Monday, December 21, 2015

A Mother's Love, my favorite Watercolor Products, and can you spot the mistake?

It's Christmas week!

I'm off this week hanging out with family and heading out for a quick trip to the in-laws before we land back at home Christmas Eve for the duration of the girls' two weeks off.

I'm officially done with Christmas crafting though and moving on to the next things on my crafty plate, of which there are a fair number (the Neat & Tangled January release landed in my lap over the weekend, hooray!)

Here's a card I haven't shared yet, partly because it's just been a little crazy around here and partly because I realized after I made it that I made a bit of a mistake.

But, I wanted to share it because it involved me experimenting with the Zig Clean Color brush pens that people have been raving about for the past 6-9 months.

I started by stamping my flowers with Versafine, then I added some light watercoloring with Distress Ink.  I used the Kuretakes for highlights.  I really love how fine the tip is, you'll be able to get into a lot of very tight spaces with these, and the colors were very bright and vibrant.

So for this application, a big thumbs up from me, I love the overall result.

In terms of watercolor products though, this doesn't make my top tier.  There are tons of watercolor mediums out there right now.  Here are my top three recommendations:

Derwent Inktense Pencils - I love how bright and vivid these are, and they have a lighter more translucent feel to them than some other options out there.  Great for multiple types of application, I most often use direct brush to pencil and then to paper, but also pretty frequently use them to color directly onto my paper and then wet/smooth the color with a paintbrush.

Kuretake Gansai Watercolors - Beautiful colors, these are bright, easy to use, and have a bit more body to them than the inktense, so you can get a thicker less translucent look to your watercoloring.  I also love that they have metallics in the larger sets.

Distress Inks/Markers - I use these by pressing the ink pad onto a clear block and then apply the color using a waterbrush.  I use the same clear block technique with the markers, but will also color those directly on my paper and then soften with a waterbrush.

I would consider the Kuretake Clear Color Pens a second tier product.  I really like some of the features, but I think I would use them more in combination with another product like I did here, so to me not totally necessary although beautiful results.

If you've been wondering about the Peerless Watercolors, I have tried them, and they are OK, but I don't plan to get them.  I think they are better for folks who are 1) very organized and 2) have a lot of space.  I'm neither.  I just don't want to have to create a binder or some other sort of storage solution for them, and I think in terms of painting, I can't wrap my mind about having to spread out all these little squares of paper to do a project.  I'm usually working on the floor of the family room and can't have all these little sheets of color everywhere.  It's just not for me.

So that's my two cents on watercolor products.

Back to the card, I mentioned a mistake right?  Can you see it?

Well I was apparently not paying much attention when I stamped, and that little not totally bloomed purple flower is not a flower it's an upside butterfly.  Oops.  Sometimes it pays to step back and look at the big picture while you're creating.

And on that note, I hope your Monday is off to an oops-less start!


  1. Well, it makes a perfect bloom :) Wouldn't have even noticed if you didn't mention it.
    I love the peerless and I gotta tell you, I literally store them in a ziploc baggie (gasp!).

  2. Haha i did spot it but not as a mistake i thought that flowers looks like a butterfly :D
    Still it worked out great.
    Kate xx

  3. So gorgeous! LOVING the flowers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Love the colors from watercoloring! I have yet to get Kuretake Gansai Watercolors!! My Peerless color swatch is a bit of a mess, but it works for me (so far). Wish you are Merry Christmas and a very happy 2016!

  5. wow your flowers look amazing.. great watercoloring..

  6. So beautiful!! What stunning coloring! ;)

  7. It still looks great! I like the Zig brushes but they're not my fave either. I have a hard time trying to find all the colors I want! lol I love the Peerless. I've been meaning to play with my Derwent Inktense pencils though!! Thanks for sharing :)

  8. I never would have noticed. Its a beautiful card and the "upside down butterfly looks like a budding flower. Great work! Merry Christmas

  9. Enjoy your holiday time off, Miriam! I still can't tell it's a butterfly, even with you telling us--haha! Thanks for the wc review. I did end up getting the 24 set of Zigs, but haven't had time to play with them much yet. Your coloring is beautiful!

  10. Gorgeous, even with the upside-down butterfly! :-) Thanks for sharing your opinion on the Zig pens. I have Derwent Inktense and Distress Inks, (and I have Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolours) and I'm happy to know that I don't have to fret not having the Clean Color pens. ;-)

  11. Miriam I refuse to see it as a mistake! Thanks for sharing your opinion - I've had my eye on the Inktense pencils! Merry Christmas!!!

  12. No mistakes here for me, only perfection! Or you can take it as an "artist liberty". Thanks for your honest opinion about watercolors, I do have the Zig pens but I haven't used them much.Merry Christmas!

  13. Gorgeous card!! I love the coloring and i would have never known about the butterfly!!

  14. Thanks for the tips, love! I'm not a big fan of markers in general. I've only got a couple Ranger Distress markers, but I'd love more of those! They smudge so well and don't leave the sharp lines most markers leave. And I totally agree with you about the Kuretake watercolors. LOVE! I'm still not sure that's a butterfly ;). Absolutely gorgeous! Love the pinks and purples!

  15. I really liked your write up on the watercolors and the markers. I have been very curious what people's takes are and I always respect your opinion as we are like minded about spending money. I am likely going to avoid the Zigs. I'd still like to try them if I ever found a ridiculous bargin on a small set. Not likely. Ha! I do love my Kuretake smaller set tho. A lot.
    OH, and the butterfly flower? I actually think that's pretty genius and works!! :) Roll with it! :)