monthly healthy snack club (Graze) last year.  My other daughter subscribes to a weekly food service (Blue Apron) that delivers recipes and pre-portioned ingredients to her doorstep.  I’m not really into makeup, healthy snacks are an oxymoron, and why would I want to cook when I live in NYC and can order takeout?  So what would I like for a monthly gift…why an “Art Snack” of course!

ArtSnacks is a monthly subscription service that delivers new and  uncommon art products, providing artists with an opportunity to try out top-of-the-line art supplies. I purchased the one-year monthly package for $200 and I got my first box today.  Here’s a look at what art supplies I received and my critique of each one.  I received a General’s Layout Pencil ($0.75 retail), a Caran d’Ache Fibralo Brush Marker ($2.25 retail), a Kuretake No. 7 Brush Pen ($7.00 retail), a Spectra AD Marker ($5.15 retail), a Denik Custom Mini Sketchbook ($5.00 retail), and a green Life Saver.

After eating the Life Saver, I decided to test out each item.  The General’s Layout Pencil was great.  This pencil has been around since the 1930’s and is still a favorite of illustrators and cartoonist.  The graphite is soft enough to make beautiful dark-to-light gradations and doesn’t smear. Honestly, this is the best pencils I’ve ever owned.

Next item was the Caran d’Ache Fibralo Brush Marker.  The fiber tip offers the control of a marker and the flexibility of a brush.  I added a little water to the ink and developed a pale watercolor wash.  The specially formulated ink is designed not to bleed through paper though it did slightly bleed through the thin notepad paper I tested it on.  Other than that it’s a pretty ordinary pen with only a single tip.

I got another orange pen, a brand new Spectra AD Marker, an alcohol-based marker that makes permanent marks and carries less odor. It has a chisel tip that makes three different line widths plus a brush tip that creates smooth varied lines. I liked this juicy marker with it’s dual tips and versatility.

My favorite pen of the bunch was the Kuretake No. 7 Brush Pen.  This pen is similar to a foundation pen as it uses ink cartridges. It comes with two cartridges, the first that easily clicks into place while the second cartridge stores inside the pen body.  The dark black ink flows smoothly and evenly onto the paper with excellent control.  I’d love to get this pen in a variety of ink colors. The ink is not waterproof so you can add shading by wetting the drawing.

The last item was a mini sketchbook by Denik.  Denik’s mission statement is, “Art can change the world.”  A portion of the sale from every notebook goes to help build schools in developing countries.  While I admire their philanthropy, the notebook was flimsy and made with very thin paper.  Definitely not worth its $5 retail price.

Overall, a fun present to myself for less than $17.  I can’t wait until next month!

 

 

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You’ve got mail!

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In my last blog post, I talked about how to best manage my two studios.  One idea was to invest in duplicates of my most used tools. Some of these tools are my Gelli Arts printing plate and Speedball brayers so I purchased a second set yesterday.  I wanted to play with my new tools but not worry too much about the final outcome so I decided to decorate envelopes.  If I didn’t like the way they turned out, I could always use them to pay my bills with.

I started out by cutting 3″ Post-It notes in half and sticking them to the center front of the envelopes.  That preserved the address white space.

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Next I got out my Gelli plate, brayers, acrylic paints and stencils (some hand cut, others purchased from Stencil Girl Products).  I started by adding some paint to the Gelli plate and then rolling it out into a smooth layer using a brayer.  I placed the envelope face down on the plate, placed a clean piece of scrap paper on top and rolled a clean brayer over all of it to transfer the paint.  I cleaned the plate and then added a second paint color to the plate.  This time after rolling on the paint, I laid a stencil over the paint and then placed the envelope on top (and the scrap paper) and rolled the clean brayer over it all.  This left an interesting pattern as the top layer with the first paint layer showing through the stencil gaps.  I sometimes printed a third stencil layer as well.  I repeated the process on the back of the envelopes.

Finally, I pulled out my paints and markers (I use Copic MarkersZig Writer and Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens) to doodle and add some details.  Voila!  Some fun, usable envelopes.

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The Back Side of the Envelopes