As a child there was always one thing I asked for during Christmas. It would always be ART SUPPLIES, and more art supplies! So Christmas came early this week in the form of a parcel from Dick Blick.
It has been many years since I have attempted to do any work with traditional mediums, as I am through and through a digital creative; I guess that sort of comes with the territory being a graphic designer where Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign have become my standard tools of the trade. I never really liked using watercolours, I just preferred a more opaque intensity that I could achieve using acrylics or gouache. My dislike of the weak watery nature of watercolours was however proven wrong when I decided to pick up some professional artist grade paints. After some extensive research in to which brand produced highly pigmented watercolour pans, I chose German made Schmincke Horadam.
The paint pans come enclosed in a matte black enamel case with 3 separate areas for mixing your paints. As many reviewers have already stated, the lid doesn’t close tightly, if you are just using it on your desk this is not a problem, but if you need to carry it around I secure the lid with a Delfonics notebook strap, this holds it together snugly and even has a spot to hold a pencil or brush.
Each half pan comes individually wrapped, and they are all highly pigmented, no pre-soaking is required. The down side with Schmincke pan watercolours is that they do not sell the pans individually, but Schmincke are the only manufacturers in the world that use the same formula for their pans and tubes, so if you run out of a single colour you can buy the replacement tube and squeeze it into the pan and let it air dry. In addition, a colour chart printed on watercolour paper is included for you to make your own swatches. A handy tip is to get a waterproof marker and write down the name of the colour on the side of the plastic pan so you have a reference to see what colour you used, or should you need to buy a replacement tube.
I weighed up a long time on whether to get the Faber Castell Polychromos pencils or Prismacolors. I own a few of both so I did get to test them out first hand. Although i liked the saturated waxy colour Prismacolors offered, they are made of a soft lead, so they lose their point and aren’t as good for fine detail. Prismas also have a tendency to wax bloom, causing a dusty white cast over your work over a period of time. I decided on the Prismas because they are an oil based pencil so they are archival, acid free and won’t smudge. They also have a much harder lead so they have less breakage and maintain a point for fine details. Faber Castell have also been producing artist grade supplies since 1761, and with that much history creating pencils, you can’t go wrong.
Each Polychromos pencil is embossed with gold; labelling the colour, an a star rating indicating it’s light-fastness. The 3.8mm thick lead is bonded on to premium cedar wood, which I found sharpened smoothly with no splintering.
I am looking forward to using these supplies to create some products for the Quarter Paper Co launch line!