2016 has been quite a year. Most of us want it to be over already. But I have to say that it has brought me a lot of good things, specially in the art supply department.
I’ll list below the best art supplies I’ve encountered this year, and also my less favorites that I wish I’d never bought. You should probably get a snack if you plan to read this post till the end 🙂
I’ll start by saying that some of the art supplies listed here have been sent to me as a gift to play with, but this in no way changes my opinion about them. I did not promise the companies to review them, or post about them anywhere to begin with. This is in no way a sponsored post. These are products I have come to love and would absolutely repurchase with my own money if I ever run out of them.
– Prima watercolor pan sets. If you guys follow me on instagram, and have been reading this blog, you know that my favorite media are watercolors. I have a bunch of different brands and I use both pan sets and tubes. Shortly after my birthday, Prima sent me a bundle of wonders as a gift that included three watercolor pan sets (”The Classics”, “Decadent pies”, and “Tropicals”). I remember I put them to the test on the spot on Instagram stories. I was so pleasantly surprised! I wasn’t familiar with the brand until then and I couldn’t believe how pigmented the watercolors were. My most used set (which I carry next to my Winsor and Newton palette on all my trips) is the Classics. It includes my favorite pink. I use it for most of my girls with pink hair, and as their lipstick as well. The purple is gorgeous too. The packaging is adorable and portable, and again, boy are they pigmented. There are a few beiges in “Decadent Pies” that I find very useful for rendering trench coats. I use all three palettes. I know they have a few more available and I have my eye on them! You can check out Prima’s products here.
– Pentel and Prima waterbrushes: I bought this set of three Pentel waterbrushes before my trip to Europe and loved them so much for painting on planes, trains and what not. In July I got two sets by Prima and immediately moved on to those. Why? the quality is the same. Both are awesome. But Prima ones are lilac. Yes. I make important decisions based solely on colors. LOL!
– Col-erase Prismacolor pencil in Carmine Red. I totally jumped into the Col-erase bandwagon (if you are not familiar with them, they are colored pencils that you can erase). I use them for some of my watercolor illustrations. I bought the Carmine Red and a purple one that I didn’t get the chance to use yet. Unfortunately they didn’t have a lot of colors available in the art supply store I bought them in. I would like to find a pretty pink, we shall see. They are great, and help you achieve a softer look as oppossed to graphite. HOWEVER, there’s something you need to consider. If you are like me, and apply a lot of pressure on the pencil while drawing, you need to know that you might not be able to erase all of it and the impressions will remain there. The struggle is real.
– Daler Rowney Charcoal Tin Set: I bought this little tin of wonders on a Sunday while I was craving sketching with charcoal and didn’t have any since my art supplies were all tucked away in my studio. I was surprised to find that charcoal sticks now come in the form of pencils (I’ve always hated getting my hands dirty while sketching with them) and also that this set could be found at my local supermarket for around $3. How marvelous.
-Strathmore watercolor paper (cold press) I first bought several pads of this paper before my live-sketching tour with David Yurman. I absolutely loved it!! I usually soak the sheets when I feel like using wet on wet techniques and this paper puts up with it. It’s quite inexpensive and thick (and in my opinion is better than the Arches pads that cost a fortune and are yellowish).
-Princeton brushes- Velvetouch and Select lines. I was sent a bunch of these brushes by Princeton. I’ve always been a fan of the brand and owned several brushes of their basic white line and Snap brushes before. As you may also know, I always prefer synthetic brushes over natural bristle ones because they are cruelty free and also perform beautifully with watercolors. These two lines have gorgeous handles that look great in photos as a plus. My new favorites/most used ones at the moment are:
-the 1/4” angular Shader Velvetouch. – the 1 Round Velvetouch. – The 1/4” and 1/8” angular shader Select. – The 20/0 Select petite.
You can find more information about the Princeton brushes here.
Product I regret buying:
-Schmincke watercolor pan set (18 pans) Ugh. Where to start. OK. I bought this palette as a self birthday gift. I had heard amazing things about it. A lot of artists I admire like it, and since allegedly these were so pigmented I felt like I was missing out using my Cotman watercolor tubes. I even eyed the Schmincke pan sets when I was in visiting Berlin and went to MODULOR (the most amazing art supply store I’ve seen to this day) I went ahead and bought the $200+ palette and camped at the mailbox until it arrived (well not literally, lol). I have to say, when I started peeling the pans I started wondering about how the package would hold them up. I wasn’t wrong, it didn’t. The pans are not held in place and sometimes get stuck to the lids of the palette when it’s closed. I was also disappointed when I swatched the palette because I didn’t think the colors were that pigmented. I have to say, in my opinion, Cotman watercolor tubes are quite awesome! They are in the academic side of watercolors and super inexpensive. The Prima pans are way better and I believe they are only a fraction of the price. Conclusion: I do reach out to the palette every once in a while, especially for the variety of greens it offers. The pans are big and will last me a long time. But, I would return it in a heartbeat. In my humble opinion it’s not worth the price.
Alright!! this was my super long 2016 art supply report. Hope you guys enjoyed! Let me know if you tried any of the products I listed here and PLEASE recommend any favorite art supplies to me!!
Off to write my 2017 resolutions. 🙂 xo,
Ariane Jade says
Loved your honest review! I primarily use markers but I feel that if I ever feel the need to dabble with paint I know what to try (and what not to!)
Cheers to a bright 2017!
I am so glad you enjoyed the post, Ariana! Watercolors are so fun. You should definitely give them a try 🙂 Have a wonderful year ahead, darling! ♥ x
This was really interesting!! I’ve just started hearing about prima, so I’ll keep an eye out!
I’ve never used arches but I do use strathmore, so that’s good to know! I’m using canson xl watercolor pad right now & I don’t like it, it has a weird coating on it.
You don’t like schminke?? I’ve heard nothing but good things about them but they are SO expensive, I see the price and want to choke. Maybe I don’t have to feel bad I’m so cheap 🙂
Have you tried Daniel Smith watercolor? I’m curious about them.
Hi Tonya!! thank you for reading 🙂 I use the Canson XL mixed media sketchbook and I like it but I noticed the quality has changed a bit lately. I still enjoy it for everyday sketches though.
In my opinion you are not really missing out with the Schmincke watercolors. 😉
And no, I haven’t tried them or heard about them. I’ll be on the lookout!
Happy New Year! ♥
Howard Kaufman says
Thank you very much for your comments about Princeton Brushes,very much appreciated
Princeton Artist Brush Company